Football

Headache for Packers: Rodgers out, Flynn in

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not receive medical clearance after sustaining his second concussion of the season and was ruled out for tonight’s game at New England.

Matt Flynn, a seventh-round draft pick out of LSU in 2008, is expected to make his first career start for the Packers.

As of Saturday, Rodgers had not progressed through the NFL’s full protocol of testing needed before a player returns to the field after sustaining a head injury. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that the team would err on the side of caution in determining his status for the game.

The Packers also signed quarterback Graham Harrell from their practice squad and placed safety Anthony Smith on injured reserve.

Rodgers sustained a concussion in last Sunday’s loss at Detroit, his second of the season. He did not practice with the team this week and sat out team meetings for most of the week as he recovered.

NO FAVRE, EITHER

After an NFL-record 297 straight starts, 321 including the playoffs, Brett Favre has a new streak. He’ll sit out for the second game in a row.

The Minnesota Vikings declared Favre out for Monday night against Chicago, after another week without enough progress on the sprained joint between his shoulder and neck. Interim coach Leslie Frazier said Favre tried to throw before practice on Saturday, but he couldn’t do it without pain.

That means rookie Joe Webb will start against the Bears, recently signed veteran Patrick Ramsey will back him up and R.J. Archer could be elevated from the practice squad for more depth.

“Joe Webb had a good day today,” Frazier said. “He really seems as if this whole thing is not too big for him, and I’m really looking forward to watching him on Monday night.”

Favre said earlier in the week he’s looking forward to watching Webb get his opportunity and that he realizes the team needs to start developing a younger player at this critical position, sounding as if he’s prepared to have thrown his final pass. Frazier sure isn’t ready to acknowledge that, though. He again dismissed the possibility of placing Favre on injured reserve.

“The fact that he tried to do something today tells me that he has a strong desire to get back out there,” Frazier said. “It’s just, ‘Will his body let him?’ I know it’s difficult for him. Everybody knows how competitive he is.”

Frazier said the numbness Favre has been feeling in his hand has been fading and that the discomfort in his shoulder has been subsiding, stemming from the hard hit he took against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 5 that might have ended the 41-year-old’s NFL career.

“He’s gradually getting better,” Frazier said.

ALMOST READY

The finishing touches are being put on TCF Bank Stadium for the Bears-Vikings game on Monday night.

University of Minnesota spokesman Garry Bowman says the tarp and heating system were put in place Saturday to protect the field. More than 1,500 workers have moved 40,000 cubic yards of snow from the stadium over four days to get it ready.

Vikings chief marketing officer Steve LaCroix said the team remains “very confident” all ticket-holders will get in. Based on returns and feedback, they’re expecting a turnout of just under the stadium’s normal capacity of 50,000 people.

EXTRA POINTS

The San Francisco 49ers placed linebacker Travis LaBoy and kicker Joe Nedney on injured reserve Saturday, ending their seasons. Nedney had not been expected to return this year after sustaining a right knee strain and a bone bruise on his plant leg Nov. 14 against St. Louis. He has missed the past five games, with Jeff Reed taking his spot. … The New England Patriots signed cornerback Tony Carter off the practice squad and released defensive back Chevis Jackson. Carter has been on the practice squad since September after he was released by the Denver Broncos.

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