Brett Favre

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  • Peyton Manning

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  • Aaron Rodgers

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    Jay Christopher Cutler (born April 29, 1983) is a quarterback...

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    Mark Sanchez (born November 11, 1986 in Long Beach, California)...

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Aaron Rodgers out duels Drew Brees: Packers win 42-34

Aaron Rodgers came out on top in a memorable opening-night duel with Drew Brees, and the defending Super Bowl champion Packers came up with a goal-line stand on the final play of the game to beat the New Orleans Saints 42-34 on Thursday night.

Packers rookie Randall Cobb caught a touchdown from Rodgers and also ran a kickoff back 108 yards for a score in the third quarter, tying an NFL record for the longest kickoff return in history.

Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Brees threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns, including a late toss to Jimmy Graham that cut Green Bay’s lead to eight with 2:15 left.

Brees marched the Saints down to the 1-yard line with three seconds left. But the Packers swarmed rookie running back Mark Ingram up the middle, and the game was over.

Rob Gronkowski had a good night…

WTF: Peyton Manning out for the season!!!!

From Jake Query, radio 1260 WNDE in Indianapolis:

What I said: A source I consider reliable told me he is out for the season. I do believe that the actual diagnosis is still being determined

Query’s report is almost exactly what Jon Michael Vincent of 1070 The Fan, the ESPN affiliate in Indianapolis, reported on Monday, and it is very similar to Nate Dunlevy’s little unnamed source report from yesterday.

The main differences in the reports are that Query says his source told him Manning had the procedure (past tense) last Sunday while JMV sources said that Peyton ‘needs a 2nd neck procedure’ (future tense). Dunlevy’s report said Peyton will have surgery, which is different than a ‘procedure.’

The Colts maintained Monday in a statement that no surgeries are planned for Peyton. Will Carroll of says he knows of no change in Manning’s status, save that he is no longer with the team at the facility. He is unlikely travel with them to Houston.

So, based on these reports, either a new procedure or surgery is going to happen soon, or a surgery or procedure already happened recently. If one already happened, why haven’t the Colts IRed Peyton yet?

Regardless, it doesn’t look good for No. 18 in 2011. We’ll keep you posted.

[UPDATE]: Laura Callaway tweeted this:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “One Colts official texted me this: ‘We are aware of the rumors, but can’t confirm rumors. That is all they are.’”

The chose of words is interesting. They cannot confirm the report, but they are not denying it. If the report is false, an upfront ‘That is completely untrue‘ statement from the Colts ends the rumor. By not doing that, and by, essentially, implying there is some truth to them, it looks like No. 18′s 2011 season might be over before it ever begins.

Chris Johnson still holding out; Titans refuse to add a legitimate backup


With the season opener just two weeks away and Chris Johnson nowhere in sight, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak might be thinking about adding another running back.

The Titans placed Johnsonon the reserve/did not report list Monday, an administrative move that doesn’t impact contract talks with the three-time Pro Bowl running back, who has missed all of training camp during a contract holdout and still hasn’t reported. Yahoo! Sports reported that talks are expected to resume Tuesday.Johnson’s absence leaves the Titans with third-year pro Javon Ringer and fourth-round draft pick Jamie Harper as their top running backs. But Ringer likely won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the New Orleans Saints because of a hip injury, marking the third consecutive game he will have missed. Harper is still an inexperienced rookie, although he has 146 yards and three touchdowns on 36 preseason carries.

So the Titans could be looking for help.

“I think it will come down to the running backs we have,” Munchak said Sunday, one day after the Titans defeated the Chicago Bears 14-13 at LP Field. “What shape is Ringer in? That will be a factor in this whole thing. Jamie, we have confidence in — more confidence than we thought we would have at this point, than we would normally have in a rookie.

“But like I said before, if we have two guys, and if Chris is not with us for whatever reason, then yes, we are going to have to obviously do something there.”

Ringer has shown flashes in his limited playing time behind Johnson, averaging 4.9 yards on 59 career carries. But Munchak isn’t concerned about Ringer missing time — as long as he’s ready by the Sept. 11 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Yes, he has missed the last couple games, but I feel if he is healthy, he will be able to contribute to us in a big way this season,” Munchak said.

Of course, the Titans’ backfield conundrum would be solved by Johnson’s return. But the sides appear far apart after Wednesday’s meeting between the team and Johnson’s agent, Joel Segal, failed to produce a new contract.

Munchak said Monday he hadn’t heard of any changes in the talks.

Johnson, who has said he wants at least $30 million guaranteed in his next deal, returned to Florida on Thursday and told The Tennessean that he and the team don’t see “eye to eye.”

“Basically my plan is to continue to handle my part and let Joel handle his part,” said Johnson, who’s scheduled to be paid $800,000 this season despite leading the NFL in rushing yards over the past three seasons and making the Pro Bowl each time. “All I can do is continue to work out and stay in shape. … All I can do right now is keep working out and keep waiting.”

The clock is ticking, with final roster cuts due Saturday before the season opener.

“Then I think you have to make a lot of decisions,” Munchak said Monday. “Not only that one, but we’ll have a lot of big decisions at every spot.”

The Titans trimmed their roster to 80 players Monday, one day before the NFL deadline. But Munchak said they needed to make sure they had as many players available as possible before the final roster cut to 53 on Saturday.

“You don’t want to have to put someone back in, in the fourth quarter, because of an injury, so we were trying to maintain every spot we could,” Munchak said.

The Titans on Monday cut defensive tackle Jovan Haye, who started 15 games for the team in 2009. The six-year veteran had gained weight during the offseason after hearing the Titans wanted to get bigger on defense. But Sen’Derrick Marks recently returned from shoulder surgery, and the Titans also like rookie tackles Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Zach Clayton.

The Titans also waived linebacker Jonathan Cornell, punter Chad Cunningham, fullback Patrick Hills, linebacker Kevin Malast, quarterback Brett Ratliff, safety Nick Schommer, wide receiver Owen Spencer and long snapper John Stokes.

Peyton Manning reactivated; but will he play in week 1?


Peyton Manningis back. Whether or not he’s ready to play is an open question.

The Indianapolis Colts activated Manning from the physically unable to perform list Monday. A few hours later, the four-time NFL MVP pulled on his white No. 18 jersey and a helmet, and jogged onto the practice field, renewing hopes that he actually might play in the Sept. 11 season opener at Houston, four months after having neck surgery.

“That’s kind of been my goal all along, trying to get better, and I know everybody’s into predictions and everybody wants to have the breaking news,” an upbeat Manning said. “But I just can’t give you any more than what I’m giving you.”

What everyone wants to know, of course, is if Manning will be ready. Nobody, including Manning, will say that yet, and he said again that he won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale at Cincinnati.Clearly, though, Manning is getting closer. He acknowledged he’s healthy enough right now to take a snap or play a series to keep his consecutive-games streak intact, but he insists he won’t.

“Like I said the other night, I have to be able to competitively play,” he said. “I have too much respect for football. I’ve got to be able to compete and to help my team win, and that’s what’s fair to the team, fair to myself.”

Manning has started 227 consecutive games, including the playoffs, the second-longest streak in NFL history for quarterbacks behind Brett Favre. Of all the numbers Manning has put up over the years, the streak is the one he usually has said means the most.

Manning had been on the PUP list since the Colts’ first training-camp practice Aug. 1 following the May procedure to repair a nerve in his neck. The Colts were facing a Saturday deadline to make the move or Manning would have missed the first six games.

Team officials issued a statement that said Manning would practice on a “scripted” and controlled basis. Colts coach Jim Caldwell didn’t elaborate on the plan.

“Obviously, he’s been throwing, but nevertheless it’s just going to be in a limited amount,” Caldwell said. “I don’t think it needs a whole lot of explanation, I don’t believe. Scripted means that we kind of know exactly what he’s going to do, prescribed by his rehab specialist and our medical team.”

Manning hadn’t been seen much at team headquarters, perhaps working out in private. He was at his playful best Monday, teasing reporters about their memories, poking fun at the circus-like environment surrounding his neck injury and suggesting that his close friend and center, Jeff Saturday, was tired of answering questions about him.Team officials have said all along that Manning would practice only when doctors cleared him and when the quarterback felt comfortable, and he again declined to say specifically what was holding him back.

“I don’t know what HIPAA stands for, but I believe in it and I practice it,” Manning joked, referring to the federal law protecting medical privacy. “So, uh, I’ll leave it at that.”

The fact Manning has been activated isn’t only good news for Manning, his teammates and Colts’ fans, but it also eased some concerns expressed by Jim Irsay. The team owner recently wrote on Twitter that the Colts should be prepared to start the season without Manning and later posted comments that prompted speculation he was trying to convince Favre to come out of retirement.

Instead, the Colts signed another retired quarterback in 17-year veteran Kerry Collins, who stood alongside Manning in a nationally televised loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers last week.

“(hash)18 to the practice field! Soon the leaves will fall/I looked at sideline sat.night n saw $30,000,000.00 standing there,my checkbook hurts!,” Irsay wrote Monday. Manning signed a five-year, $90 million contract deal in the offseason to stay in Indianapolis.

The next big question is how the Colts will divvy up the snaps.

Manning insists he’ll spend the next two weeks continuing the rehab and trying to get in sync with his teammates. But the Colts need Collins to work with the starters and still want Curtis Painter, who remains No. 2 on the depth chart, to play, too, in case Manning misses the Houston game.

“Starting today, I guess I’d be getting quite a few reps,” Collins said. “What the breakdown will be, I don’t know, because I’m sure they’re going to try and get Peyton back into the swing of things.”

The surgery was expected to keep Manning off the field for six to eight weeks. Instead, the recovery has gone slower than expected, something Manning has blamed, in part, on the 4 ½-month lockout that kept him away from team trainers.

With Manning ailing, the Colts have been refining backup plans. Two days after signing Collins, Painter delivered his best preseason performance by going 11-of-21 passing for 171 yards with two TDs and nearly led the Colts to their first preseason win in more than two years.

But Manning has been the backbone of this team since he was taken No. 1 overall in 1998.

Manning has thrown for 54,828 yards, third all-time behind Favre and Dan Marino, and needs one more TD pass to join Favre (508) and Marino (420) as the only members of the NFL’s 400-club. He has led the Colts to a record-tying nine consecutive playoff appearances, including last season when most of his top weapons went down with injuries.

“This was one of my goals all along, to get back during the week of this last preseason game,” Manning said. “This would give you two weeks of on-the-field work, and it can give you a pretty good answer to some questions that Coach Caldwell has and that I have.”

Manning has been through all of this before.

In 2008, he missed the entire training camp after having two surgeries to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee and didn’t return to practice until the final preseason game. He wound up winning his third league MVP award.

This time, Manning has been seen running and throwing passes, and teammates have expressed confidence he will start in Week 1.

“I think he’s right on schedule,” said Saturday, one of Manning’s closest friends. “I think it’s whatever the trainers and the rehab say. That’s where he is.”

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