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NFL notes: Bears’ Cutler expects to play against Seahawks

Thu., Oct. 14, 2010

Jay Cutler expects to be starting at quarterback for the Chicago Bears against the Seattle Seahawks after missing a game because of a concussion.

He said doctors “wanted to make completely sure” he was ready before clearing him Monday.

Cutler practiced on a limited basis last week after being sacked nine times in the first half of a loss to the New York Giants.

The Bears (4-1) beat Carolina last weekend, even though backup Todd Collins threw four interceptions before getting benched for Caleb Hanie.

Cutler experienced “dizziness” and “general fogginess” and missed his first start because of injury. He had made 57 in a row since Denver turned to him as a rookie in 2006, before a beating against the Giants stopped that streak.

San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, once one of the most-feared players in the NFL, was placed on the injured reserve list because of a calf injury and a “minor-injury designation.” Merriman must be released once he’s healthy, the team said.

Technically, the Chargers could re-sign the controversial player. That almost certainly won’t happen, though, because general manager A.J. Smith hasn’t been a fan of Merriman’s celebrity-leaning lifestyle.

Merriman had 391/2 sacks in his first three seasons. He’s had only four in the three seasons since then because of a variety of injuries.

He was suspended for four games in 2006 after testing positive for steroids. Even missing the four games, he had 17 sacks that year. Merriman blamed the positive test on a tainted supplement, which he never identified.

Also, the Chargers signed their fifth long snapper of the season, rookie Mike Windt, and released Ethan Albright, three days after having two punts blocked in a 35-27 loss at Oakland.

Favre’s streak in jeopardy

Brett Favre’s latest problem is his elbow.

With the NFL investigating whether he sent lewd photos of himself to a Jets game hostess while he played for New York in 2008, Favre said that his cherished, league-record streak of 289 straight starts could be in danger if the pain in his right elbow gets any worse.

The 41-year-old quarterback did not practice with Minnesota on Wednesday, preferring to rest the tendinitis that flared up noticeably on Monday night in the Vikings 29-20 loss to the Jets.

It’s even more adversity for Favre this season, which so far has been anything but a repeat of last year’s charmed run to the NFC title game. How bad is it? Local TV station WCCO posted video of Favre getting hit in the groin by a stray football during a warm up before practice started.

Around the league

Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill has the long-term deal he sought all along. McNeill agreed Wednesday to a five-year contract extension through 2015. It’s believed to be worth $48.5 million, with $24.5 million guaranteed. It took a holdout, a team-imposed suspension and having his pay slashed for this season to get to this point, but McNeill said it was worth it. … The Green Bay Packers may be without tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Nick Barnett for the rest of the season. Both players had surgery this week and will need more time than originally was expected to recover. … The Minnesota Vikings signed veteran cornerback Frank Walker to help an injury-depleted position. Walker was added to the roster and starting cornerback Cedric Griffin was placed on season-ending injured reserve after hurting his right knee on Monday against the New York Jets.

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