NFL Notes

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler scrambles during Sunday night's game against the Texans at Chicago. He suffered a concussion in the game and will miss this Monday night's game.
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler scrambles during Sunday night's game against the Texans at Chicago. He suffered a concussion in the game and will miss this Monday night's game. Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

Cutler to miss 49ers game with concussion

The Chicago Bears were bracing for an injury to Jay Cutler long before the season started.

Now, they'll see just how prepared they are.

Cutler will miss Monday's game at San Francisco because of a concussion, leaving the Bears without their starting quarterback. The team announced the decision Friday, meaning Jason Campbell is the likely starter against the 49ers.

Star receiver Brandon Marshall said Cutler is getting better, but he also said there's a bigger picture that goes beyond this week's game.

"Our life, our health, is more important than football," Marshall said. "I think we'll get Jay back sooner than later."

For now, the Bears believe they have enough to get by. They brought in Campbell in the offseason for a situation like this, and he found out before Thursday's practice that he'll be starting.

"You definitely don't want to see anyone get hurt or injured in this business," said Campbell, who's made 70 starts in his career with Washington and Oakland. "We understand it is a tough sport. Sometimes, things like that happen."

Coach Lovie Smith would not say if Cutler will make the trip to San Francisco. Players need to be cleared by team physicians and an independent neurological consultant before they can return, under NFL safety protocols. It's possible that the Bears could hold him out even if he gets the OK from doctors.

When asked about that, all Smith would say is: "He's not playing this week, and that's about as much as I'm going to go into it."

He added Cutler is getting better and the Bears hope to have him back for the game against Minnesota on Nov. 25.

The Bears will also be missing defensive end Shea McClellin because of a concussion. They might get receiver Alshon Jeffery back from a hand injury. He's missed the past four games but went through a full practice on Friday.

Eagles QB Vick out; Foles to start at Washington

The news wasn't surprising to Nick Foles.

Or anybody else, for that matter.

After all, the Eagles rookie quarterback had practiced with the first team all week, and the starter at his position, Michael Vick, hadn't even touched the field since he left it with a concussion six days ago.

So, when Philadelphia coach Andy Reid on Friday officially ruled Vick out of Sunday's game vs. Washington, and named Foles the starter, there weren't many out there shocked by the expected proclamation. Certainly not the third-round pick from Arizona who has been preparing for his first NFL start his whole life.

"We've had a great week of preparation, a lot of hard work, and it definitely has sunk in," Foles said. "I'm ready to go."

Eagles fans certainly hope so.

When Foles and Philadelphia take the field Sunday in a matchup of disappointed 3-6 teams, there will be plenty at stake. Any chance of getting back in the NFC East race depends on this team making a run. Reid's future - and perhaps even Foles' as a full-time starter - also depend on it.

No pressure, or anything.

"We have a great group of guys here, great coaches. I feel great. I felt great ever since I got here. I felt like it's a home. We have fun together. We have fun out there at practice together and in the locker room," Foles said. "It's a great environment to play in, it's a great environment to go to work in. I feel comfortable in everything and I'm ready to go play for these guys."

Vick, meanwhile, will be resting this weekend, and spending time in "in dark, quiet places," according to head trainer Rick Burkholder, who spoke to reporters at the Eagles training facility on Friday.

"He has too many symptoms for us to even exercise him," Burkholder said. "He's not even close to playing this week."

Reid finally made the announcement official after the team's final practice of the week, confirming a decision that had been in the works since Monday. It was only because Vick had not completed the league-mandated concussion testing earlier in the week, that Reid did not officially rule him out earlier.

"That was one of his goals, obviously, to stay healthy all season. He's a very considerate guy, and he feels like he lets people down, and his teammates down," Reid said of Vick. "And that's not the case, he's hurt. But he's one of the most competitive, toughest guys I've been around."

Vick completed just six passes for 70 yards vs. Dallas before leaving. The Eagles lost, 38-23.

"The one thing that we look at is that we want to see whether his cognitive function is down. We do that through impact testing. He did take an impact test today," Burkholder said. "He's below baseline, so that's another indicator that he's not ready to play."

Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception vs. the Cowboys. Those numbers weren't enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in Reid's 14 seasons.

Jets Kerley questionable but expected to play

New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley is questionable for the team's game at St. Louis with heel and hamstring injuries, but is expected to play against the Rams.

Coach Rex Ryan says Friday that Kerley, the team's leading receiver, did not practice and has been bothered all week by the heel and tightness in the hamstring. He has 35 catches and two scores, and is the Jets' primary punt returner.

Also questionable after being limited in practice but expected to play are running backs Joe McKnight (sprained right ankle) and Bilal Powell (concussion), linebacker Bart Scott (hyperextended right big toe) and nose tackle Sione Po'uha (back, ankle).

Wide receiver Stephen Hill returned to practice after missing two days with an illness. Linebacker Calvin Pace was excused for personal reasons, but will play.

Knighton fined $25,000 for hit on Luck

Jacksonville defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali and New England LB Brandon Spikes were fined $25,000 each by the NFL for hits in recent games.

Knighton was fined for making helmet-to-helmet contact with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was defenseless at the time. The hit came in Indianapolis' victory Nov. 8 at Jacksonville and negated an interception by Aaron Ross.

Hali was docked for striking Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich with his helmet.

Spikes got a roughing-the-passer penalty on Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that drew the fine. He hit Fitzpatrick with his helmet. The players later jawed at each other and after the Patriots' win, Fitzpatrick called Spikes "a punk."

In all, 17 players drew fines Friday for their actions in Week 10 games.

Oakland linebacker Aaron Curry was given two fines: $15,750 for striking Baltimore RB Ray Rice late, and $7,875 for unnecessary roughness on a special teams play. Raiders LB Phillip Wheeler was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness when he grabbed Rice by the facemask.

RB Mendenhall ready to return for Steelers

Insisting he feels well with no setbacks after a full week of practice, running back Rashard Mendenhall is set to return for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Because of an Achilles injury, Mendenhall has missed all four games of a winning streak that the Steelers (6-3) carry into their Sunday showdown with the Baltimore Ravens (7-2).

Mendenhall had not been through a full practice in more than a month, but made it through complete workouts Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He is officially listed as probable.

"He looks like he's back to his old form," running back Isaac Redman said. "He's making all the cuts, it looks like he has his burst. So he looks good."

With former 1,200-yard rusher Mendenhall back, the Steelers have to decide how to split carries between he, Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Redman and Dwyer each had 100-yard rushing games while Mendenhall was out.

"All three of us are going to play," Redman said. "And we're just going to keep it rolling throughout the game and try to keep a fresh running back in there at all times. We're going to try to pound them."

Branch practices, still questionable

Oakland Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch, the former UConn star, practiced Friday for the first time this week but remains questionable with a neck injury.

Branch was hurt during last Sunday's 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The injury worsened on the flight back to the West Coast and Branch was held out of all workouts before returning in a limited capacity.

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