Saturday, November 1, 2008

From combined dispatches

The Green Bay Packers made a long-term commitment to quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Friday, signing the first-year starter to a contract extension through 2014.

The team announced the deal after practice Friday afternoon, when Rodgers signed the paperwork. Terms were not disclosed.

“It means a lot,” Rodgers said. “I’m very excited knowing that my future is going to be here in Green Bay.”

A former standout at California, Rodgers was the Packers’ first-round pick in 2005. He then spent three years as the backup to Brett Favre.

His long-awaited opportunity to become Green Bay’s starter came when Favre retired in March. Then Favre expressed a desire to return to football, making Rodgers’ future seem uncertain.

But when Favre finally came out of retirement after training camp started in early August, Packers management stood by its commitment to Rodgers and traded Favre, the NFL‘s only three-time MVP, to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick.

“I appreciate the commitment that they’ve made, and I plan to reciprocate that commitment in my play and hopefully prove to them that they made the correct decision giving me this extension,” Rodgers said.

The 24-year-old has had a solid beginning as a pro starter.

In seven games, he has completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,668 yards and 12 touchdowns with only four interceptions. His passer rating is 98.8.

CHIEFS: Running back Larry Johnson was suspended for Week 10 by commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Johnson already was deactivated the last two weeks by Kansas City and also won’t play Sunday against Tampa Bay. He will miss the Chiefs’ game at San Diego next weekend under the NFL’s suspension.

Johnson is not permitted on the team’s premises until Nov. 10. The suspension will cost him about $147,000, or one game check.

SEAHAWKS: Forget Jim Mora going to the Washington Huskies.

Seattle’s head coach in waiting said he is not interested in the coaching position at Washington, ending both his silence and rampant speculation.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Washington coaching vacancy,” Mora said. “I wish the university well with their search and the program nothing but sustained success in the future.”

Mora is a former Huskies linebacker who began his coaching career at Washington as a graduate assistant under Don James in 1984.

COWBOYS: Tight end Jason Witten still hasn’t been ruled out of playing with a broken rib against the New York Giants, even after missing practice again.

Witten hasn’t practiced this week with Dallas, but the team listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game. The four-time Pro Bowl tight end, hurt in last week’s victory over Tampa Bay, said he hopes to play.

Coach Wade Phillips said Witten could play against the Giants without practicing.

“He does everything right in practice, that’s why he doesn’t need to practice as much,” Phillips said.

RAVENS: Baltimore will be without starting cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle for Sunday’s game against Cleveland because of injuries.

McAlister has been dealing with a problematic right knee and got a second medical opinion this week.

Rolle has missed the past five games with a neck ailment that required surgery. Although Rolle returned to practice this week, he wore a red jersey that signified he was off-limits to contact.

Fabian Washington and Frank Walker will start for the Ravens.

BILLS: Buffalo will be without three starters when it hosts the New York Jets in an AFC East matchup Sunday.

Receiver Josh Reed (right ankle and Achilles tendon), defensive end Aaron Schobel (left foot) and right guard Brad Butler (left knee) are all out with injuries for the Bills.

Roscoe Parrish and rookie James Hardy will likely share duties replacing Reed. Jason Whittle will get the start for Butler, and Ryan Denney will replace Schobel.

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