- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Detroit Lions plan to rest Matthew Stafford’s banged-up, nonthrowing shoulder for at least one game.

They don’t expect to shut him down for the season.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Wednesday that Daunte Culpepper will start at Baltimore on Sunday and Stafford likely will be the No. 3 quarterback. Stafford aggravated his left shoulder Sunday at Cincinnati.

“If he hadn’t taken that hit in the fourth quarter of the Cincy game, we wouldn’t be having this discussion,” Schwartz said. “It was a very similar hit to the one that he took in the Cleveland game, and we want to avoid the situation where it becomes something chronic.

“Structurally, everything is still on course. It’s sore, and we just wanted to avoid a continuing cycle of come back, get hit, come back, get hit. We’ll give it time to rest and put it behind him.”

EAGLES: Brian Westbrook is returning to practice for the first time since sustaining two concussions in a three-week span.

Coach Andy Reid said the star running back will be eased back into action by working with the scout team, and he hasn’t ruled him out for Sunday’s game at the New York Giants.

Westbrook said he feels pretty good and isn’t “scared” to play, though he’s concerned about possible long-term effects. Westbrook said doctors have assured him his chances of suffering another concussion won’t increase if he’s fully healed when he returns.

Also, the club extended Reid’s contract by three years, keeping him with the Eagles through 2013.

JETS: Mark Sanchez will sit out New York’s game at Tampa Bay with a sprained right knee. Kellen Clemens will start in his place.

Coach Rex Ryan said he made the decision to have Sanchez not play after seeking the advice of team doctors. Ryan said Sanchez was upset by the decision, but the coach said it was in the rookie quarterback’s best interest.

TEXANS: Running back Steve Slaton is done for the season.

The team said he will be placed on injured reserve because of a nerve issue in his neck.

Slaton, who ran for 1,282 yards last season, had a fumbling problem this year, and the Texans recently revealed the injury on his right side was more serious than they initially believed.

BENGALS: Receiver Chad Ochocinco is taking the NFL’s fine for his latest touchdown celebration as a challenge to do more.

Ochocinco was fined $30,000 for briefly donning a mock poncho and a sombrero next to the bench following his touchdown catch during a 23-13 victory against Detroit on Sunday. That’s $10,000 more than the fine he got for pretending to bribe an official during a game earlier this season.

“That’s OK,” he said. “They keep jacking them up, I’ll keep jacking up the celebrations.”

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