GREEN BAY, Wis. » Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared by doctors and returned to practice for the Green Bay Packers yesterday. Assuming he doesn’t have a setback in his recovery from a concussion, he is optimistic he will start Sunday’s game against Miami.
Rodgers practiced on a limited basis, taking the majority of snaps during the portion of practice that was open to the media.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers completed all the steps in the NFL’s protocol to return to the field after a head injury, but the team will monitor his progress before naming him the starter against the Dolphins.
"I’ve been cleared by our doctors, by an outside source. And I think it’s just a matter of how I feel tomorrow. And I’m very optimistic," Rodgers said.
Rodgers suffered a concussion during Sunday’s overtime loss at Washington, but it’s not clear — even to Rodgers — when he began experiencing the symptoms of a head injury.
McCarthy said Monday that Rodgers’ concussion came on a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Packers’ final offensive play of the game. Rodgers said that hit "definitely" made him feel worse and forced him out of the game, but acknowledged that he wasn’t feeling "completely normal" even earlier.
According to NFL guidelines for head injuries, Rodgers must be symptom-free and cleared by a team doctor and independent neurological consultant before he can play again.
Favre expected to start
Brett Favre returned to practice yesterday on a limited basis after being held out of drills a day earlier because of tendinitis in his throwing elbow.
The quarterback was wearing a wrap on his arm during the practice.
Favre is expected to start Sunday against Dallas at Mall of America Field, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said a decision could go up to game time. Favre has started an NFL record 289 consecutive regular-season games.
Bieber mocks Brady
Even Justin Bieber is making fun of Tom Brady’s hair.
The New England Patriots quarterback’s long locks have been mocked for resembling that of the teen pop sensation — and now Bieber himself is piling on.
In a video posted by Bieber late Wednesday, he raps: "Sacked like a sacker. Call up Mr. Brady. Tell him to leave his hair to the guy who sings ‘Baby.’ "
Lions WR Burleson fined
The NFL has fined Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson $15,000 for two rule violations.
The league confirmed yesterday that Burleson was fined for kicking the football into the stands and displaying an unauthorized shirt with a personal message written on it.
Branch takes pay cut
Wide receiver Deion Branch has restructured his contract to take less money from the New England Patriots.
Branch, reacquired Monday in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, had been scheduled to make $5.47 million this season and $5.95 million in 2011. He said yesterday his contract had been restructured but did not give details.
ESPN reported that his salary for 2010 remains unchanged, but his 2011 salary is now closer to $2.15 million. Branch also can earn $2 million in incentives, ESPN reported.