NFL notebook

Cassel gets appendectomy

Status unknown for Sunday’s game

NFL-low four INTs
Associated Press / December 9, 2010

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Quarterback Matt Cassel, a key reason the Kansas City Chiefs lead the AFC West, underwent an appendectomy yesterday.

The Chiefs said the procedure was a success and they expected Cassel to return to work this week. They did not say he would be ready to play Sunday when the Chiefs (8-4) travel to San Diego for a showdown with the Chargers, who trail Kansas City by two games in the division.

Taking most of the practice snaps yesterday was Brodie Croyle, who is 0-9 as an NFL starter and has not appeared in a game this season.

While the Chiefs released no details of the operation, the American College of Surgeons website advises patients who have had a minimally invasive appendectomy not to “lift or participate in strenuous activity for three to five days’’ after the procedure.

The Chiefs also signed quarterback Tyler Palko to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

“It’s actually a coincidence. It really is,’’ said coach Todd Haley, who insisted during his news conference on saying only that Cassel had “an illness.’’

Haley declined to speculate on whether Cassel will be ready for Sunday’s game.

“Again, he’ll be on the injury report as illness today,’’ Haley said. “And we’ll just take it from there as we do all injuries.’’

In his second season as the Chiefs’ starter, Cassel has been thriving under the tutelage of Haley and first-year offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, connecting on 212 of 354 passes for 2,503 yards and 23 touchdowns. The former Patriot has thrown an NFL-low four interceptions. His streak of 158 passes without an interception is the third-longest active streak in the league.

Cassel was the AFC’s offensive player of the month for November, going 90 for 144 for 1,111 yards and 12 TDs with only one interception.

Investigation over The NFL has wrapped up its investigation into allegations that Brett Favre sent inappropriate phone messages and photos to a Jets game hostess two years ago, the woman’s attorney said.

Attorney Joseph Conway said Joe Hummel, the director of investigative services for the NFL’s security department, told him the case has been sent to commissioner Roger Goodell and the league’s lawyers for review.

“He told me it’s upstairs in the commissioner’s office and the lawyers are going over it,’’ said Conway, the lawyer for Jenn Sterger. “I have not been told a timetable as when to expect something and I have not been told what the findings will be.’’

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to discuss details of the case and said “we’re not ruling out this week. We’re not ruling out next week’’ in terms of a decision.

Favre, meanwhile, said that because of a sprained right shoulder suffered last Sunday against the Bills, he is unsure if he will be able to extend his NFL record for consecutive games started this week when the Vikings play the Giants.

He hopes a few more days of rest will provide some clarity for him to make a decision by tomorrow, but interim coach Leslie Frazier said he wouldn’t be surprised if it goes right up until game time.

“It really hasn’t crossed my mind this week that I’ve got to get out there to keep the streak going,’’ Favre said. “I think the most important streak right now is we’ve won two in a row.’’

Colts’ Sanders on IR Colts safety Bob Sanders will not play again this season after being placed on injured reserve because of a torn biceps muscle in his right arm suffered during the first quarter of the season opener. He’s the 15th Colts player on injured reserve this season . . . Lions defensive lineman Kyle Vanden Bosch will go on IR because of a bulging disk in his neck. Vanden Bosch hasn’t officially been added to the injured list, but coach Jim Schwartz said he was having neck surgery . . . Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington is scheduled tomorrow for his fourth right (throwing) shoulder surgery, and says it’s 50-50 whether he’ll retire. Pennington, twice chosen the NFL comeback player of the year, said he’s confident he can fully recover and play again. But given the wear and tear on his shoulder, he’s unsure whether he should try at age 34. “There’s no doubt I can come back,’’ he said. “I’m going to have to weigh whether I would be a liability or an asset.’’ . . . The Saints placed veteran running back Ladell Betts on IR with a neck in jury and added veteran linebacker Kawika Mitchell to the roster . . . Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt refused to name a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Rookie John Skelton and newly signed Richard Bartel took reps with the first unit in practice. They are the team’s only healthy quarterbacks.

Vick leads voting Eagles quarterback Michael Vick leads Pro Bowl voting with 729,838 fan votes, nearly 39,000 more than second-place Peyton Manning, who topped the balloting two weeks ago. “I think it’s just a credit to everything I’ve tried to accomplish on and off the field, just working as hard as I can to change things around, be a part of the solution and not the problem,’’ Vick said. “I changed my life and it just goes to show anybody can do it.’’ Manning (691,146) led the AFC, followed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (623,074). Online voting ends Dec. 20. The teams are picked by a vote combination from fans, players, and coaches . . . Coach Rex Ryan buried the Jets’ embarrassing loss to the Patriots on Monday night — literally. Ryan led the team out to the practice field before its morning meeting, took a game ball from the 45-3 rout, and placed it in a freshly dug hole. “He said we’re burying the game,’’ cornerback Darrelle Revis said. Patriots coach Bill Belichick did something similar after a loss to the Dolphins in 2001. New England went on to win its first Super Bowl against St. Louis that season . . . Bills safety Donte Whitner said he’s having contract talks with the team in a bid to avoid becoming a free agent after this season. Whitner hopes a new contract can be reached because he’d prefer remaining with Buffalo (2-10) and help turn around a team that will miss the playoffs for an 11th straight season . . . Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh was fined $15,000 after drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler last Sunday. Suh says he plans to appeal.

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