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Packers' Rodgers to return against Bears

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was cleared to return from a left collarbone injury, just in time to start Sunday against the Bears in a game to decide the NFC North title.

With no advance warning and little fanfare, Rodgers received the news at the same time as the rest of his teammates Thursday.

"This is a fun day for me, but I think the focus needs to be on this game and the opportunity we have to win the division," said Rodgers, who missed eight games.

Rodgers didn't want to hear anything about rust.

"I'm sure if I miss a pass, that it's because I'm rusty, or if I hit one it's going to be a big deal or something," he said.

Green Bay (7-7-1) is 2-5-1 since Rodgers was injured early in a loss Nov. 4 to Chicago, but still has a shot to win a third straight division title Sunday at Soldier Field. Win, and Green Bay will host a wild-card game in the first round.

"We're in it. You know we have a chance against our rivals, and what a better way than to go down there and get some redemption and host a home playoff game," Rodgers said.

Bears players are not counting on Rodgers playing tentatively because of the injury.

"I don't expect him to run as much, but he is a threat coming out of the backfield," cornerback Tim Jennings said. "He's going to take what the defense gives him, so if we are playing deep and there's no one in front of him, I expect for him to run."

romo update: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (back) is not expected to practice today as the team continues to hope he can play Sunday against the Eagles. Asked if Romo was walking okay, tight end Jason Witten replied: "Define okay." Kyle Orton would start if Romo is out, and Jon Kitna was signed this week as a backup. Meanwhile, receiver Dez Bryant was held out of practice, still bothered by a back injury sustained Sunday. It was a downgrade from Wednesday, when Bryant was limited in practice, but he said sitting out was precautionary and guaranteed he will play.

cb to retire: Former All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will retire today after 11 years in the league, the Raiders said. Asomugha had his greatest success in eight seasons with the Raiders after being drafted in the first round out of California in 2003. He struggled after joining Philadelphia as a high-profile free agent in 2011. The 49ers cut Asomugha last month.

Jaguars: Two starters are out Sunday at the Colts: linebacker Geno Hayes (knee, requires arthroscopic surgery) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle).

jets: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he is open to restructuring his contract, and hopes to retire someday as a Jet. He will count nearly $15 million against the salary cap next season, so the team might to cut him or rework his deal.

Lions: Tight end Dorin Dickerson went on injured reserve, four days after he didn't immediately tell the medical staff he had a concussion during a loss to the Giants. Detroit signed tight end Matt Veldman from its practice squad to replace Dickerson, claimed former Bucs receiver Micheal Spurlock off waivers from the Cowboys and added receiver Carlin Isles to the practice squad. Dickerson told reporters Sunday he was unconscious after a kickoff return but thought he could keep playing. He ended up dropping a pass and getting called for holding during the Lions' only drive in overtime.

Packers' Rodgers to return against Bears 12/26/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 26, 2013 9:44pm]
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