NFL notes: Packers don't clear Aaron Rodgers to play vs. Steelers
The Packers have ruled out Aaron Rodgers for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It will be Green Bay's seventh straight game without Rodgers since the franchise quarterback fractured his left collarbone during the first series of a 27-20 loss to the Bears on Nov. 4.
Backup Matt Flynn will make a fourth straight start. Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that Rodgers has not received medical clearance yet, and that the organization feels Rodgers is not ready to play.
"Just as I've stated all along. We've got two different circumstances here. We've got Aaron Rodgers' health, and obviously where we are as a football team," McCarthy said. "Until we feel good about where Aaron is medically, that will not be part of the second circumstance. So as an organization, we are not ready for him to play."
Green Bay (7-6-1) went winless for five games before rallying for two straight come-from-behind victories with Flynn at quarterback to get back into the NFC North race. The Packers can win the division by beating the Steelers this week and Bears next week.
Rodgers this week said he hasn't suffered any setbacks. He appears to be improving each week.
Rodgers looked sharp in individual drills and other parts of brief portions of practice open to media, though Flynn has taken the majority of practice snaps.
McCarthy was peppered with questions Friday about the status of the 2011 NFL MVP.
"I think Aaron clearly wants to play. I mean, he's a very competitive man," McCarthy said. "He's done everything he possibly can from his end of it."
Welker likely out until playoffs
As expected, Denver Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker was officially ruled out of this weekend's game at Houston.
He's also expected to be held out of the Broncos' regular-season finale at Oakland on Dec. 29 as a precaution against a third head injury this month, which would end his season.
The Broncos (11-3) are hoping to gain home-field advantage in the playoffs and a first-round bye that would give Welker more than a month's rest.
He hasn't played since leaving the Broncos' Dec. 8 game against Tennessee shortly before halftime with his second concussion in a three-week span. He was cleared Thursday to resume light workouts.
Welker has a career-high 10 touchdown catches on 73 receptions for 778 yards in his first season in Denver.
Around the league
Vikings • Adrian Peterson returned to practice for Minnesota and is expected to play in Sunday's game at Cincinnati as long as he doesn't have any setbacks with his sprained right foot.
Steelers • Defensive end Brett Keisel expects to play on Sunday when Pittsburgh travels to Green Bay. He missed four of the previous five games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot but practiced on Friday.
Week 16 schedule
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 11 a.m.
Indianapolis at Kansas City, 11 a.m.
Denver at Houston, 11 a.m., Ch. 2
Miami at Buffalo, 11 a.m.
New Orleans at Carolina, 11 a.m.
Dallas at Washington, 11 a.m.
Cleveland at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.
Minnesota at Cincinnati, 11 a.m.
Tennessee at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.
Arizona at Seattle, 2:05 p.m., Ch. 13
N.Y. Giants at Detroit, 2:05 p.m.
Oakland at San Diego, 2:25 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Green Bay, 2:25 p.m.
New England at Baltimore, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
Chicago at Philadelphia, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5
Atlanta at San Francisco, 6:40 p.m., ESPN