NFL Notebook: Bears to start Orton
The NFL notebook …
LAKE FOREST, Ill. ó Kyle Orton was selected to be the Chicago Bears starting quarterback by coach Lovie Smith on Monday.
Orton won the competition with Rex Grossman for the starting job.
Orton, the fourth-year player from Purdue, will start Thursday’s third preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers and the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
“I think I’ve just continued to get better in the preseason ó in the games and in practice ó so this will be another step to take,” Orton said.
– SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó J.T. O’Sullivan will remain the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback for a third consecutive week, but coach Mike Nolan again stopped short from saying that O’Sullivan is the starter for the regular season.
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó The Cincinnati Bengals are close to signing Chris Henry, four months after they released the wide receiver following his fifth arrest since 2005, Henry’s agent said Monday.
The Bengals suddenly have a need for experienced receivers with Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh slowed by injuries. Cincinnati began showing interest in Henry last month when an assault charge stemming from an incident March 31 was dropped, agent Marvin Frazier said. A deal could be completed by Tuesday, he added.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó Matt Ryan’s next shot at winning the starting quarterback job for the Atlanta Falcons will come in his first preseason start.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said Monday that Ryan will start Friday night’s game against Tennessee at the Georgia Dome.
Smith said he plans for Ryan and the other starters to play the first half and at least one series in the third quarter.
Ryan, the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, entered the Falcons’ Aug. 9 preseason opener at Jacksonville after two series and led an 11-play, 74-yard touchdown drive. He had an interception returned for a touchdown in a less impressive performance in Saturday night’s loss to Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS ó Safety Bob Sanders is ready to start hitting, and the Colts are finally ready to get him back on the field.
Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy said Monday that Sanders, the 2007 NFL defensive player of the year, and defensive end Dwight Freeney, a former league sacks champion, should be cleared for practice this week ó easing two of the team’s biggest preseason concerns.
“Our hope is that they will practice this week,” Dungy said. “We expect both to practice by Wednesday.”
If Sanders has his way, the return could come even sooner. He’s hoping to be on the field when the Colts hold their first workout at the new Lucas Oil Stadium on Tuesday.
Both were placed on the physically unable to perform list ó along with two-time league MVP Peyton Manning and two other starters ó when training camp opened July 24 and all five starters were held out during the Colts’ entire three-week stay in Terre Haute, Ind.
NEW ORLEANS ó Jeremy Shockey ran some plays with the first team offense in practice on Monday and appears on track to make his first appearance in a Saints uniform when New Orleans plays its third preseason game on Saturday night in Cincinnati.
“Today was certainly more (action) than he’s gotten and the plan is to get him in Saturday,” coach Sean Payton said. “He’s getting a lot better. He’s in shape. So I’m hopeful we go this week, each day, without any setbacks.”
SEAHAWKSRENTON, Wash. ó Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck fully participated in a practice for the first time since his back stiffened 10 days ago and said he will play in the Seahawks’ next preseason game Aug. 25 at San Diego.
“It is fine,” Hasselbeck said Monday, two days after he watched No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye play all of Seattle’s preseason win over Chicago.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. ó Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs reported to the team Monday and began practicing after signing his $8.47 million, one-year tender.
On the advice of his agent, the Ravens’ franchise player skipped training camp to protest the franchise tag. He’s expected to play about 15 snaps against the St. Louis Rams in the team’s third preseason game on Saturday night.
NEW YORK ó Live telecasts of eight NFL games will be shown on mobile phones this season. Sprint announced Monday that the Thursday and Saturday broadcasts on NFL Network will be free for subscribers to its data service plans.
Those customers will also be able to listen to the live radio calls of both the home and away teams for all regular-season games on their phones.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó The Minnesota Vikings placed defensive tackle Kenderick Allen on injured reserve on Monday in another hit to their already thin defensive line.