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Matt Flynn is released by the Raiders

The Oakland Raiders released quarterback Matt Flynn on Monday, only six months after bringing him in to be the starter.

Oakland acquired Flynn in April from Seattle for a 2014 fifth-round draft pick and a conditional pick in 2015. The Raiders also reworked Flynn's contract to give him $6.5 million in guaranteed money this season.

But Flynn was beaten out for the starting job by Terrelle Pryor and fell to third string behind undrafted free agent Matt McGloin last week.

"It just didn't work," Coach Dennis Allen said. "Terrelle came in and he took over the job. He's earned the position that he's in. So, we just felt like it's probably best to move on from that."

Flynn made two appearances for Oakland. He came in late in a loss at Denver on Sept. 23 after Pryor suffered a concussion and started against Washington the week after.

After spending four years as the backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, Flynn was one of the most sought-after quarterbacks on the free-agent market in 2012 based largely on one dynamic start. Flynn threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 season finale for the Packers against Detroit.

Seattle signed Flynn and paid him $8 million last season even though he was beaten out for the starting job by rookie Russell Wilson.

Matt Cassel to start at quarterback for Vikings — for now

Minnesota's quarterback this weekend will be Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder, not Josh Freeman.

If Ponder has healed from his broken rib, Coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder will return as the starter. If Ponder still can't play, Cassel will keep the job.

Beyond Sunday's game against Carolina, well, there's no guarantee for anyone.

The Vikings were finalizing Freeman's contract four days after the 25-year-old was cut by Tampa Bay. He didn't make it in time for practice but was scheduled to arrive later, and Freeman and General Manager Rick Spielman were scheduled to address reporters in an evening conference call.

This was the only definitive word from Frazier: There's not enough time for Freeman to learn the offense and play against the Panthers.

Although Freeman agreed to a prorated $3-million deal for the rest of the season, the next three months will be a feeling-out process for both sides in advance of the free-agent market.

 

Panthers' Steve Smith calls game official 'garbage'

Receiver Steve Smith is still upset with the officiating in Carolina's 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, calling a member of Sunday's crew "garbage."

Smith said that umpire Dan Ferrell was "the sorriest referee I've ever met" and added that

Ferrell "received a check that day and I hope he feels good, because he was terrible."

Smith acknowledged his comments would probably draw a fine from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but said he didn't care.

Ferrell has been officiating NFL games since 2003 and Sunday was his 156th game, according to Pro Football Reference.

Smith was upset over several calls, including one in which he was flagged for offensive pass interference and another where he thought cornerback Patrick Peterson grabbed the back of his jersey on a route and used that momentum to "slingshot" past him to break up a pass.

Smith said Ferrell explained to him it wasn't enough to warrant a pass interference penalty.

"It was pass interference in Mexico, Europe, rugby — in pretty much every other sport but in Arizona," Smith said. "But then when I pushed off it was pass interference."

Smith also pointed to a play where he dived with the ball outstretched beyond the first-down marker but was ruled down before the yardstick. Coach Ron Rivera challenged the play and officials overruled the call and granted Carolina a first down.

Texans' Matt Schaub gets vote of confidence

Houston quarterback Matt Schaub still has his starting job, Coach Gary Kubiak is sure of that. But Kubiak is less certain of how to get Schaub back on track and the Texans back to winning.

Schaub had three passes intercepted in Houston's 34-3 loss to San Francisco on Sunday night that extended the team's losing streak to three games.

His first interception was returned for a touchdown, marking the fourth consecutive game that an opponent had taken one of his interceptions for a score.

Kubiak says he's worried about Schaub's confidence and is looking for ways to help him be successful again. Kubiak says he believes you have to give players a chance to play through their struggles.

Blaine Gabbert is expected to sit out for Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley said he expects quarterback Blaine Gabbert to sit out Sunday's game at Denver because of a strained hamstring.

Bradley reiterated that he's planning to stick with Gabbert, the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft, as the starter when he's healthy.

"Right now, that's what I think," Bradley said. "There are some crazy things that can happen, I guess. … We'll see how Blaine does this week with his injury. I know it's very important for him to get back, and he's going to do everything he can to get back."

Chad Henne will make his third start this season.

Packers await word on Clay Matthews' broken thumb

The Green Bay Packers are bracing themselves for being without four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who broke his right thumb in the team's 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Coach Mike McCarthy said that Matthews was at a doctor's appointment being examined and that he was unsure how long Matthews would be sidelined.

Thad Lewis to start at quarterback for Bills

Quarterback Thad Lewis is going from the practice squad to starter for the Buffalo Bills.

Coach Doug Marrone told Lewis to get ready to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

"He just told me, `You're starting,' " Lewis said. "He gave me the nod, so I have to go out and do my best with it."

The scramble to find a starter began after EJ Manuel sprained his right knee in the Bills' 37-24 loss to Cleveland on Thursday. The injury will not require surgery, but Manuel is expected to sit out a few weeks.

The Bills had only one other quarterback on their roster, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, who struggled in replacing Manuel on Thursday.

Lewis has spent the last six weeks with the Bills. He was acquired in a trade with Detroit in late August after Manuel was sidelined because of a left knee injury and veteran Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion.

 

Lions are looking into accusation directed at player

The Lions said they are investigating whether center Dominic Raiola verbally abused members of the University of Wisconsin marching band during Detroit's game at Green Bay on Sunday.

The team said the reports "are extremely inconsistent with the standard of behavior we expect from our players and from every member of our organization."

The band was at Lambeau Field to perform during and after the game. Wisconsin officials say they have heard from team President Tom Lewand, who apologized. Raiola, a 13-year veteran, is the longest-tenured member on the Lions roster.

Coach Jim Schwartz said he did not hear or see Raiola talking to band members, but he would be disappointed if the reports are true.

NFL to meet with Indian tribe over Redskins

The NFL said it will meet with representatives of an Indian tribe from New York that is campaigning for the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.

A league spokesman said a meeting was scheduled for next month and could happen sooner.

The Oneida Indian Nation held a symposium on the issue in Washington to coincide with the NFL owners' meetings taking place across town.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said he'll never change the team's name.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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