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Packers' Butler Out for Season

November 20, 2001|Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers put safety LeRoy Butler on injured reserve Monday with a fractured shoulder, meaning the All-Pro safety's season is over.

To bolster their decimated secondary, the Packers signed free agents Billy Jenkins and Keith Thibodeaux.

Butler, a 12-year veteran, broke his left shoulder blade Sunday in Green Bay's 23-20 loss to Atlanta. His streak of 128 consecutive starts will end Thursday at Detroit.

The loss of Butler, who was injured tackling Maurice Smith in the second quarter, left the Packers without their top two safeties. Antuan Edwards blew out a knee in September and is out for the season.

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Baltimore Raven defensive end Michael McCrary will miss at least the next two games, and perhaps the rest of the season, after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee.

McCrary has been bothered by a sore knee for weeks. The pain finally became too much, and he decided to have surgery now while the Ravens have a bye week.

"At minimum, I would wager the first game he would be back would be [Dec. 16] against Pittsburgh," Coach Brian Billick said.

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Follow-up tests on quarterback Tony Banks were negative, leaving the Washington Redskins optimistic he will start Sunday against first-place Philadelphia.

"I feel a lot better," said Banks, who suffered a concussion in the Redskins' 17-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Banks left the game after a hit from Leon Lett late in the first half and left the field on a cart.

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Unable to finish the game against Washington because his sprained right ankle got worse, Rod Smith gave the Denver Broncos reason to doubt his availability for Thursday's game in Dallas.

"I don't think we'll know until game time exactly what his status is," Bronco Coach Mike Shanahan said.

Smith, the NFL's leading receiver with 75 catches for 948 yards, headed to the locker room late in Sunday's game, unable to play any longer on the ankle he sprained the previous week.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers, mostly injury-free in going 7-2, lost tight end Mark Bruener for the season with a shoulder injury.

Bruener, used mostly as a blocker, needs surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder.

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Carolina Panther Coach George Seifert said he is to blame for his team's nine-game losing streak.

Seifert said his poor play-calling in the fourth quarter contributed to the Panthers blowing an eight-point lead Sunday and losing, 25-22, in overtime to San Francisco.

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The Miami Dolphins will stick with Jay Fiedler at quarterback, even after he threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns in a 24-0 loss to the New York Jets.... Oakland Raider cornerback Charles Woodson won't practice much this week because of a turf-toe injury that he has had for two weeks.

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