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Stafford chosen to lead Lions in opener

September 08, 2009|Associated Press

Matthew Stafford won the Detroit Lions' quarterback derby. Daunte Culpepper didn't lose the job.

That's what Detroit's new coach, Jim Schwartz, emphasized Monday when he made the No. 1 overall draft pick the starter for Sunday in New Orleans, when the Lions try to win for the first time in 21 months.

"I've had a lot of very tough decisions in the last few days -- guys making the 53-man roster or not making it -- but none more difficult than at quarterback," Schwartz said. "We announced to our team this morning that Matt Stafford is going to be our starting quarterback."

One of the factors that helped Schwartz make his decision was the 21-year-old rookie's chemistry with Detroit's biggest offensive weapon, receiver Calvin Johnson.

"I think he had 15 snaps in the preseason with Calvin, and you could already see what was possible there," Schwartz said. "The big plays were always there."

Seymour absent

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour did not report to the Oakland Raiders, a day after being acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Raiders Coach Tom Cable said after practice that Seymour had to resolve some things with the Patriots before the deal for a first-round pick in 2011 could be finalized.

"We have attempted to make a deal," Cable said. "There are some issues still between him and the Patriots that are being worked out. I'm hoping that that will get resolved as quickly as possible. We know that the player wants to be here, but we have really no control over those issues."

Patriots spokesman Stacey James said he was unaware of any difficulties surrounding the trade, which was announced by New England on Sunday and confirmed by Cable.

Cassel practices

Quarterback Matt Cassel appeared on Kansas City's practice field for the first time since injuring his left knee on Aug. 29, but his status for Sunday's opener at Baltimore remained unclear.

Cassel, who signed a six-year contract for a guaranteed $28 million, injured his knee on the third play of the third exhibition game, against Seattle. He was in full uniform Monday and did most of the conditioning drills in the short period the media were permitted to watch. If he does not start at Baltimore, the Chiefs would probably go with Brodie Croyle.

Cassel's backups, Croyle and Tyler Thigpen, were both inconsistent as the Chiefs finished 0-4 in the exhibition season.

Etc.

Cleveland Browns Coach Eric Mangini has decided on his starting quarterback, and he's keeping it a secret as long as he can. Mangini declined to identify his starter for Sunday's opener against Minnesota. Before practice, he said he has not yet told Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson who won the job. Mangini says he will not publicly announce his starter because as a former defensive coordinator he thinks it gives his team a competitive advantage against the Vikings and future opponents. . . . Indianapolis Colts Coach Jim Caldwell said he expects Pro Bowl safety Bob Sanders to be back on the field within five weeks. Sanders had off-season knee surgery and has not yet practiced.

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