December 14, 2017 / 1:06 AM / 7 months ago

National Football League roundup

(The Sports Xchange) - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is preparing to play his first game in eight weeks this weekend against the Carolina Panthers, coach Mike McCarthy announced on Wednesday.

December 13, 2017; Ashwaubenon, WS, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) watches during practice at the Don Hutson Center. Adam Wesley/Green Bay Press Gazette via USA TODAY NETWORK

Rodgers was medically cleared from his collarbone injury on Tuesday night by team Dr. Pat McKenzie.

McCarthy told reporters that the two-time NFL MVP would receive extra individual work in order to get up to speed after his two-month absence.

The Packers (7-6), who are 3-4 in the absence of Rodgers, may need to run the table in hopes of securing a postseason berth. They will be at Carolina (9-4) on Sunday, host the Minnesota Vikings (10-3) and then finish at the Detroit Lions (7-6).

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who signed a five-year contract extension last week, intends to retire at the completion of his new deal in 2024.

Spokesman Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs, confirmed at league winter meeting in Irving, Texas.

The 58-year-old Goodell plans to work with NFL owners to identify and have his successor in place by the time he steps away in seven years, Lockhart said.

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FILE PHOTO: Commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Former NFL running back Larry Johnson said in an interview he believes he suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease known as CTE.

CTE, which doctors say can be caused by repeated blows to the head, only can be diagnosed after death.

The 38-year-old Johnson, who last played in the NFL in 2011, told the Washington Post he is convinced he is living with CTE as he battles self-destructive impulses in what he calls “the demons.” Johnson described multiple symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, intense headaches, the jitters, mood swings, violence and forgetfulness, which he calls “Blank spots.”

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Pete Brown, the Cincinnati Bengals’ senior vice president of player personnel and co-founder of the team in the mid-1960s along with his brother Mike and father Paul Brown, died Tuesday. He was 74.

Pete Brown was a successful football player at Dennison University, after which he helped form the Bengals and then led the club’s player personnel department for many decades. Funeral services will be private, according to the team.

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Tommy Nobis, the first player drafted by the expansion Atlanta Falcons, died Wednesday. He was 74.

The team said he died at his suburban Atlanta home after an extended illness with his wife, Lynn, at his side.

Nobis starred on both sides of the line at the University of Texas, winning the Maxwell Award as the best all-around player in college football and the Outland Trophy as the top lineman. He was selected first overall by the Falcons in the 1966 NFL draft and fifth overall by the AFL’s Houston Oilers. Nobis elected to play for Atlanta, and was affectionately known as “Mr. Falcon” by the team.

Slideshow (4 Images)

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The New England Patriots officially signed veteran wide receiver Kenny Britt, giving quarterback Tom Brady a taller, bigger target.

Britt, a veteran wide receiver who was waived by the Cleveland Browns last Friday, visited with the Patriots on Tuesday in Foxborough, Mass. The new deal is reportedly for two years.

The Patriots re-signed defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois. To make room on the roster, the Patriots released linebacker Jonathan Freeny and wide receiver Bernard Reedy. New England also placed offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (ankle) on injured reserve.

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The Denver Broncos placed safety Justin Simmons on injured reserve, the team announced.

Simmons sustained an ankle injury while celebrating the strip-sack of teammate Brandon Marshall in Sunday’s rout of the New York Jets.

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Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has cleared concussion protocol, coach Doug Pederson said.

Ertz, sustained a concussion during a loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 3.

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The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Max McCaffrey from the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad.

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