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BBAO: Stafford and the injury-prone label

We're Black and Blue All Over:

As we noted Monday, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is on pace to miss the 12th start of his career because of injury Sunday. In a radio appearance, Stafford addressed his inability to stay on the field since entering the league.

Stafford (via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press): "I don't think anybody's injury prone. I think it happens to some people. It doesn't happen to others for whatever reason. I know that I do everything to prepare my body and get my body ready for every game. For one reason or another, I've had injuries in the last couple of years. I've never missed a game in college or high school due to an injury. I guess it's bound to happen at some point. I hate that it's happening now. It's not something I like, something that I expect to be an issue long-term. ... I hope to make it out of the rest of this year without another one and move on from there and have a bunch of years where I'm playing all 16 games and hopefully more in the playoffs."

Obviously, the Lions hope that's the case. And there have been cases in NFL history of quarterbacks whose careers were delayed by early injuries. One of the most-discussed instances is former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who fought through various ailments during the first four years of his career before finally becoming a 16-game starter in his fifth.

Simms played during a more patient era of the NFL, however. These days, highly-drafted quarterbacks are expected to start immediately and excel relatively quickly. Stafford hasn't given himself a chance to do the latter.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com reports that initial tests showed Stafford had a Grade 3 separation of his right shoulder. If further tests prove that to be the case, it's unlikely he'll play again this season.

  • Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News: "Is Stafford injury-prone? By definition, yes he is, so far. Sorry. That's not a knock on his toughness. It's factual, partly the fluky fate of football, and it certainly makes it more difficult for the Lions to count on their promising franchise quarterback."

  • Lions coach Jim Schwartz is taking the blame for a play call that ultimately gave the New York Jets enough time to tie the game in regulation last Sunday, notes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit News.

  • Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is displaying a knack for the big play, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler reacted well to pressure Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, writes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.

  • Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com takes a midseason review of the Bears.

  • Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson had this to say about the release of cornerback Al Harris, via Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal: "It was very difficult. Al's a great guy, a really good teammate and he's done a really good job here. It's not a reflection against Al, it's more of a reflection of the job that our young guys have done. And from a roster standpoint, that's just something we felt like we needed to do."

  • Of the decision, Harris said (via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel): "I guess they feel I'm not good enough to play on their team. That was shocking. They really caught me off guard with this one."

  • Packers players will have the entire week off from practice ahead of their bye, notes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • Packers safety Nick Collins on his $50,000 fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Dallas Cowboys receiver Roy Williams, via ESPNMilwaukee.com: "We’re going to have to adjust. It’s going to be difficult. But we are professionals. It’s not going to be easy. You’ve been taught from high school, college until now, you want to separate your receiver from the ball. You’re not trying to lead with your head, but you’re also taught to hit the guy with your face up. We’re not out there to try to hurt anybody. Unfortunately, people are coming up with these concussions left and right, and it’s a sensitive issue. I just don’t know how this is going to play out."

  • Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com evaluates the tape of the Minnesota Vikings' 27-24 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the NFL's appeal to the Williams Wall case. Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press details the next step in the legal journey.

  • It's possible that Vikings receiver Sidney Rice (hip) will return to the active roster in time to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears, notes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.