Hasselbeck still Seattle's No. 1 QB, according to Carroll

RENTON, Wash. — Pete Carroll spent part of Monday just watching.

The Seahawks coach wanted to see how Matt Hasselbeck reacted in meetings to the blunt criticism of all the mistakes he's made recently. Then Carroll sat down with Hasselbeck to make certain he was in the right state mentally after having been booed off the field less than 24 hours earlier.

With a division title still obtainable — even at 6-8 — Carroll decided he's going to stick with his veteran quarterback instead of making a change to unproven backup Charlie Whitehurst.

"We're going with Matt. Matt's been our quarterback, he's given us a chance all throughout, the best chance to finish off right and I'm excited in that sense he's going to pull this thing together," Carroll said Monday afternoon. "We've got to play well around him. We've got to take care of the quarterback in all ways, protection-wise, running the football, we need to play better on defense so it's not all tuned where the focus is to one guy and people can try and point the finger."


Terrell Owens decided to have knee surgery Monday, ending his revival season with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The receiver tore cartilage in his left knee two weeks ago, but kept playing. He aggravated the injury while making a cut on the opening series of a 19-17 win over Cleveland on Sunday, forcing him to hobble off the field.

Owens flew to Birmingham, Ala., on Monday and was examined by Dr. James Andrews. The 37-year-old Owens was scheduled for surgery later in the day.

Owens signed a one-year deal with a $2 million base salary at the start of training camp, when the Bengals were one of the few teams interested. He proved he could still play, leading the team with 72 catches for 983 yards and nine TDs.


Mark Sanchez beat the Pittsburgh Steelers with a sore shoulder.

Coach Rex Ryan said the New York Jets quarterback had an MRI exam Monday on his right shoulder, which was "kind of sore" after it was banged up early in the team's 22-17 win Sunday. Ryan downplayed the MRI, saying it was strictly "precautionary," and Sanchez should be fine to play at Chicago next Sunday.

Ryan said Sanchez banged up the shoulder during the Jets' second drive.


The return of Tony Romo remains on hold.

Since Romo broke his left collarbone Oct. 25, the Dallas Cowboys have pointed toward having him back in the lineup this week. However, team owner Jerry Jones said Sunday he was not optimistic and Monday interim coach Jason Garrett was very noncommittal.

"We'll just see how he does tomorrow, see how he feels," Garrett said.


The Indianapolis Colts may have to make their final playoff push without receiver Austin Collie.

Less than 24 hours after Collie left his third game in seven weeks with a head injury, coach Jim Caldwell said he didn't know when — or if — one of their top play-makers would return this season.

"We lean totally upon those who are in charge," Caldwell said, referring to the doctors. "Here's the thing. There's not a coach that makes any decision based on anybody who has a concussion. Once he's cleared and ready to go, that's the case."

The second-year receiver was injured late in the first half Sunday when Jacksonville linebacker Daryl Smith appeared to hit Collie in the head with his forearm as Collie went low to make a catch.

Unfortunately for Collie, it's been a recurring theme.

Since the second half of a Nov. 7 game at Philadelphia, Collie has played in only three quarters, leaving games twice with diagnosed concussions and a third time with what the team described as "concussion-like symptoms." Caldwell couldn't say definitively whether the third instance was considered a full-blown concussion.


Browns cornerback Eric Wright will miss Cleveland's final two games with a left leg injury.

Wright got hurt in Sunday's 19-17 loss at Cincinnati. Coach Eric Mangini said Wright won't play again this season for the Browns (5-9), who will host Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Mangini does not know if the four-year veteran will need surgery.

Wright was already battling a knee injury when he got hurt. Wright, who lost his starting job a few weeks ago to rookie Joe Haden, couldn't put any pressure on his leg as he was helped off the field but was later walking around on the sideline.

He was expected to undergo an MRI on Monday.

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