Seahawks plan to start Whitehurst

RENTON, Wash. — Charlie Whitehurst is expected to be Seattle's starting quarterback on Sunday when the Seahawks play the St. Louis Rams for the NFC West title.

Pete Carroll said Monday the Seahawks will plan on Whitehurst being their starter. But he wasn't ready to rule out Matt Hasselbeck after he left Sunday's 38-15 loss to Tampa Bay after running for a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Hasselbeck suffered a strain to his lower back/hip/gluteal area that did not allow him to return.

Hasselbeck underwent an MRI and additional tests Monday morning and the results were positive enough that Carroll remained somewhat optimistic.

"It's something (that) it may be manageable. It may be," Carroll said. "The MRI results were not such where he doesn't have a chance. They were very hopeful that he has an opportunity to get back, but we won't know for days. So it's kind of a difficult situation for us because we don't know and we're not sure what is going to happen until we find out the news probably by Saturday, or it may go all the way to game time."


San Francisco team president and CEO Jed York is turning to his uncle, former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., for advice on how to fix the underachieving franchise.

DeBartolo will serve as a consultant in the process of finding a general manager, and York also plans to talk to Patriots president Jonathan Kraft about what works so well for New England. Only after a GM is in place will a new coach be hired, and there's no timetable. Jim Tomsula will coach the 49ers for all of a week, and his bosses have said they expect him to win.

The promoted defensive line coach took charge of the downtrodden team Monday, a day after the 49ers fired Mike Singletary late Sunday upon returning to team headquarters following a 25-17 loss at St. Louis that eliminated San Francisco from playoff contention. Also fired were pass rush specialist coach Al Harris and inside linebackers coach Vantz Singletary, the former coach's nephew.

York said he had considered the coaching change in recent weeks.

"Obviously we had expectations of being a playoff-caliber team this year. Whether we were a 7-9 division winner or not didn't matter to me," York said. "I wanted to make sure that the San Francisco 49ers had an opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl, which I felt like we had every expectation to do that. When that was not realized, I wanted to make sure we were setting ourselves up for the remainder of the season but more importantly for next season. And when we look at next season, there are a lot of things that are uncertain — the labor issues. I'm not sure when our players are going to be back next season, so I wanted to make sure we didn't have a coaching turnover, coaching change going into that."

San Francisco (5-10), which hasn't had a winning record since its last trip to the postseason in 2002, finishes the season at home Sunday against last-place Arizona.


Jon Kitna will be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in their finale Sunday if his strained abdominal muscle heals enough.

It probably won't, though, so second-year reserve Stephen McGee is likely to make his first career start.

Coach Jason Garrett said Monday the Cowboys still believed Kitna gave them their best chance to beat Philadelphia. He's gone 4-5 since replacing Tony Romo.

McGee made his NFL debut Saturday night after Kitna strained an abdominal muscle while throwing a touchdown pass during the second quarter against Arizona. McGee rallied the Cowboys from an 11-point deficit to a late lead, only to see Dallas lose in the final seconds.


While the Minnesota Vikings ate cheesesteaks and acted like tourists, the Philadelphia Eagles savored a division title they clinched from their couches.

Both teams had to wait another day to play the first NFL game on a Tuesday in 64 years.

The Vikings-Eagles game was switched from Sunday night to tonight because of a winter storm before any snow had even accumulated. About a foot of snow fell on Philadelphia, though less than 5 inches was on the ground before the scheduled kickoff at 8:20 p.m. EST.

By Monday morning, it was bright and sunny at Lincoln Financial Field. But the league had already postponed the game because of the uncertainty of the forecast.

On Monday, the Eagles held their typical walkthrough a day before a game, then checked into a team hotel. The Vikings took the field first for a workout at the Eagles' practice facility and returned to their downtown hotel.

Many players thought the game should have been played Sunday night. So did Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who said Vince Lombardi would be "mocking us" for the postponement.

This will be the 23rd NFL game played on a Tuesday. The New York Giants beat the Boston Yanks 17-0 on Oct. 1, 1946, in the last one.


The disappointment of Green Bay just won't go away for the New York Giants.

Not only did they lose control of their playoff hopes with a 45-17 loss to the Packers, the Giants were stuck in Wisconsin for a second straight day when their charter was unable to make it to New Jersey following a major storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in the state.

Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said Monday evening the team planned to leave early this morning.

A disappointed coach Tom Coughlin addressed his players at their Appleton, Wis., hotel Monday morning and told them turnovers cost teams games and that the Giants (9-6) still had a chance to make the playoffs, provided they get help.

They must beat the Redskins in Washington on Sunday and hope that Chicago can knock off the Packers in Green Bay.

"There is a chance and we do have to have a little bit of help but there is a chance," Coughlin said in a late afternoon conference call from the hotel. "That's the incentive for us to regroup and try to put together the kind of game we can be proud of."

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