McNabb surprised by latest benching

Posted: October 20, 2011

MINNESOTA Vikings coach Leslie Frazier officially announced that rookie Christian Ponder will start on Sunday, a move that surprised veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Frazier said the decision was based solely on what gives the team the best chance to win.

"I know I have a lot of football left in me," McNabb said. "He is the head coach and decisions are made. At this particular point, it's for me to continue to prepare and make sure that we continue to support Christian and make sure that he's ready. But most important for me, is to prepare because I'm just one play from going back in. Just make sure I'm ready when called upon and try to lead us to victory."

Leading the team to victory has been a problem for McNabb as the Vikings are 1-5. With the Vikings coming off a 39-10 loss at Chicago, the only person who seemed surprised was McNabb.

Ponder joins Carolina's Cam Newton, Cincinnati's Andy Dalton and Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert as rookie starting QBs.

Noteworthy

* Terrell Owens is ready to return to the NFL. The veteran wide receiver has been rehabilitating a left knee injury that required surgery. He is a free agent and agent Drew Rosenhaus says he will begin contacting teams immediately to let them know Owens is healthy. Rosenhaus said Owens could play Sunday.

*  The Carolina Panthers have placed former first-round draft pick and starting right tackle Jeff Otah on injured reserve for the third time in four seasons.

*  Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel is ready to make his NFL debut Sunday at New Orleans. He is expected to work from Indianapolis' coaches' booth and will advise head coach Jim Caldwell about replay reviews.

*  The players' union has told the NFL to hold off collecting blood for HGH testing, and the league isn't happy about it. The league was preparing to draw the blood samples beginning Monday, although full testing for HGH was not yet scheduled.

"We are disappointed in the union's response," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

* A coroner's report says former Buffalo Bills center Kent Hull died of intestinal bleeding.

* St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford did not practice while getting treatment for a high left ankle sprain, increasing the likelihood journeyman and former Eagle A.J. Feeley will get the call Sunday at Dallas.

* Daniel Rago, who was arrested at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill., after police said he slapped Bears receiver/returner Devin Hester on the back of the head, has apologized.

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