Football

NFL notes: Bengals' Green gains Pro Bowl in rookie year

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (9) slapped hands with running back Darren Sproles after throwing a TD pass in the fourth quarter Monday against Atlanta. Brees later broke Dan Marino's all-time season passing mark as the Saints won 45-16. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees (9) slapped hands with running back Darren Sproles after throwing a TD pass in the fourth quarter Monday against Atlanta. Brees later broke Dan Marino's all-time season passing mark as the Saints won 45-16. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) AP

Three days after he broke Cris Collinsworth's club rookie record with 1,031 yards, A.J. Green completed the Collinsworth double with a berth in the Jan. 29 Pro Bowl as the only Cincinnati Bengal voted to the AFC team.

With quarterback Andy Dalton selected as first alternate, the NFL's most productive rookie quarterback-receiver combo of the past decade may well be headed for a Hawaiian reunion.

Green is the first rookie receiver voted to the Pro Bowl since the 2003 season, when Anquan Boldin of the Arizona Cardinals made the list. Green has played in 14 of Cincinnati's 15 games, missing one because of injury, and he leads the team in receptions (63), receiving yards (1,031) and touchdowns (seven). He leads the NFL this season in catches of 35 or more yards (11).

"I'm thrilled; it's a team honor," Green said. "I was surprised when Coach (Marvin) Lewis called to tell me. But it says a lot about my teammates and my coaches and the positions they put me in to make plays."

Around the league

Saints: A day after Drew Brees broke the NFL's single-season passing record, Coach Sean Payton wouldn't divulge whether he'd let his star quarterback maintain that distinction.

With 5,087 yards passing this season after Monday night's victory over Atlanta, Brees enters the final week of the season 190 yards ahead of New England's Tom Brady. Yet the Saints' regular-season finale may not matter in terms of playoff seeding, meaning the prudent choice for Payton could be to rest Brees for much of Sunday's game against Carolina.

The Patriots, by contrast, need to beat Buffalo to ensure they'll have the top seed in the AFC, and Brady has proven that he can put up a lot of yards in a single game.

"I'm not really aware of the space between the two. I am probably better off not knowing," Payton said Tuesday.

■ Jim Lippincott, the Bengals' director of football operations, announced he's retiring. Lippincott, who first joined the team in 1992 in scouting and personnel, will remain active in football by returning to Cincinnati's Moeller High School as defensive coordinator, resuming his longtime association with the school.

49ers: Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, a disappointment during an injury-plagued year in San Francisco's resurgent season was released, three months after undergoing surgery on his right knee that limited him.

Edwards had 15 catches for 181 yards and no touchdowns in eight games with five starts for the NFC West champion 49ers (12-3) after receiving a $3.5 million, one-year contract in August.

Bears: Quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte were placed on injured reserve, meaning they will miss the season finale at Minnesota this week.

The Bears (7-8) have lost five straight since Cutler broke his right thumb late in a win over San Diego on Nov. 20, and two weeks later Forte sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Kansas City.

Steelers: Coach Mike Tomlin said injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey both have "a shot" to play in Sunday's regular season finale at Cleveland.

Packers: The team has sold nearly 250,000 shares of stock in the team and will offer 30,000 more shares.

Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy says support for the sale has been "outstanding." The NFL's only publicly owned team is selling shares for $250 each, which means the team has raised about $62 million. Proceeds will go toward a $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field. The team put the shares on sale Dec. 6.

■ Former UK star Randall Cobb has been named an alternate to the Pro Bowl.

Redskins: In 2008, then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan selected running back Ryan Torain out of Arizona State in the fifth round. He flashed talent as a rookie but got hurt. In 2010, when Shanahan made his return to coaching Washington, he signed Torain as a free agent. But Washington waived Torain on Tuesday.

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