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Shanahan's future up in air

ASHBURN, Va. -- Mike Shanahan, still for now the coach of the Washington Redskins, made a surprising reversal Monday and said he might bench a "100 per cent" healthy Robert Griffin III for the rest of the season to keep the quarterback from getting hurt.

Shanahan essentially declared it might be more beneficial for Griffin to get off-season snaps in May rather than game experience over the next three weeks. The coach, for the first time, then explicitly left open the possibility that he might not return next year, saying his future will be decided after he meets with owner Dan Snyder at the end of the season.

Shanahan's departure appears more likely than ever after the Redskins (3-10) were embarrassed 45-10 by the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, a fifth straight loss that ensures a third season of double-digit losses in the coach's four seasons in Washington.

"You always want to come back. I love these guys," Shanahan said. "What'll happen at the end of the season, we'll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide -- he'll make the final decision on what's the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I'll give my opinion and what I think, and obviously he'll make the final decision."

 

F1 changes the rules

PARIS -- Formula One will award double points for the last race of the season starting next year. In another rule change, drivers will be given permanent numbers.

The governing body of motorsport said Monday doubling the points for drivers and teams in the last race on the calendar will "maximize focus on the championship until the end" as it becomes less likely the title will already be decided.

This year, Sebastian Vettel clinched his fourth straight driver title with three races to go.

Drivers will be allowed to choose a number to put on their cars for their entire career. Under the current system, last year's team placings determine the numbers. The reigning champion will still be given No. 1.

And starting in 2015, a cost cap for teams will be introduced.

 

Gronk out again

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots placed tight end Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve Monday with a damaged right knee.

Gronkowski was hurt midway through the third quarter of the Patriots' 27-26 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday when he was hit on the knee by safety T.J. Ward after a 21-yard reception.

Gronkowski missed the first six games this season after forearm and back surgeries and the Patriots went 5-1. In the next six games, he led all NFL tight ends with 37 catches and 560 yards receiving. They were 4-2 in those games, but the offence was much more productive.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that experience without Gronkowski could help.

"I'd like to think there's going to be some carry-over there, not only (from) the first six weeks of the season, but the entire training camp as well," he said. "That's the way we practised and played most of the year, including the pre-season games and that's what, 10 games? So, it was great to have him back and he was, obviously, a big contributor for us."

Gronkowski caught touchdown passes in the last four games. On Sunday, he had two catches for 32 yards.

 

Welker likely out Thursday

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Wes Welker is unlikely to suit up for Denver's game Thursday against San Diego after leaving Sunday's win over Tennessee with his second concussion in four games.

Speaking to reporters Monday, coach John Fox didn't rule out his receiver but said Welker's health is the top priority and he would go through the standard NFL protocol for players who have endured concussions.

"The league is pretty strict," Fox said. "We're obviously concerned with any player's health, whatever that is."

Though there are no hard-and-fast guidelines for returning, the best-case scenario for players who pass their post-concussion tests early in the week is to return to light practise Thursday, full practise Friday and be listed as probable for the game. This is his second concussion since Nov. 17.

 

Raptors trade forward

TORONTO, Ontario -- Rudy Gay's brief time with the Toronto Raptors has come to an end.

The Raptors confirmed Monday the 27-year-old small forward, along with centre Aaron Gray and forward Quincy Acy, have been traded to the Sacramento Kings.

The Raptors receive guards John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez, forward Patrick Patterson and centre Chuck Hayes in return.

The move will free up significant cap space for the Raptors.

The 6-8, 230-pound Gay was the Raptors' highest paid player with a contract that pays him US$17.8 million this season with a $19.3-million player option for next season.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 10, 2013 D6

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