NFL news: Aaron Rodgers cleared to return, Texans to interview Bill O'Brien

Mike McGinnis

The Packers got the injury news they'd been waiting for while the Texans will interview Bill O'Brien.

After missing seven games, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers was medically cleared on Thursday, just in time for the Packers' winner-take-all matchup against Chicago on Sunday.

With a win, the Packers will clinch the NFC North and host a playoff game next week. Green Bay went just 2-4-1 without Rodgers and 2-5-1 if you include game Rodgers was injured in, where he suffered the left collarbone injury on the first drive of the game against the Bears in Week 9 landing awkwardly on the shoulder when sacked. It was a long road back for Rodgers, who practiced on a limited basis for weeks while waiting for medical clearance.

Green Bay likely wouldn't need a Week 17 win to clinch the division had Rodgers not got hurt, but it could be worse. The Packers are fortunate to control their own destiny after losing to Pittsburgh last week. Matt Flynn will return to the bench. He went 2-2 as the starter, keeping the Packers in contention.

It's safe to say Packers fans are happy. Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company saying Christmas came a day late for Green Bay.

Texans will interview Bill O'Brien

Houston's coaching search continues, and the Texans will reportedly interview Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien. O'Brien has been a sought-after candidate, and he interviewed for two jobs last season before opting to stay at PSU.

Whether O'Brien would leave this year remains to be seen. His contract at Penn State runs through 2016 and includes a $6.48 million buyout. O'Brien has NFL ties and spent five seasons as an assistant with New England, including one year as the offensive coordinator. He's received considerable praise for his success with the Nittany Lions despite severe scholarship restrictions.

An offensive coach, O'Brien could be an excellent fit for Houston, especially if the Texans plan on using their first-round pick on a potential franchise quarterback.

Nnamdi Asomugha will retire

Once thought to be the best corner in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha will sign with the Oakland Raiders on Friday and announce his retirement. The four-time All Pro will retire after 11 seasons in the NFL, eight of which came with Oakland. He was widely regarded as the top corner in the league at one point before his career faded when he left the Raiders.

He signed a $60 million deal with the Eagles, but struggled in Philadelphia and was released after two seasons. He then signed a one-year deal with San Francisco this season and was released midway through the season. He finishes his career with 356 tackles and 15 interceptions.

Brandon Stokley to retire

Brandon Stokley's season ended early due a concussion and as it turns out, the wide receiver has played his final NFL game. The 15-year veteran is going to retire after the season.

Stokley finishes his career with nearly 400 receptions, more than 5,300 receiving yards and two Super Bowl rings. Baltimore selected him in the fourth round of the 1999 draft, and he caught a 38-yard touchdown in the Ravens' Super Bowl victory in 2000. He signed with Indianapolis and played a slot receiver role alongside Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. He won his second Super Bowl ring, this one with the Colts, in 2006.

He bounced around the league during his final seven seasons -- including two stints with Denver -- before landing back with the Ravens this season.

Josh McCown considering retirement

Josh McCown played well enough in relief duty this season to secure a backup job somewhere next year, but he may opt to retire instead. McCown -- who posted a 109.0 passer rating in 2013 -- said he wants to spend more time with his family.

His family has been forced to commute between Chicago and the family home in North Carolina this season. The 34-year-old said he may retire if the family decides against moving. McCown is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this season and would likely draw significant interest on the open market. It's possible he could sign with a team closer to home. Based on deals for other top backup quarterbacks, McCown might find a deal in the $2 to $3 million range next season.

Keenan Allen thought about quitting the NFL

After starring in high school and three years at California, Keenan Allen found himself on the sidelines early in his NFL career and it wasn't an easy adjustment. Allen had such a hard time dealing with not playing that he considered quitting the NFL and going back to school.

"After I didn't play after that first game, I was about another snap away of not playing from quitting," Allen said, according to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken.

An injury opened up an opportunity for Allen, however, and he took advantage. He has 66 receptions and 957 receiving yards heading into Week 17, making him a top candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Allen said he was so frustrated by not playing that he called his mother and told her he was about to quit. He stuck it out, however, and eventually grew into a role he's more accustomed too.

Richard Wade of Bolts From the Blue suggests Allen was being hyperbolic about quitting, but does question whether the revelation causes some concern:

It seems unlikely, though, that the kind of guy who's so competitive he can't stand the idea of sitting on the bench one more play could possibly walk away from the challenge of working his way onto the field and proving that he should have been there all along. It's not impossible, though, and it has to raise some concerns about how he'll react to a tough stretch of games if you think he was ready to actually walk away once.

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