The Green Bay Packers traded cornerback Mike McKenzie and a conditional draft choice to the New Orleans Saints yesterday for reserve quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and a second-round pick next year.
The Packers and McKenzie never resolved their differences even after McKenzie, tired of missing his weekly paycheck of more than $161,000, ended a holdout and reported to the team after its season-opening victory at Carolina. He was on the Packers' inactive list for each of their last two games with what was described as a hamstring injury, and there was growing suspicion in the organization that McKenzie really wasn't hurt badly and didn't want to risk damaging his trade value by getting re-injured or playing poorly. "I think we did everything to try to make it work,'' Packers Coach Mike Sherman said during a news conference. "It wasn't working. So we move on.''
The Saints had been trying to trade for McKenzie for weeks but didn't want to meet the Packers' original asking price of a first-round draft choice and perhaps more. They did part with O'Sullivan, who played well in NFL Europe last season and is highly regarded by some talent evaluators around the league.
The Packers are in their first three-game losing streak under Sherman, their fifth-year coach. Quarterback Brett Favre was knocked from last Sunday's loss to the New York Giants at Lambeau Field with a concussion after extending his string of consecutive regular season starts to 193, an NFL record for a quarterback. He has failed to finish his last two games, but Sherman said he expects Favre to practice by Thursday and start Monday night against Tennessee.
"He's been looked at by the doctors and they feel pretty confident he's ready to go,'' said Sherman, who indicated that veteran backup quarterback Doug Pederson underwent an MRI exam yesterday for a lower back injury suffered Sunday.
Bennett Has Surgery
Minnesota tailback Michael Bennett underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday to repair a torn meniscus. Bennett, who has been sidelined since hurting his knee in the preseason, will miss two more games. His replacement, Onterrio Smith, is scheduled to have his appeal of his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy heard this week. Smith has been playing while his appeal is pending.
Meantime, nine Vikings have been fined for their roles in a scuffle with the Chicago Bears on Sept. 26.
In addition to a $5,000 fine levied against Randy Moss, the other fines totaled $23,500. Wide receiver Nate Burleson, who absorbed the hit from Bears safety Todd Johnson that sparked the shoving matches, was fined $7,500 for removing a Chicago player's helmet.
Six other Vikings -- center Cory Withrow, tight end Sean Berton, quarterback Daunte Culpepper, wide receiver Keenan Howry, guard Chris Liwienski and tackle Bryant McKinnie -- were fined $2,500 each for "entering the area" of the altercation. Smith was fined $1,000.
Johnson was not among six Bears players fined $2,500 each: cornerbacks R.W. McQuarters and Todd McMillon; linebacker Lance Briggs; defensive tackles Tommie Harris and Ian Scott; and safety Cameron Worrell. McQuarters was fined an additional $5,000 for unsportsmanlike conduct on a separate play. . . . The 49ers will be without cornerback Mike Rumph, who broke his arm Sunday night, for six to 12 weeks. . . . Tampa Bay kickoff returner Frank Murphy ruptured his left Achilles' tendon against the Denver Broncos and will have season-ending surgery.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.