Bradford, Rodgers sharp in debuts, but Packers win

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All of those months of injury rehab paid off for Sam Bradford, who showed no sign of a season-ending knee injury last November.


Aaron Rodgers looked pretty polished, too.


Bradford and Rodgers each threw a touchdown pass in their preseason debuts in the Green Bay Packers’ 21-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams Saturday.


Michael Sam played in the second half and got his first sack of the preseason, dropping Matt Flynn for a 10-yard loss in the fourth quarter to force a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. Sam had a tackle earlier in that series and totaled two quarterback hits.


Rodgers was 11-for-13 for 128 yards and a 3-yard score to Randall Cobb.


Bradford, who said weeks ago that the left knee was no longer a concern, was 9-for-12 for 101 yards and an 11-yard touchdown to Lance Kendricks.


“It was nothing new, I’ve been here before,” Bradford said. “I think for everyone else it’s probably a bigger deal for me to get back out on the field.”


Eddie Lacy had five carries for 25 yards on the Packers’ 12-play, 86-yard drive to start the game.


Sam, the seventh-round pick is the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, is likely competing with undrafted Ethan Westbrooks for a backup spot.


Holmes signs with Bears: A person familiar with the situation said former Super Bowl MVP receiver Santonio Holmes agreed to a contract with the Chicago Bears.


The person spoke Saturday on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.


The Bears are looking for a third receiver behind stars Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Marquess Wilson was battling for that job when he broke his collarbone last week. A first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2006, Holmes was the Super Bowl MVP in his third year. He had his best season statistically the following year in 2009 with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns. But he was traded to the New York Jets the following offseason.


Manziel working through rookie pitfalls: Johnny Manziel, so full of swagger and cool, understands his limitations. He’s only a rookie.


And as the celebrity quarterback prepares for Cleveland’s exhibition Monday night in Washington, a game that could decide whether he or Brian Hoyer starts the season opener at Pittsburgh Sept. 7, Manziel acknowledged he’s still got a lot to learn.


“I don’t think I’m ready for Pittsburgh right now,” he said.


Manziel, though, was quick to point out that he’s made progress during training camp, and he expects to get better running Cleveland’s offense.


“I’ve only played one game, but the more and more you see it, the more you get familiar with it, the better it will be,” Manziel said after practice Saturday.


Manziel and Hoyer will split time with Cleveland’s first-team offense against the Redskins in a game being hyped as a nationally televised matchup between Johnny Football and RG3, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III.


Hoyer, who entered camp as the No. 1 QB and has done nothing to lose his starting job, was unaware that he’s not part of the ratings campaign.


“I don’t watch ESPN,” he said. “It doesn’t matter, because what matters is what coach (Mike) Pettine thinks and what (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) thinks. The media can make any story they want. I avoid all of that. When it comes down to it, they’re not the ones making the decisions.”


The Hoyer-Manziel competition is nearing its conclusion, and it’s still not clear if Pettine and his staff are leaning in one direction.


Pettine is determined to get his two QBs an even amount of snaps against the Redskins. Pettine said he’ll reach out to Washington coach Jay Gruden to find out his plans to use his starters so he can ensure that Hoyer and Manziel face similar competition.


“If we have to make some adjustments to get the matchups we want then we will,” Pettine said.


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