The New York Giants' Michael Strahan will have to wait until next year to take the field again, while New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington is hoping to return in a couple of weeks.
Strahan, the NFL's all-time single-season sacks leader, tore a pectoral muscle on his right side while attempting a tackle in the third quarter of the Giants' 28-21 loss to the Chicago Bears and will be lost for the season.
Pennington was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills when he was hit by London Fletcher and Nate Clements after a 12-yard gain and fumbled. He kept playing, but his arm started to stiffen and he left the game in the fourth quarter after his last two drives ended with an interception and a 13-yard sack.
He will be out two-to-four weeks with a strained right rotator cuff, leaving former Cowboys starter Quincy Carter to handle the offense.
"It could definitely be worse," Pennington said. "You see quarterbacks fall like that all the time, and they break their collarbone or dislocate their shoulder."
A sprintout in the third quarter on which Pennington was pressured and knocked to the ground by defensive end Chris Kelsay aggravated the injury.
"I really landed on the shoulder hard, harder than when I fumbled," Pennington said.
Not only did the Giants (5-3) lose the six-time Pro Bowl player and cornerstone of their defense, they also lost their other starting defensive end, Keith Washington, for the season with a knee injury.
Strahan is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday. He was not available for comment.
Strahan was hurt early in the third quarter, reaching out to tackle Anthony Thomas. When the Bears' running back cut inside, Strahan's right arm bent back. He walked off the field with his arm hanging down.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin called the injury a shame.
"On the field, our players look to him for inspiration," he said. "Actions inspire. What the average person doesn't see is what a leader Michael is in the locker room and in the weight room when nobody is watching."
Pennington had an MRI exam Monday then started rehabbing immediately to regain the strength in his arm.
TV deal gets extended
NEW YORK -- The NFL agreed Monday to $8 billion in contract extensions with Fox and CBS to televise Sunday afternoon games for six more years.
The current eight-year contract, which expires after the 2005 season, was worth $17.6 billion, including the Sunday night (on ESPN) and Monday night (on ABC) packages. The extensions will run through 2011 and represent a 25 percent increase in rights fees.
The league still is in talks for the prime-time packages. A unique aspect of the extensions -- and something commissioner Paul Tagliabue has sought for several years -- gives the NFL the option to move seven late-season games from Sunday to Monday night to feature more attractive matchups.
The exclusive negotiating period for ABC/ESPN extends for nearly another year.
Around the league
* Byron Leftwich's sprained left knee was re-evaluated, and doctors determined there was no need for surgery. But the Jacksonville quarterback will remain in a brace and on crutches this week, and likely miss two games..
* Priest Holmes has strained ligaments in his right knee and might not be able to play for the Kansas City Chiefs next week at New Orleans.