49ers ‘nervous’ about RB McKinnon’s knee injury in practice

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has hurt his knee in practice and could be facing a serious injury.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Saturday that McKinnon got hurt in his first day of team drills since injuring his right calf Aug. 9. McKinnon will undergo an MRI and Shanahan said the team is “nervous” about his outlook.

The 49ers were counting heavily on McKinnon this season after signing him to a four-year, $30 million contract in free agency. The 49ers now have three healthy running backs on the roster in Matt Breida, Alfred Morris and Raheem Mostert.

McKinnon spent four years mostly as a backup in Minnesota. He has rushed for 1,918 yards with an average of 4.0 yards per carry, has 142 catches for 984 yards, and has scored 12 touchdowns.

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Cardinals WR Fitzgerald to return in 2019

Cardinals WR Fitzgerald to return in 2019

Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals WR Fitzgerald to return in 2019

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald plans to play in 2019.

Fitzgerald signed a one-year deal with the team, ending speculation about his status under his third head coach in as many seasons.

“No player has meant more to this franchise or this community than Larry Fitzgerald,” team president Michael Bidwill said. “In my discussions with him, it was clear that he is as driven and passionate as ever. We are thrilled he’ll be back for 2019.”

Fitzgerald committed to playing the 2018 season last February, but it turned out to be a tough year in Arizona. The Cardinals finished the season with an NFL-worst 3-13 record, and head coach Steve Wilks was fired.

New head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he hoped Fitzgerald, 35, would return.

“I’ll leave it to these guys who write the checks,” Kingsbury told reporters during his introductory press conference. “Like I said, what a great role model, what a great leader to have on your team, and I would be honored and love to work with him. He’s a guy that I’ve admired from afar for a long time, and I think we all hope that he’ll be back.”

The Cardinals took Fitzgerald with the No. 3 overall selection of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he’s put together a Hall of Fame career. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, he is first among active players in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

On the career list, he ranks second behind Jerry Rice for yards and is third, trailing Rice and Tony Gonzalez, in receptions. He needs 23 catches to pass Gonzalez on the list.

In 2018, he appeared in all 16 games and caught 69 passes for 734 yards and six touchdowns.

Fitzgerald turns 36 in August.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Chiefs eye Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

Report: Chiefs eye Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

Former St. Louis

Report: Chiefs eye Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator

Former St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo is the leading candidate to replace Bob Sutton as the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.

The Chiefs fired Sutton on Tuesday, two days after their overtime loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game.

Spagnuolo was out of the NFL in 2018 after serving as interim head coach of the New York Giants for the last four games of the 2017 season, posting a 1-3 record after Ben McAdoo was fired. He compiled a 10-38 record in three seasons as head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2009-11).

Spagnuolo, 59, served on Kansas City head coach Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia from 1999-2006. He climbed the ladder from defensive assistant to defensive backs coach to linebackers coach with the Eagles.

According to Schefter, Spagnuolo and Reid have the same agent and “a mutual respect for each other’s work.”

Spagnuolo has been a defensive coordinator with the Giants (2007-08, 2015-17) and New Orleans Saints (2012). He also spent two years as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens (2013-14).

–Field Level Media

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The Alliance: Polian preaches opportunity in start-up football league

The Alliance: Polian preaches opportunity in start-up football league

The Alliance: Polian preaches opportunity in start-up football league

When The Alliance of American Football opened training camp Jan. 4 in San Antonio, there were mountains of work to accomplish in the 37 days until the season-opening weekend.

Standing before nearly 600 players, head of football operations and co-founder Bill Polian had a distinct message. After all, Polian has a fair amount of cachet, having been a general manager for 23 seasons in the NFL with three teams (Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts) and building them to a combined eight conference championship games, five Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi Trophy.

He was also voted league executive of the year by The Sporting News six times in a vote of his NFL peers.

“Anybody know what this is? Super Bowl ring, that’s exactly right,” Polian, 76, told the players who will make up rosters in the AAF. “That’s what we all dream of and that’s what we all think about when we play in the back yard or in the driveway when we are 8 or 9 years old.

“Whether you’re here for the first time, your first crack at professional football, or whether this is your second chance, we exist to give you that chance. The reason we’re all involved in this is to give you the opportunity to get one of these.”

The players in attendance simply want the chance to earn their way onto an NFL roster and play the game they love on the grandest stage.

And that’s what the league’s eight teams will be doing starting Feb. 9.

Playing the game. The two games on the opening Saturday of the season — San Diego at San Antonio and Atlanta at Orlando — will be televised. CBS will have regional coverage of the opening week and one key game each week. In addition, games and weekly game broadcasts will be available on CBS Sports Network.

The sport’s unique allure is what brought Mike Martz back after not coaching in the NFL since 2011.

So be it that Martz, as offensive coordinator, guided the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl win 19 years ago, or was a head coach with the Rams for six seasons. Along with several other veteran coaches, he said he sees their role as helping make players better in a great environment.

Standing on the sideline as his San Diego Fleet team was practicing in the second week of camp, Martz said, “I like to call this football in its purest sense. It’s like college, but there’s no boosters, there’s no scholarships; it’s just football. I love that part of it. I think the guys that are attracted to this are our kind of guys. … And this is a way for us all to give back to this game a little bit.”

Fleet quarterback Mike Bercovici is relishing the opportunity to study at Martz’s knee.

“He’s passionate about developing football players and this is an awesome opportunity for him to give back to us because he’s taken teams to the highest level in the NFL,” Bercovici said. “And that’s our ultimate goal is that when we get back to the big show we will know our details and our fine preparation and why we do what we do.”

While the product on the field gets a lot of emphasis, The Alliance will be proactive in employee wellness.

Troy Polamalu, the head of player relations and former safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also is excited about what the Alliance can do off the field.

“What we have built here is a platform not only to show you how to be the very best football player, but to be the very best husband, the very best father, the very best teammate, and the very best member of society,” he said. “What we are building is an approach to help the whole person.”

Still, football and doing this right is king, which prompted CEO and co-founder Charlie Ebersol to say at the opening of camp, “Every single person who has attempted to do this before failed. You have to really dig in and put the best people at the top of it. We have an opportunity to make football better.

“I said this to Bill before. Our greatest hope is that we are standing on the sidelines at the Super Bowl and talking about how we knew you when.”

–Special to Field Level Media

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Saints CB Williams charged with drunk driving

Saints CB Williams charged with drunk driving

New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams was

Saints CB Williams charged with drunk driving

New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams was arrested early Wednesday and charged with drunk driving, according to multiple reports.

Police said Williams was driving on the Crescent City Connection bridge in the city when officers clocked him traveling 80 mph in a 50-mph zone. They pulled Williams over, and he refused to take a breath test, police said.

He was booked on charges of driving while intoxicated, improper lane usage, speeding and failing to use a turn signal. He was released a few hours later on his own recognizance.

This is not the first drunk-driving arrest for Williams, 25.

In 2015, he was charged with DUI shortly before the NFL draft. The charges were dropped when prosecutors said there wasn’t enough video evidence to proceed.

The Saints took Williams, a Florida State product, in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

While at Florida State, he also received two traffic tickets when he hit an oncoming car, demolishing both vehicles. He was not charged criminally in that case.

Williams is set to be a free agent in March, and in an interview with The Times-Picayune on Monday, he said he showed his value with his play this season, his most productive in the league.

He finished with 53 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles, and he played 693 defensive snaps. He earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 31.

“It was huge for me, especially it being the last year on my contract,” Williams said. “I proved to the league and proved to myself that I can play at a high level in this league.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Schiano expected to join Patriots’ staff

Report: Schiano expected to join Patriots' staff

Former Tampa

Report: Schiano expected to join Patriots’ staff

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, most recently the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, likely will wind up on the coaching staff of the New England Patriots, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport said Schiano would take the spot of Brian Flores, the acting defensive coordinator who reportedly will become head coach of the Miami Dolphins after the Super Bowl.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Schiano never have worked together, but the two are believed to have a close relationship. Belichick’s son, Steve, played for Schiano when he was the head coach at Rutgers, and Belichick drafted several players from his program.

Last year, when Schiano was set to become the head coach at Tennessee, he came under fire for his time on Joe Paterno’s staff at Penn State during the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Belichick vouched for Schiano.

“I have great respect and I think he’s a great football coach,” Belichick said. “I’m not really involved in any other situations, but speaking about him as a coach and a person, the utmost respect and zero reservations. Zero.”

Schiano, 52, coached at Rutgers from 2001-11 and led the team to a 68-67 record and a 5-1 record in bowl games. He won three national Coach of the Year awards in 2006 when Rutgers finished 11-2. In his two seasons with the Buccaneers (2012-13), the team was 11-21.

He joined Ohio State in 2016 and left earlier this month after Ryan Day took over as head coach.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger: ‘Way different’ expectations in 2019

Tiger: 'Way different' expectations in 2019

As

Tiger: ‘Way different’ expectations in 2019

As he prepares to make his season debut at the Farmers Insurance Open this week at Torrey Pines in San Diego, Tiger Woods has bigger goals in mind for 2019 than he did a year ago.

“Way different,” Woods told reporters Tuesday about his expectations compared to 12 months ago. ” I know what my body can and cannot do. Last year was a very fluid … it was like trying to hit a moving target. It was quite interesting to try to figure it all out as the year progressed and evolved.

“This year I have a great understanding of what I can and can’t do. There’s not that uncertainty I had going into last year.”

Woods’ 2018 campaign — as he returned from a fourth back surgery — was a resounding success, culminating in a victory at the Tour Championship, the 80th title of his career. Amid his strong play, Woods entered more events than he intended, leading to some fatigue late in the season.

This time around, he expects to be more prepared for the long haul.

“The offseason for me, a lot of it has been training, trying to get stronger,” Woods said. “Last year, toward the end of the season, I got really tired because I didn’t expect to play that much golf at the end and I didn’t train for it.

“This offseason I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym, and I’ve gotten a lot stronger, and I feel like my legs are there where they need to be. Which they weren’t at the end of the season.”

Woods, who turned 43 in December, said his workouts don’t look anything like they used to. He doesn’t run, work with heavy weights, or emphasize explosive training like in the past.

“Hell no, I don’t do that stuff anymore,” he said with a smile. “I can’t even if I wanted to.”

However, he has been able to return to a few of his favorite hobbies, like freediving and spearfishing, things he was unable to do before his last back surgery.

After enjoying the offseason, Woods returns to the tour with plenty of ground to make up in the FedEx Cup Standings, having missed the first seven events. But he doesn’t anticipate that being an issue if he performs when it matters most.

“I’m way behind in points, but I’m not really looking at it that way,” Woods said. “There’s been a number of years that I’ve only played in 15 to 17 events. If I play well in the big events, and win some here and there, that will take care of itself.”

That will start this week at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won eight times, including his last major title at the 2008 U.S. Open. He will be paired with FedEx Cup points leader Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau for the first two rounds, after playing a practice round Tuesday with Jordan Spieth, who is in the field for the first time since 2015.

“This is a golf course, a property that I’ve always loved,” Woods said. “Jordan asked me how long I’ve been coming down here. I said, ’10 years more than you’ve been alive.'”

Thursday will mark Woods’ first competitive tournament action since the Ryder Cup nearly four months ago.

“I haven’t played on the Tour since September, so I’m looking forward to getting started,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins hopeful QB Smith will return from gruesome injury

Redskins hopeful QB Smith will return from gruesome injury

Redskins hopeful QB Smith will return from gruesome injury

Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen said he is optimistic that quarterback Alex Smith — whose season ended in mid-November when he suffered a gruesome leg injury and subsequent infection — will be able to return from the injury.

Allen didn’t project when that could be, however, when he spoke with reporters Tuesday at practice for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

“He’s moving around and well on his way to a recovery,” Allen said. “It’s a tough thing for him and his family. All the love and care has helped him quite a bit.

“We’ll see how it goes. We’re optimistic. If anyone can come back, it’s Alex.”

Smith was spotted Monday watching the Washington Wizards defeat the visiting Detroit Pistons. He had a cast on his right leg, below the knee, and what appeared to be a metal brace around his lower leg.

“I’m sure he wanted to shoot hoops at the game yesterday, but we’ll see,” Allen said.

Allen did not say whether Washington would seek to add a quarterback either through free agency or the draft. He also would not confirm if Smith was done having medical procedures performed on his right leg, which suffered a compound fracture that required multiple surgeries and resulted in an infection, keeping Smith in the hospital for four weeks.

Colt McCoy, who broke his leg in early December, is the only other quarterback currently on the roster. The Redskins signed Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez to complete the season at QB, but both will be free agents in March.

The Redskins acquired Smith, now 34, a year ago from Kansas City before the 2018 season. He signed a four-year contract extension that put him under contract for five years and $111 million. It included $71 million in injury guarantees.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys’ Beasley blames limited role on front office

Cowboys' Beasley blames limited role on front office

Cowboys’ Beasley blames limited role on front office

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley suggested Tuesday on Twitter that his role in the team’s offense has been restricted by the front office having a different agenda.

Responding to a fan wondering if Beasley — who will be an unrestricted free agent in March — will re-sign with the Cowboys, the wideout tweeted, “Utilization is more important than money.” After a fan’s reply alluded to fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Beasley continued tweeting.

“Honestly, the front office pushes who they want to get the ball to,” he wrote. “I haven’t been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I’m not sure. More balls come my way in 2 minute drill where nothing is planned.”

Beasley went on to add that his comments don’t necessarily mean he will leave the Cowboys in free agency.

“I’ll play anywhere where I can make more of an impact,” he wrote. “I would love for that to be Dallas or anywhere else that will give me more [opportunities] to make an impact. I just wanna ball. It’s hard with 3 to 4 opps a game.”

The wideout also indicated he has no issue with quarterback Dak Prescott, saying, “I love my QB and I am one of his favorites.”

Beasley, 29, finished 2018 with 65 catches on 87 targets (5.4 per game) for 672 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games (four starts). The targets, receptions and yards were each the second-highest totals of his career, trailing his 2016 numbers (75 catches on 98 targets, 833 yards) and well outpacing his 2017 stat line (36 catches on 63 targets, 314 yards).

Beasley has spent all seven years of his NFL career with the Cowboys after joining them as an undrafted free agent out of SMU in 2012. He just finished the final year of a four-year, $13.6 million contract.

The Cowboys’ offense is expected to change in 2019 because of Linehan’s firing, which came after head coach Jason Garrett initially indicated Linehan would return. Per multiple reports, the team plans to promote someone already on staff to offensive coordinator, with quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore a top contender for the position. Former quarterback Jon Kitna could be brought on the staff to help coach quarterbacks.

This marks the second time in less than a year that Beasley has been critical of the Cowboys’ approach. Last June, he appeared to take a shot at departed receivers coach Derek Dooley in praising new coach Sanjay Lal.

“It feels like the first time we’re actually being taught how to run routes instead of just naturally doing,” Beasley said at the time.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Chiefs fire DC Sutton

NFL notebook: Chiefs fire DC Sutton

NFL notebook: Chiefs fire DC Sutton

The Kansas City Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on Tuesday, two days after the team’s loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs’ defense allowed 524 yards and 36 first downs and was on the field for 94 plays during the 37-31 overtime loss to the Patriots.

“Bob is a good football coach and a great person,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He played an integral role in the success of our team over the last six seasons. I’ve said before that change can be a good thing, for both parties, and I believe that is the case here for the Chiefs and Bob.”

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan could be a candidate for the job, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

–The NFL is “looking into” a report by a Kansas City television station that a laser pointer was aimed at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during Sunday’s game.

KMBC shot video that showed a green dot flickering around Brady’s shoulder and face. ESPN reported an NFL spokesman confirmed the incident was being investigated.

According to the television station report, the laser was visible around Brady’s face and shoulder before he threw a fourth-quarter interception.

–The Cincinnati Bengals will hire Oakland quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as offensive coordinator, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

The Bengals are expected to hire Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as their new head coach, after Super Bowl LIII. Taylor played quarterback at Nebraska from 2004-07 under Bill Callahan, Brian Callahan’s father and a reported candidate to coach the Bengals’ offensive line.

Brian Callahan has spent four years as an NFL quarterbacks coach. This will be his first coordinator job, although Taylor is expected to call plays and run his own offense.

–Gruden said he hopes to re-sign free agent tight end Jared Cook but acknowledged that there will be a competitive market for the tight end.

Cook had a career year and was named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement.

Meanwhile, Gruden isn’t sure whether free agent running back Marshawn Lynch intends to play another season, but said he “would love to have him back” if the running back does not retire.

–Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen said he is optimistic that quarterback Alex Smith will be able to return from his gruesome leg injury.

“He’s moving around and well on his way to a recovery,” Allen said from the Senior Bowl. “…We’ll see how it goes. We’re optimistic. If anyone can come back, it’s Alex.”

–The Miami Dolphins granted offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains permission to talk to other teams, essentially paving the way for him to reunite with Adam Gase with the New York Jets, NFL Network reported.

The Dolphins reportedly interviewed Loggains for their head coaching vacancy before deciding on New England defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

–Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley suggested on Twitter that his role has been restricted by the front office having a different agenda.

“Honestly, the front office pushes who they want to get the ball to,” wrote Beasley, who will be a free agent in March. “I haven’t been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I’m not sure. More balls come my way in 2 minute drill where nothing is planned.”

–Cowboys teammates Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper were named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster, replacing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Other replacements announced were: Saints running back Alvin Kamara (for Todd Gurley), Saints guards Larry Warford (Zack Martin) and Andrus Peat (Brandon Brooks) and Bears’ offensive linemen Charles Leno (Terron Armstead) and Cody Whitehair (Max Unger).

–The Carolina Panthers are considering transitioning to a predominantly 3-4 scheme this offseason, according to The Athletic.

Per the report, the Panthers could shift to more looks with three down linemen and four linebackers while seeking more pressure against opposing quarterbacks, and they’ll use part of the offseason to gauge how their personnel would fit.

–Houston Texans safety Justin Reid will have wrist surgery, he announced on Twitter.

Reid, who started 12 games as a rookie, said on social media the surgery will address injuries sustained throughout the season.

–John Bonamego will return to his previous role as the special teams coordinator for the Detroit Lions.

He held the position in 2013-14 before leaving to become the head coach at Central Michigan in 2015.

–The Broncos signed former Packers offensive lineman Don Barclay to a reserve/futures deal and added former lineman Chris Kuper as assistant offensive line coach.

Barclay sat out the 2018 season after the Saints waived him at final cuts. He has 65 career games (25 starts) in six seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals to hire Raiders QB coach Callahan as OC

Bengals to hire Raiders QB coach Callahan as OC

The Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals to hire Raiders QB coach Callahan as OC

The Cincinnati Bengals will hire Oakland Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan as their offensive coordinator, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden told reporters at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday.

The Bengals are expected to hire Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as their new head coach, but they cannot do so until the Rams’ season is over, which will be after Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.

Taylor played quarterback at Nebraska from 2004-07 under Bill Callahan, Brian Callahan’s father. Bill Callahan — who is under contract as the Washington Redskins’ offensive line coach — reportedly also wants to join the Bengals’ staff, although it’s unclear if Washington will allow the move.

Brian Callahan just finished his first year as quarterbacks coach with the Raiders, after holding the same position for two years with the Detroit Lions and one year with the Denver Broncos. He also spent five years as an offensive assistant in Denver. This will be his first coordinator job, although Taylor is expected to call plays and run his own offense.

Previous reports have indicated Taylor is targeting an experienced defensive coordinator, with Jack Del Rio and John Fox among the top candidates.

Del Rio spent 2018 out of coaching after getting fired as the Raiders’ head coach, and he is still getting paid by the team under an extension he signed after the 2016 season. He last served as a defensive coordinator from 2012-14 with the Broncos, working on the same staff as Brian Callahan.

Fox, coincidentally, was the head coach of those Broncos before parting ways with the team after the 2014 season. He is currently an ESPN analyst after getting fired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears last January.

Fox has not been a defensive coordinator since he led the New York Giants’ defense from 1997-2001. He had spent 16 straight seasons as a head coach for three different teams before joining ESPN last year.

–Field Level Media

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Agent expects Manning back with Giants in 2019

Agent expects Manning back with Giants in 2019

Agent expects Manning back with Giants in 2019

Eli Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, expects his client to be back with the New York Giants for a 16th season in 2019.

“Shoot, yeah, I think so,” Condon told the New York Post on Monday evening from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

“I think he’d love to come back,” Condon added. “Guys love to play their whole careers with one team, if they have a good experience with that team.”

The Giants are expected to pursue a long-term answer at quarterback this offseason, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Manning, who turned 38 earlier this month, won’t return. The team is believed to want a veteran quarterback who can help bridge the gap to a rookie.

Manning is on the books for an unguaranteed $17 million for 2019, and he is set to cost $23.2 million against the cap. The Giants would save $17 million against the cap — with a $6.2 million dead-money charge — by releasing him, but they could potentially pursue a restructured contract.

“It’s just too early,” Condon said about the possibility of a restructure, adding the team hasn’t approached him about the subject. Asked if he expects the Giants to do so at some point, he replied, “I have no idea.”

General manager Dave Gettleman said at his end-of-season press conference that all options were on the table, adding that he and Manning had an “extensive, no-holds-barred” conversation about the quarterback’s situation.

After the Giants were officially eliminated from playoff contention in Week 15, head coach Pat Shurmur said the team isn’t in a hurry to move on from Manning, whom he still believes has “years” left as an NFL starter.

Asked if he wants Manning back on the roster in 2019, Shurmur replied, “Yeah. I want all our players to be back. I believe experience matters.”

Manning finished the season with 4,299 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and completed a career-best 66 percent of his passes, though the Giants finished 5-11.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders’ Gruden hopes to re-sign Cook; unsure on Lynch

Raiders' Gruden hopes to re-sign Cook; unsure on Lynch

Raiders’ Gruden hopes to re-sign Cook; unsure on Lynch

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden addressed the status of two of the team’s most prominent free agents on Tuesday, indicating he would be open to bringing back tight end Jared Cook and running back Marshawn Lynch.

Speaking from the Senior Bowl, where his staff is coaching the North team, Gruden said he hopes Oakland can re-sign Cook but acknowledged that there will be a competitive market for him.

Cook, who turns 32 in April, was named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement Monday, after having a career year in 2018. He hit career highs across the board with 68 catches, 896 yards and six touchdowns while playing all 16 games for the fifth time in six years.

Meanwhile, Gruden said he isn’t sure about the status of RB Lynch, who will hit free agency after coming out of a one-year retirement to play two seasons for the Raiders.

“I don’t know that yet,” Gruden said of whether Lynch will return. “I think, when we get back after the Super Bowl, we’ll have a lot better indication on his health and his desire, on what he wants to do. I’m sure if he wants to play, somebody like me would love to have him back.”

Lynch, who turns 33 in April, missed the final 10 games of the season due to a groin/core muscle injury, finishing with 376 yards on 90 carries (4.2 average) with three touchdowns in six games. In 2017, the Oakland native had 891 yards on 207 carries (4.3 average) with seven touchdowns after sitting out the 2016 season.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs fire defensive coordinator Sutton

Chiefs fire defensive coordinator Sutton

The Kansas

Chiefs fire defensive coordinator Sutton

The Kansas City Chiefs fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton on Tuesday, two days after the team’s loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs’ defense allowed 524 yards and 36 first downs and was on the field for 94 plays during the 37-31 overtime loss to the Patriots.

“Bob is a good football coach and a great person,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said in a statement. “He played an integral role in the success of our team over the last six seasons. I’ve said before that change can be a good thing, for both parties, and I believe that is the case here for the Chiefs and Bob.

“This was not an easy decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward.”

Former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan could be a candidate for the job, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Sutton’s ouster apparently is partially related to his inability to adjust on the fly through games. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the lack of adjustments were a “non-stop frustration.”

Sutton, who turns 68 on Monday, spent six seasons as Kansas City’s defensive coordinator.

The unit struggled much of this season’s despite the Chiefs going 12-4 and claiming the AFC’s No. 1 seed for the postseason.

Kansas City ranked 31st in total defense at 405.5 yards per game and 24th in scoring defense at 26.3 points per game. The Chiefs were 31st at defending the pass (273.4) and 27th versus the run (132.1).

The Chiefs did rack up 52 sacks, with more than half of them coming from defensive end Chris Jones (15.5) and linebacker Dee Ford (13).

However, it was Ford who lined up offside on a pivotal play and the penalty wiped out an interception by Kansas City cornerback Charvarius Ward with 54 seconds left on Sunday. The Chiefs led 28-24 at the time.

The mistake kept New England in the contest, and the Patriots drove for a touchdown before Kansas City later forced overtime with a field goal.

The Patriots easily drove 75 yards on 13 plays for the decisive score on the first possession of overtime.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Panthers mulling change to 3-4 defense

Report: Panthers mulling change to 3-4 defense

The Carolina Panthers are

Report: Panthers mulling change to 3-4 defense

The Carolina Panthers are considering transitioning to a predominantly 3-4 scheme this offseason, according to a report from The Athletic on Tuesday.

Per the report, the team could shift to more looks with three down linemen and four linebackers while seeking more pressure against opposing quarterbacks.

The Panthers will use part of the offseason to gauge how their personnel would fit the change, but the expectation is they’ll at least be more multiple in 2018, with both 3-4 and 4-3 formations.

Carolina has run a classic 4-3 scheme since head coach Ron Rivera arrived in 2011, but he ran a 3-4 defense as defensive coordinator of the then-San Diego Chargers from 2008-2010 after running a 4-3 scheme with the Chicago Bears from 2004-06.

The differences between the two styles have become less significant in an era when nickel and dime packages — mostly featuring four-man fronts — have become the norm.

Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has been featured as the centerpiece of the Panthers’ 4-3 defense since he was drafted in 2012, and he would become one of two inside linebackers in a 3-4.

Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson have also been key pieces, but a 3-4 scheme would require only two off-the-ball linebackers — the other two play on the edges, usually on the line of scrimmage. Davis announced earlier this month the team told him it won’t re-sign him when he becomes a free agent in March.

A switch to a 3-4 would also likely move defensive ends Mario Addison, Wes Horton and — if he returns for an 18th NFL season at age 39 — Julius Peppers to outside linebacker. Defensive tackle Kawann Short would likely play more defensive end, while Dontari Poe would likely be the starter at nose tackle.

–Field Level Media

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Lions rehire Bonamego as special teams coordinator

Lions rehire Bonamego as special teams coordinator

John Bonamego will

Lions rehire Bonamego as special teams coordinator

John Bonamego will return to his previous role as the special teams coordinator for the Detroit Lions, the team announced Tuesday.

He held the position in 2013-14 before leaving to become the head coach at Central Michigan in 2015. The Chippewas appeared in bowl games in his first three seasons, but when the team finished 1-11 in 2018, Bonamego was fired.

He has 16 years of coaching experience in the NFL, also working with special teams in Jacksonville, Green Bay, New Orleans and Miami.

Bonamego, 55, replaces Joe Marciano, who was fired in November.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins won’t block OC Loggains from leaving

Report: Dolphins won’t block OC Loggains from leaving

Report: Dolphins won’t block OC Loggains from leaving

The Miami Dolphins granted permission to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to talk to other teams, essentially paving the way for the assistant to reunite with Adam Gase in New York, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday.

The Dolphins reportedly interviewed Loggains for their head coaching vacancy before deciding on New England defensive coordinator Brian Flores, a move that can’t be made official until after the Super Bowl. The Dolphins fired Gase after the season.

Loggains spent one year with the Dolphins as offensive coordinator under Gase, and the pair also worked together in Chicago. Loggains was named offensive coordinator in Chicago after Gase took the head coaching job in Miami.

The Dolphins finished 31st in total offense last season, averaging 289.9 yards per game. The Dolphins averaged 19.9 points per game, 26th in the NFL, but Gase called the plays, as he will do with the Jets.

The Jets last week named Gregg Williams defensive coordinator.

–Field Level Media

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Bears LT Leno, C Whitehair added to Pro Bowl roster

Bears LT Leno, C Whitehair added to Pro Bowl roster

Bears LT Leno, C Whitehair added to Pro Bowl roster

Eight members of the Chicago Bears are ticketed to the Pro Bowl after left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and center Cody Whitehair were named to the NFC roster on Tuesday.

Practice is scheduled to begin Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.

Leno Jr. is replacing New Orleans Saints tackle Terron Armstead while Whitehair was named as the alternate to Saints center Max Unger.

Leno Jr. and Whitehair are on the NFC roster to which quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was added on Monday.

Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, defensive backs Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson, return specialist Tarik Cohen and Trubisky will be in Orlando.

Linebacker Khalil Mack, who was named a starter in December, will not participate due to a knee injury.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys’ Prescott, Cooper to Pro Bowl; Saints’ Brees, Thomas out

Cowboys' Prescott, Cooper to Pro Bowl; Saints' Brees, Thomas out

Cowboys’ Prescott, Cooper to Pro Bowl; Saints’ Brees, Thomas out

Cowboys teammates Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper were named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday, replacing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Prescott and Cooper guided Dallas to the NFC East title and posted a regular-season win over the Saints in Dallas.

Cooper, acquired from the Oakland Raiders in October, is in the Pro Bowl for the third time. He had 53 receptions for 725 yards and six scores in nine games with the Cowboys.

Prescott passed for 3,885 yards, 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions to reach the Pro Bowl for the second time in three NFL seasons.

Brees and Thomas reported injuries as the reason for missing the game.

Brees, 40, is a 12-time Pro Bowl selection. He set an NFL record with a 74.4 percent completion percentage in 2018, and had 32 touchdown passes with five interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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NFL to investigate report of laser on Brady at Kansas City

NFL to investigate report of laser on Brady at Kansas City

NFL to investigate report of laser on Brady at Kansas City

The NFL is “looking into” a report by a Kansas City television station that a laser pointer was aimed at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the AFC Championship game on Sunday.

KMBC shot video that showed a green dot flickering around Brady’s shoulder and face. ESPN reported an NFL spokesman confirmed the incident was being investigated.

According to the television station report, the laser was visible around Brady’s face and shoulder before he threw an interception in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots declined to comment on the report and the Chiefs said they were not aware of the incident during the game, won by New England, 37-31 in overtime.

–Field Level Media

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Former NFL RB McFadden charged with DWI

Former NFL RB McFadden charged with DWI

Former NFL running back Darren McFadden was arrested early Monday

Former NFL RB McFadden charged with DWI

Former NFL running back Darren McFadden was arrested early Monday in Texas on charges of driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest.

TMZ reported that the 31-year-old McFadden fell asleep in his SUV outside the drive-thru window of a Whataburger fast-food restaurant in suburban Dallas.

According to TMZ, McFadden resisted officers and that the driver’s side and passenger windows in his vehicle were both smashed.

McFadden was released on his own recognizance from Collin County jail a short time later, according to the Dallas Morning News.

McFadden played 10 seasons in the NFL after an All-American career at Arkansas. He rushed for 4,247 yards in 83 games with the Oakland Raiders (2008-14) and ran for 1,174 yards in 20 games with the Dallas Cowboys (2015-17).

McFadden rushed for 1,157 yards with the Raiders in 2010 and for 1,089 yards with the Cowboys in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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