Rams are unanimous top team in latest AP Pro32 poll

NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams continue to be box office gold for the NFL.

The Rams are off to a 3-0 start after handling the Chargers 35-23 in an all-LA matchup on Sunday.

They also are the unanimous top team in the latest AP Pro32 poll .

The Rams received all 12 first-place votes and 384 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

They open Week 4 by hosting the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night in a matchup of NFC powerhouses.

“Jared Goff is looking like a Pro Bowl quarterback under wunderkind coach Sean McVay, and the Rams are looking like a Super Bowl contender after a splendid early season run,” said Newsday’s Bob Glauber.

The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs moved up two spots to No. 2. The Chiefs close out Week 4 with a prime-time matchup at Denver against the Broncos on Monday night.

“Patrick Mahomes has been a revelation, but the Chiefs get the second spot behind the Rams because of their porous defense, which is yielding more than 30 points and 474 yards per game,” said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback.

The Philadelphia Eagles continued to bounce around the top 10 in the poll. The Eagles were No. 2 after the first week of the regular season. They fell to No. 7 after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but rose to No. 3 after edging the Indianapolis Colts 20-16 in Carson Wentz’s first game since December, when he tore two ligaments in his knee.

The Jacksonville Jaguars dropped two places to No. 4 after their field goal-filled 9-6 loss to AFC South rival Tennessee.

Led by Drew Brees, the New Orleans jumped 10 spots to No. 5 after topping the Atlanta Falcons 43-37 in overtime.

“As Drew Brees closes in on the NFL record book, it appears New Orleans has recovered nicely from that Week 1 stunner vs. Tampa Bay,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.

The Miami Dolphins, who are off to a surprising 3-0 start, also made a major move. The AFC East leaders moved up seven places to No. 6. The Dolphins face another big test this week when they travel to Foxborough to face the suddenly slumping Patriots, who have lost two in a row and fell five spots to No. 10.

The Patriots have overcome slow starts before and still reached the Super Bowl, and they now have three consecutive home games to try to make up ground in the division.

Another team making a big climb was the Carolina Panthers, who jumped five spots to No. 7 after defeating Cincinnati 31-21.

“Found a running game,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the Panthers, who finished with 230 rushing yards in the victory. Christian McCaffrey led the way with a career-high 184 yards.

The Vikings went in the opposite direction as they dropped five spots to No. 8 after getting routed at home by Buffalo 27-6.

And the Baltimore Ravens regained their footing as they climbed seven spots to No. 9 after handling the Broncos 27-14.

The Ravens have a key game in Week 4 as they head to Pittsburgh on Sunday night to face the Steelers in one of the NFL’s fiercest rivalries.

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Broncos hire Scangarello as offensive coordinator

Broncos hire Scangarello as offensive coordinator

The Denver

Broncos hire Scangarello as offensive coordinator

The Denver Broncos have hired Rich Scangarello as their new offensive coordinator, the team announced Wednesday.

Scangarello served as the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach the past two seasons.

Scangarello interviewed with new head coach Vic Fangio on Tuesday and returned for more talks Wednesday, and Fangio liked what he heard.

“With the addition of Rich Scangarello as our offensive coordinator, we’re getting an experienced coach who was a trusted and valued assistant with Kyle Shanahan for three seasons,” Fangio said in a press release. “He worked wonders with all the quarterbacks who started for San Francisco during the previous two years as quarterbacks coach.

“With his background and knowledge, it’s the perfect time for Rich to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL. I find this opportunity for Rich very similar to when I first became a defensive coordinator many years ago, and he is ready to take this step in his career.”

Scangarello, 46, has never been a coordinator at the NFL level, but he held the OC position in the college ranks at Wagner in 2016 and at Northern Arizona from 2012-14.

He earned praise for his work with 49ers rookie quarterback Nick Mullens and second-year signal-caller C.J. Beathard after starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 3 of this season.

Scangarello’s lengthy resume also includes stints as an offensive quality control coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2015. Scangarello worked under Shanahan with the Falcons.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Steelers don’t expect Brown return

NFL notebook: Steelers don't expect Brown return

Pittsburgh Steelers president

NFL notebook: Steelers don’t expect Brown return

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II said he still hasn’t talked to disgruntled wideout Antonio Brown but has left the door open a crack for a reconciliation.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Pittsburgh-area media Wednesday, Rooney discussed a number of topics. But much of the conversation focused on Brown.

Rooney said he would be willing to discuss Brown’s return to the Steelers, but there are “not that many signs out there that that’s going to happen.” Rooney told reporters he and Brown have not talked since the end of the season and he doesn’t expect him to return.

It is expected the Steelers will trade Brown, though Rooney said the team has not engaged in any trade talks. Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-best 15 touchdowns in 2018.

–Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley is back home in Oakland, Calif., after being taken for a mental evaluation Tuesday by Los Angeles police.

“There is no reason to believe that this was anything serious,” team spokesman Brian Cearns told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s back home in Oakland with his family.”

Police were called to a Los Angeles hotel by a friend who was concerned about McKinley’s well-being. The 23-year-old player was not arrested, as police encouraged him to seek help and he complied.

–The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to one-year contract extensions.

Alexander, 35, played in all 16 games in 2018 and registered 6.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a career-high two interceptions. He was set to become a free agent.

Sirles, 27, joined the Bills as a free agent in Week 5 of the season and played in 12 games (five starts) across the offensive line.

–Former NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was ordered to stand trial on three felony counts by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, stemming from an incident last February in which he allegedly threatened former NFL teammate Richie Incognito and two former high school classmates.

Martin’s social media post from Feb. 22 was ruled to possess enough evidence for the 29-year-old Martin to answer to the charges, judge Shellie Samuels said at a preliminary hearing, according to the New York Daily News.

The Instagram post displayed Martin with a 12-gauge shotgun resting on a motel bed with 19 shells scattered around the weapon. The social media handles for Incognito, fellow former Dolphins teammate Mike Pouncey and two former classmates at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles were tagged into the post, which featured #MiamiDolphins on the gun handle and #HarvardWestlake on the barrel.

–The New York Jets officially named Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator.

Williams spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, serving as defensive coordinator before taking over as interim head coach midseason last year when the Browns fired Hue Jackson.

The Jets also confirmed that new head coach Adam Gase is retaining special teams coordinator Brant Boyer.

–The Detroit Lions have hired former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to run their offense, the team announced.

Bevell, 49, replaces Jim Bob Cooter, whose contract was not renewed after Detroit finished 24th in total offense and 25th in scoring offense in 2018.

Bevell was out of coaching last season. He was fired by the Seahawks in January 2018 after seven seasons as their offensive coordinator and did not land another position.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars announced they have hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator.

DeFilippo, 40, spent 2015 with the Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator, then was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2016-17. The Minnesota Vikings hired DeFilippo as offensive coordinator just days after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, then fired him after a 21-7 loss to Seattle in Week 14.

–The Denver Broncos have hired Rich Scangarello as their new offensive coordinator, the team announced.

Scangarello, 46, served as the San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach the past two seasons. He has never been a coordinator at the NFL level, but he held the OC position in the college ranks at Wagner in 2016 and at Northern Arizona from 2012-14.

–Field Level Media

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Rams list clean injury report, including RB Gurley

Rams list clean injury report, including RB Gurley

Rams list clean injury report, including RB Gurley

Before their biggest game of the season, the Los Angeles Rams have a clean injury report.

That includes arguably their biggest offensive weapon: Todd Gurley.

The Rams listed no players on their Wednesday injury report following the team’s limited walk-through, including their two-time All-Pro running back who missed the final two games of the regular season because of left knee inflammation.

Gurley, 24, was expected to be a limited practice participant ahead of the NFC Championship Game at New Orleans this Sunday. He initially injured the knee in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders before aggravating the knee in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gurley returned to the lineup for the Rams’ divisional-round matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, and the three-time Pro Bowl back rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in Los Angeles’ 30-22 win.

Gurley led the NFL with 21 touchdowns and 17 rushing scores during the regular season. He notched his third 1,000-yard rushing season in four years since the Rams took him with the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Despite Gurley’s return, the Rams continued to find carries last week for C.J. Anderson, who has been a revelation since signing with Los Angeles on Dec. 19. Anderson has ripped off three straight 100-yard games for the Rams, and he owns an NFL-high 422 rushing yards since Week 16, including the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

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KC looking to start fast, outrun history in AFC title game

KC looking to start fast, outrun history in AFC title game

KC looking to start fast, outrun history in AFC title game

The fast starts Kansas City typically manufactures are not something to take lightly.

The Chiefs have outscored opponents 161-56 in the first quarter, a key reason why they earned the top seed and home-field advantage they enjoy entering the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium against New England on Sunday.

And the Patriots are well aware.

“You always want to play from ahead. You always want to get off to a good start,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick recently told reporters. “But I think these are 60-minute games and this time of year you’re going to have to battle all the way through.”

That is where Tom Brady comes in.

“We talk about in these games, it’s not like a special play or there’s a special formula,” the five-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback told the media. “It’s just excelling at the right time.”

Few, if any, have played quarterback better than the New England great, whose ability to close out wins is unrivaled. Case in point, Week 6’s meeting between the Chiefs and Pats.

Brady drove New England to the Kansas City 9-yard line in less than three minutes, setting up Stephen Gostkowski for a walk-off 28-yard field goal that gave the Pats a 43-40 victory — handing the Chiefs their first loss of the season. New England gained 500 yards, did not punt and was not penalized. Yet the Patriots almost blew a 24-9 lead they built by, uhh, starting fast.

Don’t expect the Chiefs to buy into Brady’s claim that “everyone thinks we suck” — a startling proclamation he made immediately after New England thumped the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 in the divisional round last weekend.

“This isn’t their first rodeo here,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters of his team’s opponent. “They have done this a few times. Arguably, if not the, one of the greatest dynasties in the history of the game.”

No question. The AFC Championship Game appearance is the eighth in a row for New England — which has played in eight Super Bowls and won five of them with Belichick and Brady.

Yet Kansas City is the home favorite Sunday for a night game that will be played in freezing temperatures.

The conditions only add to potential problems Patrick Mahomes could face as a first-year starting quarterback coping with the pressure attached to a conference championship game and the Super Bowl berth that goes to the winner.

But Mahomes has excelled at virtually any test he has faced this season, earning All-Pro honors after passing for more than 5,000 yards and joining Brady and Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks with 50 touchdown passes in a season. Although Mahomes did not pass for a touchdown in the divisional round, he skillfully engineered a 31-13 romp over Indianapolis.

The Chiefs have averaged 35.8 points in the four matchups Reid has coached against Belichick’s Patriots, going 2-2.

With Mahomes, the Chiefs are as explosive as any time in their history, which has never before involved a conference championship appearance at home. The Chiefs’ last Super Bowl trip came after capturing the AFL title in the 1969 season, beating Minnesota in the last of four pre-merger Super Bowls.

“It means a lot to just make it this far,” linebacker Justin Houston said. “We’ve never had this opportunity. It would mean a lot to me, the organization, the city.”

Defeating perennial power New England, which is playing in its 15th conference championship game, would further punctuate that feat — and the Patriots were only 3-5 on the road this season.

To maintain that dominance, the Patriots will attempt to keep Brady clean against a Kansas City defense good at pressuring quarterbacks but suspect in other dimensions. Defensively, the Patriots are capable of containing the run but must account for Mahomes and a deep receiving corps led by tight end Travis Kelce and wideout Tyreek Hill.

The Chiefs activated offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif this week. He practiced along with two starters who missed the divisional round, running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) and free safety Eric Berry (heel).

Defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. missed the divisional round with an ankle injury and remains the Patriots’ biggest injury concern.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars hire DeFilippo as OC

Jaguars hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Wednesday they have hired John DeFilippo as their offensive

Jaguars hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Wednesday they have hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also interviewed former NFL head coach Mike McCoy for the job, according to reports on Tuesday.

DeFilippo, 40, spent 2015 with the Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator, then was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2016-17. The Minnesota Vikings hired DeFilippo as offensive coordinator just days after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, then fired him after a 21-7 loss to Seattle in Week 14.

Early in his career, he was in charge of offensive quality control with the New York Giants, working under head coach Tom Coughlin, who now is the Jaguars’ vice president of football operations.

Coach Doug Marrone announced additional coaching staff assignments on Wednesday.

Terry Robiskie will serve as running backs coach, George Warhop as offensive line coach, Jason Rebrovich as defensive line coach, David Merritt as assistant defensive line coach, Tim Walton as secondary/cornerbacks coach and Joe Danna as secondary/safeties coach.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Rooney not expecting Brown to return

Steelers' Rooney not expecting Brown to return

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II said he still

Steelers’ Rooney not expecting Brown to return

Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II said he still hasn’t talked to disgruntled wideout Antonio Brown but has left the door open a crack for a reconciliation.

In a wide-ranging discussion with Pittsburgh-area media on Wednesday, Rooney discussed a number of topics, including the future of coach Mike Tomlin.

But much of the conversation focused on Brown.

Rooney said he would be willing to discuss Brown’s return to the Steelers, but there are “not that many signs out there that that’s going to happen.” Rooney told reporters he and Brown have not talked since the end of the season and he doesn’t expect him to return.

“I would have liked to have had the opportunity to talk to him and understand where he is,” Rooney told the reporters. “Maybe that will happen at some point, who knows?”

Brown didn’t play in Week 17 after missing multiple practices in the preceding week. Rooney said he wasn’t a big distraction to the team until that week.

“I’m not gonna sit here and disparage Antonio,” Rooney said during the session. “You have to remember he’s been one of the most productive receivers in the league for a long time now. He’s helped us win a lot of games over the last few years. Was it always done the way you’d like to see it done? No.

“But I don’t think he was a major distraction to the team up until the last weekend of the season. The proof is in the pudding for the most part.”

It is expected the Steelers will trade Brown, though Rooney said the team has not engaged in any trade talks.

Soon after Rooney talked with the media, Brown tweeted his intention to air his side in an interview.

“Clearly they feel indifferent about me seeing all these reports the big interview coming! watching my teammates, fans and organization show me how they really feel! Stay Woke,” he wrote.

Brown caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-best 15 touchdowns in 2018. He has topped 100 receptions in each of the past six seasons and has seven 1,000-yard receiving campaigns during nine years with the Steelers.

Concerning another disgruntled player, Rooney said he never expected running back Le’Veon Bell would sit out the entire season in a contract dispute. Rooney said he is content with the Steelers’ backfield situation, putting his trust in James Conner and Jaylen Samuels.

Tomlin also was a main discussion point, with Rooney not committing to an extension of his contract. The coach has two years left on his contract.

“Those are things we get to later in the offseason,” Rooney said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

The Steelers finished 9-6-1 this season and missed the playoffs, despite being in the driver’s seat for a postseason berth much of the season. In his 12 seasons with the team, Tomlin has a 125-66-1 record.

Rooney added he doesn’t expect any other coaches to depart, and that the Steelers will concentrate on filling staff vacancies.

He said a contract extension for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is an offseason priority, however.

Rooney also addressed the status of linebacker Ryan Shazier, who suffered a serious spinal injury 13 months ago. Shazier has maintained he wants to one day resume playing, and Rooney confirmed that Shazier continues to rehabilitate with the intention of putting on the uniform again.

Shazier will be a free agent in March, and Rooney said the team is willing to comply.

“To the extent he wants to do that, we’re open to working that out,” Rooney said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

–Field Level Media

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Lions hire Bevell as offensive coordinator

Lions hire Bevell as offensive coordinator

The Detroit Lions have hired former Seattle Seahawks offensive

Lions hire Bevell as offensive coordinator

The Detroit Lions have hired former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to run their offense, the team announced Wednesday.

Bevell, 49, replaces Jim Bob Cooter, whose contract was not renewed after Detroit finished 24th in total offense and 25th in scoring offense in 2018.

Bevell was out of coaching last season. He was fired by the Seahawks in January 2018 after seven seasons as their offensive coordinator and did not land another position.

Bevell was also the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for five seasons (2006-10) before he joined Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle in 2011.

His offense with the Seahawks peaked in 2015, finishing fourth in the NFL in both scoring offense and total offense.

He helped the Seahawks reach the playoffs in five of his seven seasons, including consecutive trips to the Super Bowl. Seattle defeated Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII and notoriously lost to New England in Super Bowl XLIX when his offense opted to throw from the 1-yard line and Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson’s pass to seal the win for the Patriots.

The New England defensive coordinator that day was Matt Patricia, now the head coach of the Lions.

Bevell’s NFL resume also includes working with the Green Bay Packers from 2000-05, the last three years as quarterbacks coach.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-lineman Martin to stand trial for threats against Incognito

Ex-lineman Martin to stand trial for threats against Incognito

Former

Ex-lineman Martin to stand trial for threats against Incognito

Former NFL offensive lineman Jonathan Martin was ordered to stand trial on three felony counts by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge on Wednesday, stemming from an incident last February in which he allegedly threatened former NFL teammate Richie Incognito and two former high school classmates.

Martin’s social media post from Feb. 22 was ruled to possess enough evidence for the 29-year-old Martin to answer to the charges, judge Shellie Samuels said at a preliminary hearing, according to the New York Daily News.

The Instagram post displayed Martin with a 12-gauge shotgun resting on a motel bed with 19 shells scattered around the weapon. The social media handles for Incognito, fellow former Dolphins teammate Mike Pouncey, and two former classmates at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles were tagged into the post, which featured #MiamiDolphins on the gun handle and #HarvardWestlake on the barrel.

It also had this message: “When you’re a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge.”

Martin left the Dolphins in the middle of the 2013 season and accused Incognito of bullying him. An NFL investigation later found that Incognito was one of three players who bullied Martin and Incognito was suspended for eight games.

Martin has experienced his own issues and his lawyer, Winston McKesson, said those troubles were the reasons for the social media post. He said Martin checked himself into a facility shortly after posting the image.

“He was struggling with his own demons. That’s what this is,” McKesson said in court, claiming the post wasn’t specific enough to be a criminal threat.

Judge Samuels disagreed with the argument.

“It does say suicide or revenge. That does sound equivocal on its face,” Samuels said. “However, on the photo, there are 19 shells. Suicide would take one shot. Nineteen shells is a mass shooting, killing more than one person, revenge.

“I think that’s unequivocal enough to be a criminal threat.”

Martin remains free on $210,000 bail and his next court date is Jan. 30, according to the Daily News.

Earlier, a Los Angeles Police Department detective testified that Martin’s web surfing on Feb. 9 showed he pulled up a story about Incognito just hours before ordering the shotgun from American Gun Works.

Court testimony also disclosed that Incognito was in such great fear when he learned of the post on Feb. 22 that he drove two hours north from Scottsdale, Ariz., to meet with an FBI agent.

Meanwhile, Harvard-Westlake closed the school on Feb. 23 as a precaution after being informed of Martin’s post.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

Tiger commits to Torrey Pines, Riviera events

It’s official. Tiger Woods will make his 2019 PGA Tour debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at his beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

Woods has also committed to the Feb. 14-17 Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, where he serves as tournament host.

“Kicking off this season on the west coast at @FarmersInsOpen and my TGRF’s @GenesisOpen,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Can’t wait!”

In addition to his seven Farmers Open titles, Woods also won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — the most recent of his 14 major championships. He tied for 23rd last year in his first official PGA Tour event following fusion surgery on his back.

His 2019 entry had been expected, but the tournament received official word from the tour headquarters Wednesday morning.

“It’s fantastic, exciting,” tournament director Peter Ripa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Players have choices for where they want to play, and for Tiger to choose San Diego … we’re going to be the center of the sports universe next week.”

Woods, 43, is No. 12 in the official world golf rankings. He last played at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas from Nov. 29-Dec. 2, finishing 17th in the 18-man field.

The Farmers field also includes defending champion Jason Day, world No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose, 2017 winner Jon Rahm, San Diegan Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Jordan Speith.

Woods won his first PGA Tour event at Riviera in 1992 while playing on a sponsor’s exemption as an amateur. His TGR Live manages the event and proceeds from the tournament benefit his TGR Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to being back in Los Angeles for the Genesis Open,” Woods said in a statement. “It’s always great to be able to play at Riviera and I am very proud of the impact the Genesis Open has been able to make on education through my foundation.”

Woods missed the cut at Riviera CC in 2018, one of only two missed cuts in 19 events.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

The

Bills sign LB Alexander, OL Sirles to extensions

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles to one-year contract extensions on Wednesday.

Alexander, 35, played in all 16 games in 2018 and registered 6.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a career-high two interceptions. He was set to become a free agent.

He originally signed with the Bills in 2016 after nine seasons with the Washington Redskins (2007-12), Arizona Cardinals (2013-14) and Oakland Raiders (2015). Buffalo re-signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal in March 2017.

Undrafted out of Cal in 2005, Alexander has been an incredible success story. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and again in 2016, when he was named the game’s Defensive MVP.

Earlier this month, the team captain expressed his desire to remain with the Bills.

“Obviously, I’m invested,” he told the media. “I’ve been here three years, I’m invested in the community. I’m invested in this team and this organization. I would like to be able to continue to play here and be able to retire here.”

Sirles, 27, joined the Bills as a free agent in Week 5 of the season and played in 12 games (five starts) across the offensive line.

A Nebraska product, Sirles entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He saw limited action that season with the then-San Diego Chargers, then played 28 games over two seasons in Minnesota before joining the Bills. The Carolina Panthers released him from injured reserve earlier in the season.

Sirles tweeted a picture of himself with his contract in hand, and captioned it: “God is so good! The dream continues. Thank you @buffalobills time to get back to work!”

–Field Level Media

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Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley

Falcons DE McKinley back home after mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley was back home in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday after being taken for a mental evaluation Tuesday by Los Angeles police.

“There is no reason to believe that this was anything serious,” team spokesman Brian Cearns told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s back home in Oakland with his family.”

Police were called to a Los Angeles hotel by a friend who was concerned about McKinley’s well-being. The 23-year-old player was not arrested, as police encouraged him to seek help and he complied.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn addressed the situation Tuesday.

“Any time a situation occurs that is or could be related to mental health issues we take it very seriously,” Quinn said in a statement. “We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist Takk, as our players’ mental and physical well-being are always our top priority.”

McKinley was the No. 26 overall pick by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft. The UCLA product agreed to a four-year, $10.2 million contract with the Falcons that included a $5.6 million signing bonus, according to Spotrac.

In 31 games over two seasons, he has recorded 42 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

–Field Level Media

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Jets put defense in Williams’ hands

Jets put defense in Williams' hands

The New York Jets officially

Jets put defense in Williams’ hands

The New York Jets officially named Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Williams spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, serving as defensive coordinator before taking over as interim head coach in midseason last year when the Browns fired Hue Jackson.

The Jets also confirmed that new head coach Adam Gase is retaining special teams coordinator Brant Boyer.

The well-traveled Williams, 60, returns to the AFC East for the first time since he was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03.

Williams was let go by the Browns last week after the team chose Freddie Kitchens as its next head coach. He went 5-3 while guiding Cleveland.

In 17 years as a defensive coordinator, Williams has called plays for six teams and is well known for his aggressive, attacking 4-3 schemes.

His units have ranked 11th or better in yards and points in the same season six times, though not since 2010 with the New Orleans Saints. He was infamously at the center of the Bountygate scandal in New Orleans, which led to a one-year suspension in 2012.

The Jets’ defense has ranked 22nd or worse in points allowed in three straight seasons and 25th in yards allowed each of the last two years.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars have chosen John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator,

Report: Jaguars to hire DeFilippo as OC

The Jacksonville Jaguars have chosen John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“Doug Marrone took his time with such a key hire, but when the deal gets done, he’ll have his guy,” Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning.

Marrone, the Jaguars head coach, also interviewed former NFL head coach Mike McCoy for the job, according to reports on Tuesday.

DeFilippo, 40, spent 2015 with the Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator, then was the quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia in 2016-17. The Minnesota Vikings hired DeFilippo as offensive coordinator just days after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII, then fired him after a 21-7 loss to Seattle in Week 14.

Early in his career, he was in charge of offensive quality control with the New York Giants, working under head coach Tom Coughlin, who now is the Jaguars’ vice president of football operations.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

Report: Broncos close to hiring Scangarello as OC

The Denver Broncos are close to hiring San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello as their offensive coordinator, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

Scangarello interviewed with new head coach Vic Fangio on Tuesday and returned for more talks Wednesday.

“Sources say his interview with Vic Fangio and others went well. The expectation, barring a snag in talks, is that he becomes the new #Broncos offensive coordinator,” Rapoport tweeted.

Scangarello, 46, has never been a coordinator at the NFL level, but he held the OC position in the college ranks at Wagner in 2016 and at Northern Arizona from 2012-14.

He was the quarterbacks coach on coach Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers staff the past two seasons. He earned praise for his work with rookie quarterback Nick Mullens and second-year signal-caller C.J. Beathard after starter Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 3.

Scangarello’s lengthy resume also includes stints as an offensive quality control coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

The Buffalo

Bills sign LB Alexander to one-year extension

The Buffalo Bills signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander to a one-year contract extension on Wednesday.

Alexander, 35, played in all 16 games in 2018 and registered 6.5 sacks, 74 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a career-high two interceptions. He was set to become a free agent.

He originally signed with the Bills in 2016 after nine seasons with the Washington Redskins (2007-12), Arizona Cardinals (2013-14) and Oakland Raiders (2015). Buffalo re-signed him to a two-year, $9 million deal in March 2017.

Undrafted out of Cal in 2005, Alexander has been an incredible success story. He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 and again in 2016, when he was named the game’s Defensive MVP.

Earlier this month, the team captain expressed his desire to remain with the Bills.

“Obviously, I’m invested,” he told the media. “I’ve been here three years, I’m invested in the community. I’m invested in this team and this organization. I would like to be able to continue to play here and be able to retire here.”

–Field Level Media

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Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

Tiger to open season next week at Torrey Pines

It’s official. Tiger Woods will make his 2019 PGA Tour debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at his beloved Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

In addition to his seven Farmers Open titles, Woods also won the 2008 U.S. Open there — the most recent of his 14 major championships.

His entry had been expected, but the tournament received official word from the tour headquarters Wednesday morning.

“It’s fantastic, exciting,” tournament director Peter Ripa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Players have choices for where they want to play, and for Tiger to choose San Diego … we’re going to be the center of the sports universe next week.”

Woods, 43, is No. 12 in the official world golf rankings. He last played at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas from Nov. 29-Dec. 2, finishing 17th in the 18-man field.

The Farmers field also includes defending champion Jason Day, world No. 1 and reigning FedExCup champion Justin Rose, 2017 winner Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Marc Leishman and Jordan Speith.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks DE Clark: ‘I got no elbows’

Seahawks DE Clark: 'I got no elbows'

Seahawks

Seahawks DE Clark: ‘I got no elbows’

Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark said he played the final three games of the 2018 season at 60 percent due to torn ulnar collateral ligaments in his elbows.

“I wouldn’t lie to you guys. I played the whole season at 60 percent,” Clark wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. “Trust me I hit it well. Two torn UCL’s in one season. Both against the Minnesota Vikings.”

Clark was first on the injury report with an elbow injury in Week 2. The Seahawks played the Vikings in the preseason and again Dec. 10.

He said via Twitter on Tuesday, “I ain’t have no elbows mane.”

There was little sign of a slowdown from Clark, a player head coach Pete Carroll said last month would not be let out of Seattle as he approaches free agency in March.

“He is a Seahawk,” Carroll said on ESPN 710 Seattle. “He ain’t going anywhere. We aren’t losing him.”

Meeting with reporters later Monday, Carroll added, “We’ve got to figure [Clark’s contract situation] out somehow. It’s a big issue.”

Clark, a 2015 second-round pick, is having a career season in the final year of his rookie deal. He has career highs of 13 sacks and 25 QB hits.

The 25-year-old told reporters in October there’s no place he’d rather be than Seattle. Those comments came two days after Clark’s agent told ESPN his client was in no hurry to sign an extension, as the defensive end planned to maximize his earnings on his next contract. As part of the patient approach, Clark has an insurance policy to guard against injury.

If the two sides are unable to reach a long-term deal before spring, the Seahawks will likely use the franchise tag on Clark, which would give him a one-year salary around $19 million. The sides would then have until mid-July to hammer out a long-term extension, or else have Clark play the 2019 season on the tag.

Clark has made about $3.7 million total over four years on his rookie contract.

–Field Level Media

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49ers’ Buckner replaces Eagles’ Cox in Pro Bowl

49ers' Buckner replaces Eagles' Cox in Pro Bowl

49ers’ Buckner replaces Eagles’ Cox in Pro Bowl

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner is Pro Bowl-bound for the first time in his three-year NFL career.

Buckner was selected to take the place of Philadelphia defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who is out due to a right foot injury that limited him Sunday in the Eagles’ 20-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game.

A 24-year-old Hawaii native, Buckner finished this season with a career-high 12 sacks plus 67 tackles and three passes defensed. He started all 16 games for the 49ers, and he has missed just one start in his pro career. Buckner has 21 career sacks.

The 49ers selected Buckner with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Oregon, where he was the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Buckner joins two San Francisco teammates, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and tight end George Kittle, in the all-star game to be played Jan. 27 at Orlando, Fla.

Cox, 28, had been elected to the Pro Bowl for the fourth year in a row in his seventh NFL season. Starting every game for the defending Super Bowl champions, he notched 10.5 sacks, 46 tackles, a forced fumble and a pass defensed. He had five tackles (one for a loss) in two playoff games this month.

A Mississippi State product, the Eagles made Cox the 12th overall selection in the 2012 draft. He has 44.5 career sacks.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons

Report: Falcons DE McKinley sent for mental evaluation

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley was undergoing a mental evaluation Tuesday after being detained by police in Los Angeles, according to TMZ Sports.

He reportedly was involved in an undisclosed incident at a hotel, and a friend who was with McKinley became worried and called the police.

TMZ reported McKinley was not arrested. Instead, police encouraged him to seek help, and he agreed and went with police.

“We were recently made aware of the situation involving Takk in Los Angeles earlier today,” head coach Dan Quinn said in a statement. “Any time a situation occurs that is or could be related to mental health issues we take it very seriously. We will do everything we possibly can to support and assist Takk, as our players’ mental and physical well-being are always our top priority.”

McKinley, 23, was the No. 26 overall pick by the Falcons in the 2017 NFL Draft. A UCLA product, he agreed to a four-year, $10.2 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons, which included a $5.6 million signing bonus, according to Spotrac.

In 31 games over two seasons, he has recorded 42 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen missed several games this season as he dealt with a mental health issue.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles’ Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Eagles' Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Eagles’ Jenkins added to NFC Pro Bowl roster

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, replacing New York Giants safety Landon Collins, who will miss the game after undergoing shoulder surgery.

It will be the third Pro Bowl appearance as a member of the Eagles for Jenkins, 31, after a season in which he had 97 tackles, a sack, an interception and three forced fumbles.

Jenkins will join Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in the Jan. 27 game at Orlando, Fla. Philadelphia guard Brandon Brooks and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox were also named to the NFC team but are being replaced because of injuries.

Jenkins, in his 10th season out of Ohio State, has 17 career interceptions, 14 forced fumbles and six touchdowns.

Collins, 25, in his fourth season out of Alabama, had 67 tackles in 12 games and a forced fumble. He has eight career interceptions, three forced fumbles and a touchdown.

Other Giants players who will participate in the Pro Bowl include running back Saquon Barkley, linebacker Olivier Vernon and kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The defending champion Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs after a loss Sunday at New Orleans. In two playoff games, Jenkins recorded 15 tackles.

–Field Level Media

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