National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • HOF finalist Urlacher faces lawsuit from child's mother
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    The mother of Brian Urlacher's son filed a lawsuit against the Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, alleging that he and others tried to "paint her as a murderer" after the death of her husband in 2016, according to a Wednesday report from TMZ.

    • Tyna Karageorge, who formerly was known as Tyna Robertson, had a son with Urlacher in 2005. She later married and had custody of the child when her husband, Ryan Karageorge, died from a gunshot wound following an argument with her. Urlacher received temporary custody of the boy, then 11 years old, after filing an emergency motion in court and citing "suspicious circumstances" surrounding the incident.

      A medical examiner later determined that Ryan Karageorge died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Tyna Karageorge reportedly maintains that Urlacher and others tried to persuade the public that the shooting was not a suicide in order to help the ex-Chicago Bears linebacker gain custody of the boy.

      Tyna Karageorge is seeking $125 million in the lawsuit, which was filed in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Ill. Other parties listed as defendants in the suit include the Chicago Tribune and one of its reporters who covered the story following Ryan Karageorge's death.

      Urlacher retired following the 2012 season and recently was named as one of 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists. The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be announced Feb. 3, the day before the Super Bowl.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings fans donate to Saints punter's foundation
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Three days after the Minnesota Vikings stunned the New Orleans Saints in the divisional playoffs, more than 2,400 Vikings fans have donated $100,000 and counting to Saints punter Thomas Morstead's charity, What You Give Will Grow.

    • Morstead announced Tuesday that donations received by the foundation this week from Vikings fans will go to the Children's Minnesota Child Life Program in Minneapolis "as a thank you for the support" following the Saints' defeat. He added in a video on Wednesday that he would fly to Minneapolis during Super Bowl week to personally present a check to the program if donations exceeded $100,000, which happened Wednesday evening.

      "Hi, Minnesota, you guys are officially ridiculous -- $100,000 raised ...," Morstead said in a video posted on the charity's website. "That is incredible. I am totally blown away. I will book my flights tonight. I will be there the week of the Super Bowl. ... You guys should all be proud of yourselves. That's a group effort, and it's going to affect everybody in your community in a positive way.

      "I'm just totally humbled by this. I may be forced to root for you guys all the way through the Super Bowl now."

      The 31-year-old punter sustained torn cartilage in his ribs while making a tackle early in the Sunday game but played through the injury. He was the first Saints player to return from the locker room to the field for the Vikings' extra-point try, which was required by rule, after Stefon Diggs' game-winning touchdown and the chaos that followed on the field.

      After the game, a Vikings fan made a post on Reddit encouraging others to donate to Morstead's charity out of respect for the punter's effort.

      This is the third time in recent weeks that fans have offered a flood of donations to a player on an opposing team. Buffalo faithful gave more than $350,000 to Andy Dalton's charity after Dalton led the Cincinnati Bengals to a win in Week 17 that sent the Bills to the playoffs, breaking a 17-year drought.

      Meanwhile, Bengals fans donated at least $5,000 this week to Blake Bortles' charity after the Jacksonville Jaguars knocked Cincy's biggest rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, out of the playoffs.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Steelers part ways with OC Haley
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will not return for the 2018 season, ending a six-year run with the team, and quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is expected to replace him.

    • The 50-year-old Haley's contract is expiring and he won't get a new deal to remain in Pittsburgh, head coach Mike Tomlin announced Wednesday.

      "I have made the decision to not renew the contract for offensive coordinator Todd Haley," Tomlin said in a statement. "I would like to thank Todd for his contributions to our offense the past six years, and we wish him the best in his coaching future."

      The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported later Wednesday that the team is prepared to promote Fichtner to offensive coordinator, pending final approval of his contract. Fichtner coached in college from 1986 to 2006, serving as offensive coordinator at Arkansas State (1997 to 2000) and Memphis (2001-2006). He has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Steelers, spending three years as wide receivers coach before moving to QBs in 2010.

      --New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the 2017 NFL Most Valuable Player by the Professional Football Writers of America.

      The PFWA also announced that Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was voted Offensive Player of the Year and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell was selected Defensive Player of the Year.

      Brady passed for a league-leading 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, Gurley rushed for 1,305 yards (second in the NFL) and 13 touchdowns and also caught a team-high 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns, and Campbell had 67 total tackles, an AFC-leading and team record 14.5 sacks (second in the NFL) and three forced fumbles.

      --With Championship Sunday drawing near, both favored teams have an injury to a star player listed on Wednesday's report.

      New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was limited with a right hand injury and missed his regular media availability because he was with the team's medical staff, the Patriots announced. According to a Boston Herald report, Brady jammed the hand in an accidental collision during practice, but X-rays showed no structural damage.

      Meanwhile, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen missed Wednesday's practice with a low back injury. The 27-year-old Thielen was not on the team's injury report last week. Vikings nose tackle Shamar Stephen (knee/ankle) also missed Wednesday's practice, while safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (ribs) were limited.

      --Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum was struggling to recall the prognosticator who predicted the 2018 NFC Championship Game starting quarterbacks: Keenum and his former teammate, Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles.

      Keenum congratulated anyone who saw the Keenum-Foles title game coming prior to this season on Wednesday as the Vikings took the field to begin preparation for the Eagles. Philadelphia, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host Minnesota on Sunday.

      "I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles vs. Keenum NFC Championship. So good job to all of you guys who predicted that," Keenum said with a sly smile.

      Of course, no educated observer would have guessed Keenum, who started the season as the ideal No. 3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, would be dueling with Foles for a shot at the Super Bowl in January. Foles became Philadelphia's starter due to Carson Wentz's season-ending knee injury.

      --Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak turned down a second interview for the Arizona Cardinals' head-coaching job, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

      Munchak, 57, reportedly met with Arizona during the Steelers' wild-card weekend bye. Munchak, who has been Pittsburgh's offensive line coach since 2014, was head coach of the Tennessee Titans for three seasons. He compiled a 22-26 record with the Titans (2011-13) and was fired after he refused to make requested changes in his coaching staff.

      Other candidates who interviewed for the vacancy in Arizona include New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. The Cardinals are seeking a replacement for Bruce Arians, who announced his retirement on Jan. 1 after five seasons with the Cardinals.

      --By virtue of winning five Super Bowls during the ongoing reign of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are favorites this time of year, an idea Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone views as undisputed fact.

      New England is favored by 9.5 points Sunday in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars, who upset the No. 2 seed in the AFC last week with a 45-42 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      "When you're playing against New England, who hasn't been an underdog?" Marrone quipped.

      --The New York Jets will move on from offensive coordinator John Morton after one season with the team, according to multiple reports.

      According to the New York Daily News, which first reported the story, quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates is "a strong candidate" to fill the coordinator vacancy, but it is not a done deal yet.

      The Jets finished 28th in yards per game and 24th in points in 2017, Morton's first season as a coordinator in the NFL. Morton spent the previous six years coaching wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, after a four-year stint at USC as wide receivers coach and then offensive coordinator.

      --Gene Steratore will serve as referee for Super Bowl LII, the NFL announced.

      Steratore has never been referee for the Super Bowl, though he served as an alternate for Super Bowl XLIV. He leads a seven-person crew of on-field officials that includes Roy Ellison (umpire), Jerry Bergman (down judge), Byron Boston (line judge), Tom Hill (field judge), Scott Edwards (side judge) and Perry Paganelli (back judge). Paul Weidner is the replay official.

      Steratore also worked last Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints. The 54-year-old has officiated 11 playoff games, including two conference championships, and is in his 15th season as an NFL game official after entering the league as a field judge in 2003 and being promoted to referee in 2006.

      --Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry says contract talks have been "disrespectful" but he still wants to remain with the team.

      The Dolphins made an offer to Landry's agent, Damarius Bilbo, in early December and he made a counter offer in mid-December, according to the Miami Herald. The Dolphins have not yet responded to that offer, Bilbo told the newspaper.

      Landry, 25, can become an unrestricted free agent in March. He had an NFL-leading 112 receptions this season for 987 yards and nine touchdowns, and has 400 receptions for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns in four seasons, making the Pro Bowl after the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

      --Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane recorded a blood-alcohol-content level below the legal limit during his arrest for driving under the influence Sunday morning, but Lane admitted to using marijuana before driving, according to a police report.

      The report states Lane was concerned about people thinking he was drunk, quoting him as saying, "This time I was more high than anything."

      Lane, 27, was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol officer east of Seattle on Interstate 90 for going 80 mph in a 60-mph zone. According to the report, his hazard lights were on and his vehicle was drifting and changing lanes without signaling. Traveling with one passenger, Lane said he was going home because his alarm system had been triggered.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Jets fire OC Morton after one season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    The New York Jets will move on from offensive coordinator John Morton after one season with the team, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    • According to the New York Daily News, which first reported the story, quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates is "a strong candidate" to fill the coordinator vacancy, but it is not a done deal yet.

      The Jets finished 28th in yards per game and 24th in points in 2017, Morton's first season as a coordinator in the NFL. Prior to quarterback Josh McCown's season-ending injury in Week 14, New York ranked 17th in yards per game and tied for 10th in offensive points per game, despite cutting veterans Nick Mangold and Brandon Marshall last offseason and losing wideout Quincy Enunwa to a season-ending neck injury in August.

      Morton spent the previous six years coaching wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints, after a four-year stint at USC as wide receivers coach and then offensive coordinator.

      Bates joined the Jets last offseason for his second stint as quarterbacks coach, after holding the same position for one year in 2005. He has one year of experience as an offensive coordinator, in 2010 with the Seattle Seahawks, and was out of coaching from 2013-16. He previously spent time with the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Steratore to ref Super Bowl LII
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Gene Steratore will serve as referee for Super Bowl LII, the NFL announced Wednesday.

    • Steratore has never been referee for the Super Bowl, though he served as an alternate for Super Bowl XLIV. He leads a seven-person crew of on-field officials that includes Roy Ellison (umpire), Jerry Bergman (down judge), Byron Boston (line judge), Tom Hill (field judge), Scott Edwards (side judge) and Perry Paganelli (back judge). Paul Weidner is the replay official.

      To be eligible for the Super Bowl, officials must rate in the top tier at their position, have at least five years of NFL experience and have previous playoff assignments. Steratore also worked last Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints.

      The 54-year-old has officiated 11 playoff games, including two conference championships, and is in his 15th season as an NFL game official after entering the league as a field judge in 2003 and being promoted to referee in 2006.

      Steratore made headlines last month when he used an index card to help measure a first down during a Week 15 game between the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders. An NFL spokesman said afterward that the decision was "very unusual" but did not violate league rules. Several days later, senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron told officials to no longer use index cards or any other foreign objects to measure ball placement.

      Super Bowl LII will be played Sunday, Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

      --Field Level Media

  • Brady (hand) limited; Thielen (back) misses practice
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    With Championship Sunday drawing near, both favored teams have an injury to a star player listed on Wednesday's report.

    • New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was limited with a right hand injury and missed his regular media availability because he was with the team's medical staff, the Patriots announced.

      According to a Boston Herald report, Brady jammed the hand in an accidental collision during practice, but X-rays showed no structural damage.

      It's the first time this season that Brady has been on the report for an injury to his throwing hand. He missed practice or was limited due to two other injuries -- his left shoulder (Weeks 6 and 17) and Achilles (Weeks 12-15, 17).

      The 40-year-old played 78 of 81 snaps in Saturday night's divisional playoff win against the Tennessee Titans, with backup Brian Hoyer handling three kneel-downs to end the game. Brady finished with 337 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 102.5 rating in the 35-14 win.

      All four of the others listed on New England's injury report -- Alan Branch, Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, LaAdrian Waddle -- got in limited practices with knee injuries in preparation for Sunday's AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

      Cornerback Jonathan Jones was placed on injured reserve with an injury he suffered Saturday against the Tennessee Titans. A core special-teamer, Jones started four games this season, recording 44 tackles, eight passes defensed and an interception.

      Meanwhile, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen missed Wednesday's practice with a low back injury.

      The 27-year-old Thielen was not on the team's injury report last week. He played 77 of 81 snaps in Sunday's 29-24 win over the New Orleans Saints, making six catches for 74 yards. He has played in all 50 possible games (including playoffs) since making the Vikings' 53-man roster in 2014.

      Vikings nose tackle Shamar Stephen (knee/ankle) also missed Wednesday's practice, while safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion) and cornerback Mackensie Alexander (ribs) were limited.

      Sendejo's participation is a good sign after he was concussed in a collision with Saints receiver Michael Thomas on Sunday, giving him a chance to clear protocol in time to play against the Philadelphia Eagles.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dolphins WR Landry: Contract talks 'disrespectful'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry says contract talks have been "disrespectful" but he still wants to remain with the team.

    • The Dolphins made an offer to Landry's agent, Damarius Bilbo, in early December and he made a counter offer in mid-December, according to the Miami Herald. The Dolphins have not yet responded to that offer, Bilbo told the newspaper.

      Landry, 25, can become an unrestricted free agent in March. He had an NFL-leading 112 receptions this season for 987 yards and nine touchdowns.

      "My agent and I talked about being a leader and setting a good example, so I silenced all those things by going to OTAs and training camp, by putting the team first and being a team guy," Landry told the Miami Herald.

      "I feel like in the NFL, they preach loyalty and family and they have none for you. As a player, you see it's not a family during negotiations, how it becomes them versus me or me versus them. That's part of the NFL I believe the fans don't see.

      "From the offer process until this point was disrespectful. I tried to handle it the right way and figured if a team values you and wants you to be a part of the team, why haven't they answered in the past month?"

      The Dolphins drafted Landry in the second round in 2014 out of LSU. He has 400 receptions for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns in four seasons, making the Pro Bowl after the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

      Bilbo also said that while Landry wants to stay with the Dolphins, he won't be playing at a team-friendly rate.

      "How long has this franchise been around?" Bilbo told the Palm Beach Post. "It's always going to be here. Take a discount? Absolutely not. This may be Jarvis' first and last time to set himself up and his family up. He needs to strike and strike while the iron is hot."

      The Dolphins could place either a franchise tag or a transition tag on Landry prior to March 6.

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks CB Lane admitted to marijuana use during DUI arrest
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane recorded a blood-alcohol-content level below the legal limit during his arrest for driving under the influence Sunday morning, but Lane admitted to using marijuana before driving, according to a police report.

    • The report states Lane was concerned about people thinking he was drunk, quoting him as saying, "This time I was more high than anything."

      Lane, 27, was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol officer east of Seattle on Interstate 90 for going 80 mph in a 60-mph zone. According to the report, his hazard lights were on and his vehicle was drifting and changing lanes without signaling. Traveling with one passenger, Lane said he was going home because his alarm system had been triggered.

      According to the report, Lane told the officer he hadn't been drinking and that he had smoked marijuana about three hours earlier. The officer noticed "a strong odor of burnt marijuana inside the vehicle" when Lane rolled down the window and "a moderate odor of intoxicants emanating from Lane in the open air" after Lane stepped out of the car.

      Lane showed possible signs of impairment in three field sobriety tests and had watery, bloodshot eyes and slowed, slurred speech, according to the report. He agreed to take a breath test and recorded a .039 BAC, less than half of the Washington State legal limit (.08).

      "I explained to Lane several times throughout our contact that he was under arrest because of his driving ability, performance on the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, and admission to smoking marijuana led me to believe that he was impaired by a combination of alcohol and marijuana," the officer wrote in the report.

      In a tweet Monday morning that has since been deleted, Lane wrote, "A fail DUI is 0.08 right? I blew 0.03 why was still arrest!!! I'll leave it at that."

      Lane was released around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, about four hours after his arrest, posting $1,000 bail and released under his own recognizance.

      He has spent all six of his professional seasons with Seattle, which selected him in the sixth round in 2012. He played in 13 games in 2017, starting three and recording 31 tackles.

      The Seahawks actually traded Lane to Houston just before the Nov. 1 deadline this season, but when the cornerback failed his physical, he was sent back to Seattle. The Seahawks instead sent the Texans a pair of draft picks in exchange for offensive lineman Duane Brown.

      --Field Level Media

  • Patriots' Brady named MVP by Pro Football Writers
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the 2017 NFL Most Valuable Player by the Professional Football Writers of America.

    • The PFWA also announced Wednesday that Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was voted Offensive Player of the Year and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell was selected Defensive Player of the Year.

      Brady, in his 18th NFL season, is the 44th MVP honored by the PFWA, earning the award for the third time (2007, 2010). He is second behind Peyton Manning, who had four (2004, 2008, 2009, 2013).

      The 40-year-old Brady started all 16 games in 2017 and completed 385 of 581 passes (66.3 percent) for a league-leading 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He had a 102.8 passer rating (third in the NFL) as the Patriots gained the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed with a 13-3 record behind 458 points scored (second in the NFL).

      Gurley, in his third season, became the fourth Rams player to be selected as PFWA Offensive Player of the Year, with quarterback Kurt Warner (1999) and running back Marshall Faulk (2000-01). He is the first running back to win the Offensive Player of the Year award since DeMarco Murray (2014). Gurley was selected to the PFWA's 2017 All-NFL and All-NFC teams.

      Gurley started 15 games in 2017, rushing 279 times for 1,305 yards (second in the NFL) and 13 touchdowns. He also caught a team-high 64 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns to lead the NFL in both total yards from scrimmage (2,093) and total touchdowns (19).

      Campbell, in his 10th season, started all 16 games and had 67 total tackles, an AFC-leading and team record 14.5 sacks (second in the NFL). He also had 14 tackles for loss, 30 quarterback hits, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He set a team record with four sacks in the season opener at Houston on Sept. 10.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings QB Keenum: Good job predicting Foles-Keenum championship game
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum was struggling to recall the prognosticator who predicted the 2018 NFC Championship Game starting quarterbacks: Keenum and his former teammate, Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles.

    • Keenum congratulated anyone who saw the Keenum-Foles title game coming prior to this season on Wednesday as the Vikings took the field to begin preparation for the Eagles. Philadelphia, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, will host Minnesota on Sunday.

      "I know this is what all of you guys predicted back in the day, a Foles vs. Keenum NFC Championship. So good job to all of you guys who predicted that," Keenum said with a sly smile.

      Of course, no educated observer would have guessed Keenum, who started the season as the ideal No. 3 quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, would be dueling with Foles for a shot at the Super Bowl in January. Too many plot shifts took place to get the teams to this point.

      From 2014-2016, Keenum and Foles were in the bottom five in passer rating among the 36 quarterbacks with at least 15 starts. So was Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, who starts in the AFC title game at New England on Sunday.

  • Marrone, Jaguars on Patriots: Expected to be underdogs
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    By virtue of winning five Super Bowls during the ongoing reign of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are favorites this time of year, an idea Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone views as undisputed fact.

    • New England is favored by 9.5 points Sunday in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars, who upset the No. 2 seed in the AFC last week with a 45-42 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      "When you're playing against New England, who hasn't been an underdog?" Marrone quipped Wednesday.

      Vegas oddsmakers sided with the Patriots in all 18 of their games this season. The last time the Patriots were underdogs was Week 1 of the 2016 season, when Brady was on the sideline watching Jimmy Garoppolo start at Arizona. With Brady healthy, the Patriots haven't been the underdog since 2014.

      Since 2002, the Patriots are 124-24 (83.8 winning percentage) in the regular and postseason at Gillette Stadium.

      "One time, someone asked what's the toughest place to play," Marrone said. "I said Gillette Stadium in New England. They said, come on. I'm like, look at their record. I've always thought it was the most difficult place I've ever played."

      As head coach of the Bills, Marrone was 1-1 at New England. But the Jaguars are 0-10 against the Patriots overall since their lone win in the all-time series in the 1999 wild-card game at Jacksonville.

      Belichick endorsed Marrone as head coach of the Jaguars during the interview process last January. The two teams shared the field in joint training camp practices in August.

      But Belichick needed some time to get up to speed on Jacksonville's personnel on Monday, he admitted, without directly indicating the team had planned to see the Steelers in a repeat of the 2017 AFC Championship. He pointed directly at the size and athleticism on defense as a concern.

      "They have some fast players. Some big players, too, like (defensive tackles) Marcell Dareus, Malik Jackson and guys like that," Belichick said. "I mean, they've got a lot of good football players. They bring a lot of problems. They bring speed, size, power, instincts, athleticism. (Jalen) Ramsey -- I mean, he's a big corner now. They've got a lot of good football players that have a lot of skill."

      Marrone might be able to glean some big-game advice from Tom Coughlin, who guided the New York Giants to wins over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI. Coughlin, vice president of football operations for the Jaguars, preached "disciplined pressure" with the front four to contain Brady when he was with the Giants.

      "You have to be very disciplined, especially against teams like the Patriots," Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said in an interview with NFL Network's Rich Eisen this week. "(Coughlin) established that and accountability from the day he got here."

      --Field Level Media

  • Steelers part ways with OC Haley, expected to promote Fichtner
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley will not return for the 2018 season, ending a six-year run with the team, and quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner is expected to replace him.

    • The 50-year-old Haley's contract is expiring and he won't get a new deal to remain in Pittsburgh, head coach Mike Tomlin announced Wednesday.

      "I have made the decision to not renew the contract for offensive coordinator Todd Haley," Tomlin said in a statement. "I would like to thank Todd for his contributions to our offense the past six years, and we wish him the best in his coaching future."

      The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported later Wednesday that the team is prepared to promote Fichtner to offensive coordinator, pending final approval of his contract.

      Fichtner coached in college from 1986 to 2006, serving as offensive coordinator at Arkansas State (1997 to 2000) and Memphis (2001-2006). He has spent all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Steelers, spending three years as wide receivers coach before moving to QBs in 2010.

      The change comes after the Steelers' 45-42 divisional playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

      The play-calling in Haley's offenses had been among the NFL's best while working with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the duo reportedly struggled to get along.

      "The relationship has been strained so much," Rapoport told NFL Network, that the Steelers were forced to bring Fichtner down from the booth to the sideline "to serve as a conduit" between Big Ben and Haley.

      Haley and Roethlisberger met this week and spoke fondly of their season together, the quarterback said Tuesday.

      "You might butt heads at times -- it doesn't mean that you have any personal problems," Roethlisberger said in response to reports about a fractured relationship with Haley.

      Roethlisberger revealed during his radio show that he wasn't allowed to audible out of Haley's play calls, saying that rule came directly from Tomlin.

      "I have asked for it. I am fine with it. If they want to call it, I'm all for it," Roethlisberger said.

      Tomlin was vague on Tuesday when discussing the future of his coaching staff, including Haley.

      "Some conversations need to be had. Some contracts are up, some contracts aren't," Tomlin said. "I'm not ready to discuss that at this point. Part of that, gaining that understanding is having those conversations. You'll hear about it as they unfold, I'm sure, if there's anything to be heard. But I'm not there yet."

      Tomlin was asked whether Haley's work was satisfactory.

      "What you're willing to do is what defines you and what you're willing to do on a consistent basis -- how selfless are you?" Tomlin said. "How willing are you to put our goals and agenda in front of anything that might be on your checklist or to-do list?"

      Before Haley came to Pittsburgh in 2012, he was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs (2009-11) for three seasons, going 19-26. He also served as the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals (2007-08).

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Steelers OL coach Munchak declines second Cardinals interview
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

    Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak turned down a second interview for the Arizona Cardinals' head-coaching job, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

    • Munchak, 57, reportedly met with Arizona during the Steelers' wild-card weekend bye.

      Munchak, who has been Pittsburgh's offensive line coach since 2014, was head coach of the Tennessee Titans for three seasons. He compiled a 22-26 record with the Titans (2011-13) and was fired after he refused to make requested changes in his coaching staff.

      Munchak is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as an offensive lineman after a 12-year playing career with the Titans/Houston Oilers franchise.

      Other candidates who interviewed for the vacancy in Arizona included New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo.

      DeFilippo will reportedly be among the candidates that the Cardinals will interview a second time.

      The Cardinals are seeking a replacement for Bruce Arians, who announced his retirement on Jan. 1 after five seasons with the Cardinals.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kaepernick to make final donation of $1M charity pledge
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Despite failing to find an NFL team to sign him since last playing in 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick says he will make good on a promise to give $1 million to charitable organizations in oppressed areas.

    • Since making his "Million Dollar Pledge" in Sept. 2016, Kaepernick has given money to 31 separate charities. On his Instagram page Tuesday, the former QB revealed he has decided on the recipient of his final gift to complete his plan.

      (SOCIAL)

      I'm proud to say that as part of my Million Dollar Pledge, I've donated $900,000 to 31 organizations fighting toward social justice. Its been a privilege to be able to do my part in helping organizations like Mother's Against Police Brutality to provide comfort and support for families when law enforcement kills a community member, Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure to provide furniture to single mothers and Meals on Wheels who feed those less fortunate - just to highlight a few. Hearing about how each organization utilized the donations reaffirms that people doing good work need more support. As we welcome 2018, we also see that our work is not done. Tomorrow, I'll be announcing the final $100,000 to complete my Million Dollar Pledge. I'm excited to share this last round of donations with all of you. You can see all 31 donations I've made so far and what they used the money for on http://www.kaepernick7.com #MillionDollarPledge #10for10

      A post shared by colin kaepernick (@kaepernick7) on Jan 16, 2018 at 1:07pm PST

      (SOCIAL)

      In the post, Kaepernick wrote:

      "I'm proud to say that as part of my Million Dollar Pledge, I've donated $900,000 to 31 organizations fighting toward social justice. Its been a privilege to be able to do my part in helping organizations like Mother's Against Police Brutality to provide comfort and support for families when law enforcement kills a community member, Helping Oppressed Mothers Endure to provide furniture to single mothers and Meals on Wheels who feed those less fortunate - just to highlight a few. Hearing about how each organization utilized the donations reaffirms that people doing good work need more support.

      As we welcome 2018, we also see that our work is not done.

      Tomorrow, I'll be announcing the final $100,000 to complete my Million Dollar Pledge. I'm excited to share this last round of donations with all of you. You can see all 31 donations I've made so far and what they used the money for on http://www.kaepernick7.com#MillionDollarPledge #10for10"

      The former NFL star has become a controversial figure since starting his silent protests during his final season with the 49ers when he began his ritual of kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games. He has been called out by several political and veteran groups as well as President Trump, and remains unemployed after the 49ers released him following the 2016 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks hire new offensive, defensive coordinators
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    The coaching staff shakeup in Seattle continued Tuesday as the Seahawks announced the hiring of three new assistants, including both offensive and defensive coordinators.

    • Ken Norton Jr., the team's linebackers coach from 2010-14, rejoins to work under head coach Pete Carroll after serving the past three seasons as defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. Brian Schottenheimer will lead the Seattle offense coming off a two-year stint as the Indianapolis Colts' quarterbacks coach.

      The team also hired Mike Solari to coach the offensive line, replacing Tom Cable, who was fired a week ago along with then-defensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

      In announcing the moves, the team also fired defensive coordinator Kris Richard, who was promoted by Seattle in 2015 from defensive backs coach over Norton. Richard reportedly has interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts amid reports that Carroll was looking to make several changes on his staff after the Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

      Norton, a three-time Super Bowl champion during his 13-year playing career with Dallas and San Francisco, accepted a new job with the 49ers a week ago as the team's linebackers coach. However, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said in a statement Monday that the 51-year-old Norton Jr. was being released from his contract after the Seahawks offered the more prominent position.

      Norton began his coaching career under Carroll at USC in 2004, where the former UCLA star linebacker worked for six seasons until joining Carroll in Seattle in 2010. After being passed over for Richard for the Seahawks' defensive coordinator job in 2015, Norton ran the Raiders' defense until being fired 10 games into the 2017 season.

      Schottenheimer, 44, has coached in the NFL for 18 seasons -- including nine as offensive coordinator (2006-11 with New York Jets, 2012-14 with St. Louis Rams). He brings a run-heavy reputation to Seattle, something Carroll is rumored to be looking to get back to after his offense was carried almost exclusively by quarterback Russell Wilson the past two seasons. The Seahawks ranked in the league's bottom 10 in rushing offense each of the past two seasons, a far cry from Seattle's top-five rushing ranking from 2012-15.

      Solari, 63, joins his sixth NFL organization as an assistant coach -- including a two-year stint as the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator in 2006-07. He most recently worked as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants the past two seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Brees hopeful he can remain with Saints
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Drew Brees is ready to being his 13th year with the New Orleans Saints.

    • All that stands between the 39-year-old quarterback and the 2018 season with the Saints is a new contract. However, Brees sounds entirely optimistic about his future being in New Orleans even as the final days of his existing five-year, $100 million contract melt away with the Saints watching the remainder of the playoffs.

      "I'm not in the mood to make anything secretive," Brees said Tuesday when asked if he is prepared to be chased down for answers about where he will be next season. "It's the same way I felt two days ago. It's the same way I felt 12 years ago. That is that I'll be here as long as they'll have me, hopefully."

      Because of a clause in his contract, the Saints cannot use the franchise tag to retain Brees, so keeping him certainly means a multiyear agreement. Brees said he will play well into his 40s, and he turned 39 on Monday, the day after the Saints were eliminated from the postseason on a last-second touchdown by Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

      --Don't pencil Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in for three more seasons just yet.

      A report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday said Roethlisberger told his teammates he would like to play at least three more seasons. When asked about that report during his weekly radio show Tuesday morning, the 35-year-old said he is looking at just one year at a time.

      Key to Roethlisberger's decision-making process is continuity on the Steelers' staff. The signal-caller already cited the return of his entire starting offensive line as a reason he would be back to play in 2018. Now, the offensive coordinator job is in focus, as Todd Haley's contract is up.

      --Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars dodged a major scare when the rookie running back was involved in a minor car accident.

      Fournette, who had three touchdowns last week at Pittsburgh to carry the Jaguars into the AFC Championship Game, had his car rear-ended in the Tuesday collision but suffered no injuries.

      Sgt. Dylan Bryan of the Florida Highway Patrol described the three-car collision as a "chain-reaction" accident on Interstate 295 near Jacksonville's Dames Point Bridge, USA Today Sports reported. Fournette's car was struck from behind by another vehicle, which was pushed forward after it had been rear-ended.

      --Those wondering if Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril might call it a career as head coach Pete Carroll suggested got their answer.

      Avril, 31, said he plans to be in the NFL next season, running counter to Carroll's statement that Avril and safety Kam Chancellor likely sustained career-ending neck injuries last season. Avril has spent the past five seasons with the Seahawks and has 74 career sacks.

      "I mean, it's something I love to do. It's what I've been doing forever and, just as a competitor, I want to show that I can come back if it's possible, you know?" Avril said on NFL Network.

      --After the surprising departure of head coach Mike Mularkey on Monday, the Tennessee Titans got their coaching search well underway, with a few candidates already emerging.

      According to multiple reports, the team will interview Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur for the vacancy, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich could also be a candidate. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been connected with the opening in part because of his background with general manager Jon Robinson, but he is expected to take the Indianapolis Colts job.

      Robinson mentioned the importance of "maximizing the skill sets" of the team's players as a major reason for Mularkey's departure. One of those players would be quarterback Marcus Mariota, who took a major step back in his third NFL season after showing promise through two years.

      --Former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo interviewed for the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator job, according to multiple reports.

      McAdoo was fired by the Giants on Dec. 4, along with general manager Jerry Reese, after the team started 2-10 in his second season and he benched quarterback Eli Manning. He was previously New York's offensive coordinator for two seasons.

      The Browns have not confirmed candidates for the position since head coach Hue Jackson decided to relinquish play-calling responsibilities. However, Jackson reportedly previously met with Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. Mularkey also be a candidate, Cleveland.com reported.

      --Retired NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is interested in being a minority owner of the Carolina Panthers, but he is not involved in the group headed by Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates, a minority owner with Chip Ganassi Racing.

      Earnhardt told The Associated Press that he recently called Marcus Smith, the president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., about potential involvement in purchasing the Panthers.

      Sabates told the Charlotte Observer that two NASCAR drivers were involved with his group and that he had been in contact with Smith about joining his group planning to make a bid. That immediately started people thinking that Earnhardt, a native of nearby Kannapolis, might already be involved, but Earnhardt clarified that he isn't one of two drivers involved with Sabates.

      --When the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, paving the way for the Buffalo Bills to reach the playoffs, thankful Bills fans showed their appreciation by donating to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's charitable foundation.

      Now, Bengals fans are following suit by rewarding Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles for defeating their division rival in the playoffs. According to the Blake Bortles Foundation, more than 100 fans donated close to $5,000 since the Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in the AFC divisional round on Sunday.

      "Fans are at the core of the football experience and it's truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others," Bortles said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference."

      --Field Level Media

  • Pay it forward: Bengals fans donate to Jags QB Bortles' charity
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    When the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17, paving the way for the Buffalo Bills to reach the playoffs, thankful Bills fans showed their appreciation by donating to Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton's charitable foundation.

    • Now, Bengals fans are following suit by rewarding Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles for defeating their division rival in the playoffs.

      According to the Blake Bortles Foundation, more than 100 fans have donated close to $5,000 since the Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in the AFC divisional round on Sunday.

      "Fans are at the core of the football experience and it's truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others," Bortles said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference."

      The Blake Bortles Foundation attributed the wave of support to Cincinnati radio host Mo Egger of ESPN1530, who urged Bengals fans on air to pay it forward as a way to stick it to Steelers fans. Bills fans ended up donating more than $300,000 to Dalton's foundation, The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation, after Week 17.

      Bortles threw for 214 yards and had a touchdown in the Jaguars' playoff win over the Steelers. His touchdown pass to fullback Tommy Bohanon with 4:19 remaining put Jacksonville up 42-28 at the time.

      The Blake Bortles Foundation supports children with intellectual and developmental challenges as they pursue independent, active lives and provides assistance to first responders.

      --Field Level Media

  • Earnhardt not part of group seeking to buy Panthers
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Retired NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he is interested in being a minority owner of the Carolina Panthers, but he is not involved in the group headed by Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates, a minority owner with Chip Ganassi Racing.

    • Earnhardt told The Associated Press that he recently called Marcus Smith, the president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., about potential involvement in purchasing the Panthers.

      Sabates told The Charlotte Observer that two NASCAR drivers were involved with his group and that he'd been in contact with Smith about joining his group planning to make a bid.

      That immediately started people thinking that Earnhardt, a native of nearby Kannapolis, might already be involved.

      "(Felix) did not ask me to be involved," Earnhardt said. "I did call Marcus and I said, 'Hey, Marcus, if you guys are in the middle of it and you think it's a good business deal, I definitely have some interest.' But I am not one of the guys that Felix is talking about."

      Forbes recently valued the Panthers at $2.3 billion and estimates Earnhardt's net worth is about $300 million.

      "I wouldn't have the kind of money where I would move the needle too much, but it would be something to have a lot of pride in, and a good Charlotte NFL team is good for the city of Charlotte," Earnhardt said. "I wish them success because of what it does for our community, not only from a pride standpoint but (from) an economical standpoint."

      Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced last month that he would put the team up for sale after the season. The NFL has said it would like the team to remain in Charlotte.

      -- Field Level Media

  • Steelers QB Roethlisberger: 'Playing it one year at a time'
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Don't pencil Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in for three more seasons just yet.

    • A report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday said Roethlisberger has told his teammates he'd like to play at least three more seasons. When asked about that report during his weekly radio show Tuesday morning, the 35-year-old scaled back from such a timeline.

      "I'm just playing it one year at a time. I'm excited to come back next year," said Roethlisberger. "I'm not going to look past one year. I'm going to look forward to next year and give it everything I have."

      Key to Roethlisberger's decision-making process is continuity on the Steelers' staff. The signal-caller already cited the return of his entire starting offensive line as a reason he'll be back to play in 2018. Now, the offensive coordinator job is in focus, as Todd Haley's contract is up.

      Head coach Mike Tomlin was vague when discussing the future of Haley and the rest of his staff when speaking with reporters Tuesday.

      "Some conversations need to be had. Some contracts are up, some contracts aren't," Tomlin said. "I'm not ready to discuss that at this point. Part of that, gaining that understanding is having those conversations. You'll hear about it as they unfold, I'm sure, if there's anything to be heard. But I'm not there yet."

      Haley has been Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator since joining the team in February 2012. Multiple reports indicate the his relationship with Roethlisberger has been fractured in recent years, but the quarterback wouldn't admit to that being the case when asked about it.

      "You might butt heads at times, it doesn't mean that you have any personal problems," Roethlisberger said.

      Roethlisberger's contract with Pittsburgh runs through the 2019 season, and he is slated to carry a cap hit of $23.2 million each of the next two seasons. Roethlisberger has played all 14 of his NFL seasons with the Steelers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Jaguars RB Fournette uninjured in car accident
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Leonard Fournette and the Jacksonville Jaguars dodged a major scare when the rookie running back was involved in a minor car accident on Tuesday.

    • Fournette, who had three touchdowns last week at Pittsburgh to carry the Jaguars into the AFC Championship game, was rear-ended in the collision but suffered no injuries.

      "Leonard is OK and was able to drive home," the Jaguars said in a statement. "Appreciate everyone that has reached out to check on him."

      Sgt. Dylan Bryan of the Florida Highway Patrol described the three-car collision as a "chain-reaction" accident on Interstate 295 near Jacksonville's Dames Point Bridge, USA Today Sports reported.

      Fournette's car was struck from behind by another vehicle, which was pushed forward after it had been rear-ended.

      "Nobody was injured," FHP said Tuesday. "The scene is cleared."

      --Field Level Media

  • Brees reaffirms commitment to Saints
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Drew Brees is ready to being his 13th year with the New Orleans Saints.

    • All that stands between the 39-year-old quarterback and the 2018 season with the Saints is a new contract.

      But Brees sounds entirely optimistic about his future being in New Orleans as his the final days of his existing five-year, $100 million contract melt away with the Saints watching the remainder of the playoffs.

      "I'm not in the mood to make anything secretive," Brees said Tuesday when asked if he's prepared to be chased down for answers about where he'll be next season. "It's the same way I felt two days ago. It's the same way I felt 12 years ago. That is that I'll be here as long as they'll have me, hopefully."

      Because of a clause in his contract, the Saints cannot use the franchise tag to retain Brees. Keeping him certainly means a multi-year agreement. Brees said he will play well into his 40s. He turned 39 on Monday, the day after the Saints were eliminated from the postseason on a last-second touchdown by Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

      The door opens to free agency on March 16, when the other 31 NFL teams could approach Brees with their own contract offers.

      "We're just two days removed, so I really haven't given it a ton of thought -- other than, I know where my mindset's been the whole time, and that's that I'll be here."

      Brees' last one-year extension was worth $24.25 million.

      The Saints won the NFC South and should bring back the majority of their starters on both sides of the ball.

      "I feel like we have a great window of opportunity. I've been a part of talented teams in the past throughout my career, though, that have not lived up to expectations. I've also been a part of teams that were just gutsy and gritty, and surpassed expectations," Brees said. "So the bottom line is that success is dependent upon your willingness to work and the way that guys care about each other and the sense of urgency. So while I think we do have a talented team, I know that each year you have to go out and prove it."

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Browns interviewing fired Giants coach McAdoo
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    Former New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo interviewed to be Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator on Tuesday according to multiple reports.

    • McAdoo was fired by the Giants on Dec. 4 along with General Manager Jerry Reese after the team started 2-10 in his second season and benched quarterback Eli Manning. He was previously New York's offensive coordinator for two seasons.

      The Browns have not confirmed candidates for the position since head coach Hue Jackson decided to relinquish play-calling responsibilities. However, Jackson reportedly previously met with Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey, who was fired Monday, could also be a candidate, Cleveland.com reported.

      McAdoo spent seven years in Green Bay with Browns General Manager John Dorsey from 2006 through 2012. He served as tight ends coach there from 2006-11 and quarterbacks coach in 2012 and 2013.

      The Browns hired Giants assistant Adam Henry last week to coach wide receivers. Henry was on Jackson's staff with the Raiders in 2011.

      -- Field Level Media

  • Reports: Titans to interview Vrabel, Wilks, LaFleur
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 15, 2018

    After the surprising departure of head coach Mike Mularkey on Monday, the Tennessee Titans' coaching search is well underway, with a few candidates already emerging.

    • According to multiple reports, the team will interview Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur for the vacancy, and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich could also be a candidate. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been connected with the opening in part because of his background with general manager Jon Robinson, but he is expected to take the Indianapolis Colts job.

      The pool of options could certainly grow.

      "We don't have a set number on how many (candidates) we would like to talk to," Robinson, who is leading the search, told reporters. "We'll talk to as many as it takes to get the right guy to lead this team moving forward. There's not a set number on candidates. We want the right man for the job."

      Robinson mentioned the importance of "maximizing the skill sets" of the team's players as a major reason for Mularkey's departure. One of those players would be quarterback Marcus Mariota, who took a major step back in his third NFL season after showing promise through two years. The QB's development could be a key factor in deciding who will ultimately replace Mularkey.

      The 38-year-old LaFleur has just one year of coordinator experience, but he and Sean McVay helped Jared Goff make a remarkable turnaround this season after a disastrous rookie campaign. A year earlier, LaFleur served as the Atlanta Falcons' quarterbacks coach during Matt Ryan's MVP season, as the Falcons' offense was one of the most productive in NFL history.

      Reich, 56, has spent the last two years developing Carson Wentz, who drew some MVP buzz of his own until suffering a season-ending injury in Week 14 this season. He was with the then-San Diego Chargers from 2013 to 2015, coaching QBs for a season before a promotion to offensive coordinator.

      The Texans finished dead last in points allowed in 2017, Vrabel's first year as a coordinator, but that hasn't squashed interest in the 42-year-old. He interviewed for the Lions' and Colts' vacancies and is reportedly a finalist in Indianapolis as a second choice after McDaniels.

      Wilks, 48, also has one year of coordinator experience and has drawn extensive interest, interviewing with the Giants and Arizona Cardinals while turning down interviews with the Lions and Colts. He is reportedly the Cardinals' second choice behind Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who is expected to take the Giants' job. Interviewing Wilks would satisfy the Rooney Rule in the Titans' search.

      Tennessee's next head coach will be the team's fourth since firing Jeff Fisher in January of 2011 after he spent 16 years with the franchise.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mike Tomlin, Sean Payton to coach Pro Bowl
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 15, 2018

    The staffs of the Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints will coach in the 2018 Pro Bowl, the NFL announced Monday.

    • The game will kick off at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 28 in Orlando, with light practices and skills challenges taking place in the week leading up to the game.

      Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will guide the AFC with help from "Legends" captains LaDainian Tomlinson and Jason Taylor, who will lead the offense and defense respectively. Saints head coach Sean Payton will have Warrick Dunn (offense) and Derrick Brooks (defense) helping him lead the NFC.

      Pro Bowl coaching staffs typically come from the highest-ranked team in each conference to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs, as the Steelers and Saints did on Sunday. Exceptions are made when such a team makes a head-coaching change following its playoff defeat.

      Each team's quarterback was selected to the Pro Bowl in December, with Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees earning their sixth and 11th career nods, respectively. It remains unclear if either will play in the game, though neither was listed on his team's final injury report of the season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks DE Avril focused on playing in 2018
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 15, 2018

    Those wondering if Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril might call it a career as head coach Pete Carroll suggested got their answer on Monday.

    • Avril, 31, said he plans to be in the NFL next season, running counter to Carroll's statement that Avril and safety Kam Chancellor likely suffered career-ending neck injuries last season.

      "I mean, it's something I love to do. It's what I've been doing forever and, just as a competitor, I want to show that I can come back if it's possible, you know?" Avril said on NFL Network. "You do see all the injuries. You see the game from a different perspective when you're on the sideline. And those thoughts do definitely pop into my head of 'should I come back or not?' But again, right now it's all about recovery."

      Avril was injured trying to make a diving tackle in October against the Indianapolis Colts. His head snapped back as he tried to reach for the foot of quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

      Avril, 31, was placed on season-ending injured reserve and Carroll has long stated that the team is in a holding pattern with the 10-year veteran. Avril has spent the past five seasons with the Seahawks and has 74 career sacks. He had one sack through the first four games this season.

      "Cliff and Kam are going to have a hard time playing football again," Carroll told 710 ESPN radio in Seattle last month.

      Avril has one year remaining on the four-year, $28.5 million contract he signed in 2015. He is due $7 million in base salary next season.

      --Field Level Media