NFL Notes

Ex-Eagles RBs ailing for wild-card weekend

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Ex-Eagles RBs ailing for wild-card weekend

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy says he's making progress with his right ankle injury but his status is uncertain for Sunday's AFC wild-card playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

McCoy spoke to the media on Thursday for the first time since suffering the injury in Sunday's 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. He has yet to practice this week, but did participate in stretches Thursday before leaving the field with a trainer.

"I'm definitely happy with how things are working out so far, but there is a lot more room for improvement, especially with where I want to be," McCoy said. "I know my body, I know myself, especially the way I play is more cutting and running.

"It's been feeling a lot better. I'm out of the boot and I can walk around without any pain. So that's a plus."

McCoy has been Buffalo's most explosive and most consistent playmaker, finishing the year with 1,138 rushing yards and six touchdowns. His absence would leave a hole in Buffalo's offensive attack; the Bills finished the regular season with the 31st-ranked passing attack in the league.

"I just want to be able to cut well enough where I don't have a lot of pain when I'm cutting," McCoy said. "I just want to be close or the best as far as 100 percent as I can get. But the type of game like this, you've got to lay it all on the line. If I can't get 100 percent, as long as I'm out there and I can run effective enough I'll do it. So we'll just see" (see full story).

Titans: Murray out, Spain questionable
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee running back DeMarco Murray will miss his second straight game with the Titans ruling him out against the Kansas City Chiefs in their AFC wild-card game Saturday.

Coach Mike Mularkey had refused to rule the veteran running back out until Thursday.

Murray hurt his right knee late in a loss Dec. 24 to the Los Angeles Rams and has not practiced since. Murray finished the season with a career-worst 659 yards rushing, but he ran for six touchdowns. He also caught 39 passes for 266 yards with another TD.

Mularkey says starting left guard Quinton Spain is questionable for the Titans (9-7) against the Chiefs (10-6) because of his back.

Both tight end Jonnu Smith and cornerback Kalan Reed were cleared from the concussion protocol.

Steelers: Haley says bar incident ‘non-issue’
PITTSBURGH  -- Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley says the team told him an incident at a restaurant last weekend near Heinz Field is a "non-issue."

Haley's wife Christine was involved in what Pittsburgh police described as a minor altercation at Tequila Cowboy on Sunday night a few hours after the Steelers wrapped up the regular season with a victory over the Cleveland Browns. Haley himself was not involved in the incident, though he did sustain a minor injury at some point during the night.

Haley said Thursday the situation was "not of my doing," adding the team has assured him it is not concerned about it going forward. No charges were filed.

Haley says his "sole focus" is on the AFC North champions preparing for the playoffs. Pittsburgh will play a to-be-determined opponent in the divisional round on Jan. 14.

Ravens: Harbaugh retains coaches
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Forced to assess the 2017 season far sooner than anticipated, Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged changes must be made for Baltimore to snap its three-year run missing the playoffs.

He will not, however, shuffle the coaching staff.

Harbaugh will fill the void left by the retirement of defensive coordinator Dean Pees, but said Thursday he will bring back offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and attempt to keep the rest of the staff intact unless "guys get opportunities to go somewhere and do some different things."

Pees announced his retirement Monday, less than 24 hours after the Ravens (9-7) were bounced from the playoff chase with a 31-27 loss to Cincinnati.

The in-house contender for the coordinator job is Ravens linebackers coach Don Martindale. Chuck Pagano, fired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and Baltimore's defensive coordinator in 2011, is also among those being considered.

Asked to describe what he's looking for from Pees' successor, Harbaugh replied: "Definitely continuity. I'm a believer in this system. I think this system has been something that's been developed over a long period of time, and we have worked really hard every single year to make it better. We've evolved it and grown it, and I think you see the results" (see full story).

'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

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'Good chance' Jon Gruden returns to Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a "good chance" it will happen.

Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.

Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN's analyst for "Monday Night Football." He is scheduled to work the network's playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.

Gruden coached Oakland for four years from 1998-2001 before going to Tampa Bay (see full story).

Giants: Interim Spagnuolo interviews to be head coach
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have started the interview process for their head coaching job by starting with the man who ran the team for the final month of a disastrous season.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo was interviewed by new general manager Dave Gettleman, co-owner John Mara and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams Wednesday, three days after the Giants (3-13) ended the season with an 18-10 win over Washington.

Co-owner Steve Tisch will meet with the candidates later in the process.

Spagnuolo posted a 1-3 record after being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace the fired Ben McAdoo on Dec. 4. He has head coaching experience, having guided the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.

The likable Spagnuolo, who was promised an interview after being the interim coach, has had two tours as Giants defensive coordinator. He held the position in 2007-08 and helped the franchise win a Super Bowl. He returned in 2015 working the first year under Tom Coughlin and being retained by McAdoo (see full story).

Bills: McCoy (ankle) misses practice, uncertain vs. Jags
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Bills running back LeSean McCoy missed practice Wednesday because of a right ankle injury and it's uncertain whether he can play Sunday at Jacksonville in Buffalo's first playoff game in 18 years.

Coach Sean McDermott would only list the Bills' top offensive threat as day to day and declined to say whether McCoy would be able to practice at all this week. McCoy did not speak with reporters during time designated for interviews, as team officials said he was being treated by trainers.

McCoy was carted off the field after being hurt on the opening drive of the second half of Buffalo's 22-16 win at Miami on Sunday.

The win coupled with Baltimore's 31-27 loss to Cincinnati clinched Buffalo's first playoff berth since the 1999 season. As the AFC's sixth seed, the Bills (9-7) will face South Division champion Jacksonville (10-6) in a wild-card game.

McCoy leads Buffalo with 1,138 yards rushing, 59 catches and eight touchdowns, including two receiving (see full story).

Vikings: Bradford explains mindset on latest comeback
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The worst-case scenario fear surfaced in Sam Bradford's mind at midseason, in the aftermath of the 30-year-old quarterback's latest surgery on his left knee.

This procedure was an arthroscopic cleanup, not another reconstruction, but that didn't quiet the question about whether he'd be able to resume his career.

"That was a battle I fought for a few weeks," Bradford said. "But it seemed like each day where it got better, each week where it felt like I was making true progress and could do a little bit more, those thoughts started to leave my mind. I started to become more confident in how I felt on my knee and what I was able to do."

Bradford returned to practice with the Minnesota Vikings this week, the earliest he was eligible to do so after being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 8.

The Vikings can put him back on the active roster for the playoffs at any time, with a decision required by Jan. 23 if they advance to the Super Bowl.

Packers: Capers out as defensive coordinator
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have announced the departure of veteran defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and inside linebacker Scott McCurley were also let go.

The moves made earlier this week were announced by coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday.

Packers president Mark Murphy said on Tuesday that McCarthy has the authority to fill the coordinator position without waiting for a new GM. Murphy is leading the search for a replacement for general manager Ted Thompson, who is moving to an advisory role with the team.

Capers had been defensive coordinator since 2009. Green Bay was fifth in overall defense in the Super Bowl-winning season in 2010.

But the defense slipped to 22nd in each of the past two seasons despite being stocked with high draft picks. Injuries have plagued the cornerback position.

More changes to McCarthy's staff could be coming after the team finished below .500 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Raiders: Headquarters land deal offered by city near Vegas
HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Oakland Raiders came one step closer Wednesday to securing the land the team needs for its new headquarters and practice facility near Las Vegas, and at a steep discount.

Officials in suburban Henderson approved a resolution that allows the city to move forward with a direct sale of 55 acres (22 hectares) to the Raiders for more than $6 million -- half the land's appraised value. The city is using a Nevada law that allows for no-bid sales at under-market prices when they are considered to be in the public interest.

"This is an opportunity to take the city of Henderson to a new level," Assistant City Manager Greg Blackburn said during the city council meeting ahead of the resolution vote. "It's hard to put a dollar value to what this does to help us for the future."

The Raiders have promised that the venue will create an estimated 250 full-time jobs not counting players. The team will spend about $75 million to build the complex.

The team wants to kick off its 2020 season at a 65,000-seat domed stadium built partially with taxpayers' money across the freeway from the Las Vegas Strip. The team in May paid $77.5 million for the 62-acre (25-hectare) site and hosted a glitzy groundbreaking ceremony in November (see full story).

5-10 Jets reward GM Maccagnan, head coach Bowles

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5-10 Jets reward GM Maccagnan, head coach Bowles

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are choosing stability over a shake-up.

The team announced Friday it has extended the contracts of general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles, keeping the pair for at least the next three seasons through 2020.

The extensions are for two years each, according to a person with direct knowledge of the contracts. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

"During their time here, they have worked together to help the organization build a foundation on which to grow," acting owner and CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. "They are identifying, developing, and getting productivity out of our players.

"I believe we are headed in the right direction" (see full story).

Cowboys: Smith, Scandrick placed on IR
FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are putting left tackle Tyron Smith and cornerback Orlando Scandrick on injured reserve before the season finale at Philadelphia.

Smith sprained his right knee in a win at Oakland two weeks ago and came out after one series in last week's loss to Seattle, which eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention. Scandrick sustained small bone fractures in his back against Washington and missed three games.

Dallas filled the open roster spots Friday by promoting offensive tackle Kadeem Edwards and receiver Lance Lenoir from the practice squad.

It was a difficult season with injuries for Smith, who made his fifth straight Pro Bowl. He missed two games and sat out practice frequently while dealing with back, hip and groin issues.

After missing just one game in his first five years, Smith has been out all or most of seven games the past two years.

Patriots: Harrison finished discussing Steelers
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- James Harrison is happy to be with Patriots. He's done talking about his departure from the Steelers.

The 39-year-old linebacker would not say what factored into his decision to leave and would not address the critical comments by some former teammates since his release by Pittsburgh last week.

"I like to compete," he said Friday. "That's my main reason to go out and play the game."

Harrison said he didn't receive any other offers after he was released, and he's ready to contribute as needed with the Patriots. New England hosts the Jets on Sunday, needing a win or Steelers loss to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

"I'm going to go out there whenever they ask," Harrison said (see full story).

NFL: Jaguars’ Ngakoue fined over $30K
NEW YORK -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been fined $30,387 by the NFL for making physical contact with a game official during a loss to San Francisco last Sunday.

Ngakoue was assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he bumped referee Jeff Triplette while shouting at 49ers running back Matt Breida as officials were trying to separate Breida and Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

San Francisco's Cassius Marsh was also docked $18,231 on Friday for roughing the passer, as was the Los Angeles Chargers' Joey Bosa. The Chargers' Rayshawn Jenkins was fined $9,115 for unnecessary roughness during a punt against the New York Jets.

Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant was fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct after he threw a punch at New Orleans' Michael Thomas but missed.

Also docked $9,115 were Dallas' Geoff Swaim (illegal crackback block) and Houston's Jadeveon Clowney (facemask).