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AP Source: Titans interested in hiring Williams

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AP Source: Titans interested in hiring Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Gregg Williams may be a step closer to returning to the NFL after being suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints' bounty program.

Titans coach Mike Munchak has talked with Williams and is interested in adding him to his Tennessee staff, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke Sunday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Titans do not discuss personnel moves until they are finalized.

Before the Titans could hire Williams, he must be reinstated by the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Sunday the league has not yet addressed Williams' potential reinstatement.

Munchak did not immediately answer a message left by the AP on Sunday. The Titans coach has not talked with the media about his team since the day after the season ended.

How quickly the league considers reinstating Williams may take at least a week with the San Francisco 49ers arriving in New Orleans on Sunday to kick off festivities leading up to the Feb. 3 Super Bowl.

Williams is the only coach or player who has yet to return to the NFL in the wake of the bounty scandal.

Goodell just lifted the suspension for New Orleans coach Sean Payton on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six. Four current or former Saints players were also suspended after an investigation found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits. The player suspensions eventually were overturned.

Williams was the Saints defensive coordinator from 2009-11 and was hired by St. Louis in January 2012 by former Titans coach Jeff Fisher before being suspended indefinitely in March 20112. Williams' son, Blake, also was on Fisher's staff as the Rams' linebacker coach - but his contract was not renewed earlier this month.

Munchak has known Williams since 1990. Munchak was playing for the then-Houston Oilers when Williams became an assistant coach with the team. They also coached together with the Oilers; Munchak oversaw the offensive line starting in 1994 and Williams rose from defensive assistant to coaching special teams, then linebackers and finally defensive coordinator.

Williams left the Titans to become head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2001 before becoming defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins from 2004-07. He also was defensive coordinator in Jacksonville in 2008 before being hired by the Saints in 2009.

Williams also has a relationship with Munchak's current defensive coordinator, Jerry Gray. When Williams left for Buffalo, Gray went with him and served as Williams' defensive coordinator with the Bills.

Even though Gray currently has the job, the Titans' defense needs help and Munchak will be coaching for his job in 2013 after going 6-10 in his second season as head coach. One reason for the losing record was Tennessee's inability to stop anyone; the Titans set a franchise record allowing 471 points in 2012. The only change Munchak has made to his defensive staff was letting linebackers coach Frank Bush go and moving Chet Paralavecchio into the job from assisting with special teams.

In Williams' last season with the Titans, Tennessee ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, first in passing yards allowed and third in rushing defense. The Titans also set a franchise-record for fewest points allowed with 191 with an aggressive defense.

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2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

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USA Today Sports

2018 Olympic Hockey Results: Czech Republic eliminate U.S. men in shootout winner

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Kouka scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals Wednesday.

Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round and was outshot 29-20.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shotoout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

Koukal was the only player to score in overtime. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't beat Francouz.

RELATED: OVECHKIN HAS LITTLE DESIRE TO WATCH 2018 WINTER OLYMPICS

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Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

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Associated Press

Need to Know: The Redskins appear to be set at center

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, February 21, 21 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The Redskins appear to be set at center

Originally published 12/19/17

Chase Roullier might have been the Redskins’ fourth choice to play at center this year. But he could be snapping the ball for Washington for a long time.

Kory Lichtensteiger, the starter for the previous three years when healthy, retired. Veteran backup John Sullivan departed as a free agent. Spencer Long started six games this season before knee and quad problems pushed him to the sideline, elevating the rookie Roullier into the starting lineup.

The sixth-round pick started three games before breaking his right hand at some point during the game against the Saints. That’s his snapping hand and him finishing that game was an underrated act of courage this year. But he was out for three games before returning against the Cardinals on Sunday. Jay Gruden was pleased with his play. 

“Chase did good. He did good,” said Gruden. “It was good to see him back in there. His snaps were outstanding and handled the calls and play well.”

That was good but standard praise. What was interesting was what he said next.  

“I like Chase’s progress right now,” he said. “I think he is going to be a very good center for a long time here. It was a great pickup for us in the draft.”

It appears that you can at least pencil in Roullier as the 2018 starter at center, if not put him in with a Sharpie.

Where would this leave Long, who is slated to be a free agent in March? The Redskins could let him walk and go with the younger and cheaper Roullier. They also could sign him to be their starting left guard. That job has belonged to Shawn Lauvao. But Lauvao also is a pending free agent and he is 30 and he has missed large chunks of two of the last three seasons with injuries. When he missed the last 13 games of the 2015 season, Long went in at left guard and played well.

If that happens, that would give the Redskins a starting offensive line consisting entirely of players drafted by the team and with only Trent Williams over the age of 27 in Week 1 of 2018.

Regardless of what happens at left guard, it looks like Roullier will be the man in the middle for 2018 and beyond.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 8
—NFL Draft (4/26) 64
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 200