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Bills interview 3 candidates, including Chip Kelly

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Bills interview 3 candidates, including Chip Kelly

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The Buffalo Bills coaching search went into overdrive Friday, when team officials interviewed three candidates, including Oregon's Chip Kelly, one of college football's hottest prospects.

The Bills announced just before midnight that newly promoted president Russ Brandon and his top executives also interviewed recently fired Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and Syracuse coach Doug Marrone. The Bills, stationed in Arizona for much of this week, didn't provide details regarding where the interviews took place or how long they lasted.

Next up for Buffalo is a trip to Denver on Saturday, when the team is scheduled to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, according to a person familiar with Buffalo's plans. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not revealed who they've lined up to meet.

The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001 after Chan Gailey was fired on Monday.

It was a busy day for Kelly, as well. He also interviewed with Cleveland on Friday, and a person familiar with those negotiations said the Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon's offensive mastermind. Kelly's interviews were conducted a day after he led the fifth-ranked Ducks (12-1) to a 35-17 victory over No. 7 Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.

Following the win, the 49-year-old Kelly said he wanted to get the interview process over ``quickly.''

Kelly was also supposed to meet with Philadelphia. However, a person familiar with the interviews says the Eagles are ``heading in another direction.''

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team isn't discussing its negotiations publicly. The person added the Eagles planned to interview several other candidates regardless of any conversations with Kelly.

The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and are scheduled to meet with McCoy in Denver on Sunday, as well.

The Bills are coming off their second consecutive 6-10 season and have not enjoyed a winning record since a 9-7 finish in 2004. They own the NFL's longest active playoff drought that's now at 13 consecutive seasons.

Buffalo has already interviewed former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired on Monday, as well as Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

The Bills' meeting with Smith did not come as a surprise. Several reports surfaced over the past few days that the former Bears coach was interested in the Buffalo job since he was fired by the Bears on Monday. Smith has indirect ties to the Bills through former Bears defensive assistant coach Gill Byrd, who is the father of Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd.

Smith is a defensive-minded coach, who would have an opportunity to put his stamp on Buffalo's revamped but under-achieving defense, which struggled last year. The unit was among the NFL's worst despite the addition of defensive end Mario Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency in March.

Marrone has been credited for turning around the Orange in four seasons. Syracuse rolled to an 8-5 finish by winning six of its last seven games this season, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl last weekend.

McCoy has become a hot prospect in his fourth season with the Broncos. He's played a key role in helping speed Peyton Manning's transition after the star quarterback signed with the team in free agency last offseason. McCoy has 13 years of NFL experience as an assistant, and previously spent eight seasons working under Broncos coach John Fox in Carolina.

Over his career, McCoy had quarterbacks reach 3,000 yards passing seven times. That includes Manning, who finished sixth in the NFL this season with 4,659 yards.

As the AFC's top seed, the Broncos are off until opening the playoffs on Jan. 12. They've allotted time for interested teams to interview McCoy in Denver this weekend. McCoy has also been linked as a candidate for coaching vacancies in Arizona and Chicago.

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AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia, and AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland, contributed to this report.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

On Monday, with the NHL trade deadline approaching, the Washington Capitals addressed a need for blue line depth by acquiring Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

But before you begin to analyze how the move impacts the Capitals' outlook heading forward, lets take some time to get to know the newest member of the Caps.

Who is Michal Kempny?

Michal Kempny is a 27-year-old defenseman from the Czech Republic. He was born on Sept. 8, 1990 in Hodonin, a small town in southwestern Czech Republic near the border of Austria and Slovakia. Kempny began his hockey career playing for SHK Hodonin. Kempny knew very little english upon arriving to the NHL, but credited his girlfriend Showtime shows to helping him become more comfortable speaking the language. 

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What International Experience Does Michal Kempny Have?

Michal Kempny played professionally for HC Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga and Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Kempny was a standout player on the international stage, playing for the Czech Republic U18, U20 and Men's National teams.

MORE ON THE TRADE: WHERE DOES KEMPNY FIT IN THE CAPS ROSTER

When Did Michal Kempny Make His NHL Debut?

Michal Kempny was signed to a one-year contract as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks in May, 2016 and made his NHL debut in October, 2016. Kempny scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 30, 2016 against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. Kempny appeared in 50 games for the Blackhawks during the 2016-17 season, recording two goals and six assists. The Blackhawks re-signed Kempny to a one-year extension during the offseason. Kempny played in 31 games this season before being traded to the Capitals.

What Type of Hockey Player is Michal Kempny?

Kempny is a 6-0, 194-pound defenseman with a strong left-handed shot. Known for his play on the offensive end, Kempny was never able to gain the trust of Joel Quenneville on the defensive end. But Kempny has a good bit of offensive upside, thanks to his passing skills and strong shot, which is why the Blackhawks took a flier on him in the first place and why he was an ideal trade candidate for the Capitals. But again, Kempny's size is less than ideal for a top-tier blue-liner and while he doesn't shy away from contact, he is rarely much of a physical presence. 

What Does Michal Kempny's Contract Look Like?

Michael Kempny is set to become an unrestricted free agent the the end of the 2017-18 season and has a cap hit of just $900,000.

RELATED: TROTZ REACTS TO RACIAL COMMENTS MADE BY CHICAGO FANS

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE