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Cowboys defensive coordinator Ryan not returning

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Cowboys defensive coordinator Ryan not returning

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired Tuesday after his injury-depleted unit struggled in a pair of season-ending losses that kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs for a third straight year.

Ryan was let go a day after running backs coach Skip Peete was fired, and less than a week after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said things were going to get ``uncomfortable'' at team headquarters in nearby Irving.

``At this time, the decision has been made to move forward in a different direction philosophically on defense,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said in a statement. ``I have an immense amount of respect for Rob as a person and as a football coach.''

Ryan spent two seasons with the Cowboys after he was fired two years into the same job in Cleveland. He didn't hide his displeasure over being let go by the Browns before the Cowboys played them this season. He struck a different tone Tuesday.

``I enjoyed my time here,'' Ryan told The Dallas Morning News. ``I have no hard feelings. But it doesn't matter if I coach here or not. I will find another spot.''

The Cowboys finished with four defensive starters on injured reserve, including both Sean Lee and Bruce Carter at inside linebacker - a critical position for Ryan's 3-4 scheme. A fifth starter, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, missed all but six games with ankle and groin injuries. Nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick was sidelined the last five games with a wrist injury.

Several Dallas players reacted with surprise on Twitter.

``It was a privilege to play under Coach Rob Ryan! One of the greatest,'' defensive end Jason Hatcher wrote. ``Sad day. I'm hurting right now.''

The Cowboys finished 14th in total defense this season under Ryan, the twin brother of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, but couldn't stop the New Orleans passing game or the Washington rushing attack when they still controlled their playoff fate in the last two weeks of the regular season.

Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-31 overtime win for New Orleans. Dallas still had playoff hopes in the finale against Washington, but rookie Alfred Morris rushed for 200 yards despite quarterback Robert Griffin being limited by a right knee injury in the Redskins' 28-18 win.

The Cowboys were 19th in total defense in Ryan's first year but had one of the worst pass defenses in team history.

Following consecutive 8-8 seasons, Dallas is 128-128 since the start of 1997 season. The Cowboys have just one playoff win in that span.

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Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

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Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Caravan

Dan Fegan, former agent for John Wall, dies in car crash

NBA agent Dan Fegan, who had previously represented many high-profile NBA clients including John Wall, died in a car crash Sunday morning, according to The Aspen Times. 

According to the report, Fegan's SUV was struck by a bus while trying to merge onto Highway 82 in Colorado a little after 9 am this morning. 

The two passengers in the car - an unidentified woman and Fegan's 5-year old daughter - were airlifted to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. 

Fegan was 56.

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The human side of the NHL's trade deadline

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USA TODAY Sports

The human side of the NHL's trade deadline

Congratulations! You just got a new job. There’s just one catch: it’s in a new city.

Oh, and by the way, you start tomorrow. Good luck.

That would be a pretty big shock for anyone, but it is the reality that hockey players constantly face and one that is exacerbated as the trade deadline approaches.

“I know fans and media get really excited about it, but they're not the ones that have to pick up and move their families,” Brooks Orpik said following Sunday’s practice. “I think players are looked at as kind of objects at times, just a number. People don't know there's a human side to trades.”

This season’s NHL trade deadline is 3 p.m. on Monday. Until then, every locker room faces a degree of uncertainty.

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Almost no player or prospect is untouchable. Even if there are no rumors surrounding a team or things seem set, the threat of a trade hangs over the heads of the players like the sword of Damocles until the deadline finally comes and goes.

Even for those players who know they won’t be moved or who can’t be moved because of various clauses in their contracts, it still remains a stressful time as they could still see friends shipped to another city.

“I think what happens on that day is all the players, as soon as they get off the ice at morning skate, they're all looking at their phones and trying to see what happens,” Barry Trotz said. “They want to see what happens around the league.”

Sure, a player can go from a last place team to a contender. On the surface, they should be happy. Behind the scenes, however, midseason trades always carry family implications.

“It's tough on guys,” Orpik said. “Guys have kids in schools or have roots in the community of the teams they play for. As fun as it is for some people, I think as players it can definitely be nerve-wracking for people.”

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When those trades do happen, they obviously can throw a player’s life upside-down.

For those players who are not traded, the team has to adjust both to losing familiar faces and to embracing new ones into the locker room.

“When someone comes into a new group, it's not much changed except for obviously a new piece,” Jay Beagle said. “But it's definitely harder on them so you try to make it as easy as possible on them.”

Thus far, the Capitals have added defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek over the past week. While both trades were done in exchange for draft picks, Taylor Chorney was a casualty of the trades as he was placed on waivers to make room for the new additions and was claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It's tough losing guys, especially guys that are well-liked in our room,” Orpik said. “Taylor Chorney is a really well-liked guy so I think that impacted us a little bit.”

On Monday, fans, analysts, players and coaches alike will all be frantically checking their phones looking for the latest trade news, but while the deadline brings excitement for fans, it bears very different feelings for the players involved. Those players are people working a job and those trades mean uprooting their life in a matter of days. Regardless of whether a player is better off in terms of the team situation, there is still a human cost to doing business.

“It can affect certain guys because their names are obviously spread all over the place,” Trotz said. “They're human too. They pretend to not hear it, but they do.”