Eagles interview Lovie Smith as search continues

Eagles interview Lovie Smith as search continues

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Seven down. Who's next?

Lovie Smith interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday as the team continued its search to replace Andy Reid, who was fired after a 4-12 finish.

Smith is the seventh candidate to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski. The Eagles haven't announced who they plan to interview next, but they received permission to speak to three assistant coaches.

Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden are on the list.

Gruden, the younger brother of former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, interviewed with Arizona on Thursday. He said he may interview with the Eagles next week.

Bradley's interview could take place this weekend before the Seahawks play at Atlanta.

``Well, it's flattering. And I know people talk about our entire focus is on Atlanta and it really is,'' Bradley said after practice Thursday. ``It's so important to us. We worked so hard to get to this point and our whole message to the team is to keep raising the bar and getting better and better every week. They're talking that and we're talking that so it's easy to stay focused on it. It's flattering as you've all heard before. But our entire focus is on Atlanta and trying to get one step closer.''

Smith was the second former head coach to meet with the Eagles, joining Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Smith was fired last Monday after going 81-63 in nine seasons with Chicago. Nolan was 18-37 in 3 1/2 seasons with San Francisco.

The Eagles interviewed Notre Dame's Brian Kelly on Tuesday, a day after the Fighting Irish lost 42-14 to Alabama in the BCS national championship game. Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Oregon's Chip Kelly interviewed with Philadelphia last week, but chose to stay at their schools.

Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong also have interviewed with the Eagles.

Since the start of the process, Lurie has emphasized the key is to get ``the right guy'' regardless of how long it takes. If the Eagles choose one of the coordinators on a playoff team that reaches the Super Bowl, they'll have to wait until February.

Smith, however, is another story. If he's the guy, the Eagles can finalize a deal much sooner. Smith led the Bears to three division titles, two trips to the NFC championship game and a loss to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl following the 2006 season. Despite winning 10 games this season, Smith lost his job after the team went 3-5 following a 7-1 start and missed the playoffs.

The 54-year-old Smith interviewed last week with the Buffalo Bills, who hired Doug Marrone to replace Chan Gailey.

Smith's teams had double-digit wins four times and only three losing seasons out of nine. But the Bears reached the postseason just three times and didn't earn a playoff berth in five of Smith's last six years.


AP Sports Writer Tim Booth in Renton, Wash., contributed to this report.


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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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