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Strong staying as Louisville football coach

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Strong staying as Louisville football coach

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Charlie Strong's decision to stay at Louisville is the second major coup for the Cardinals in eight days.

After reports linking Strong to several openings in the Southeastern Conference, he said Thursday that he wasn't going anywhere. Keeping the coach had become a priority for Louisville after announcing last week it will join the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

``I knew this would be a big opportunity,'' Strong said during a press conference at the Cardinals' football stadium. ``It was the best decision to stay here, continue to build a program and fulfill our dreams on the football field and in the classroom.''

Strong turned down an offer from Tennessee on Tuesday night to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired on Nov. 18. Strong had been in discussions with the Volunteers since last Thursday but did not provide any details of their offer.

Now that Louisville knows Strong is staying, athletic director Tom Jurich said they will begin re-negotiating the seven-year contract Strong received last year that currently pays him $2.3 million per season.

Jurich said Strong didn't use the Tennessee offer as leverage for a new deal and that they only began taking about it an hour before Thursday's press conference. Nonetheless, Jurich wants to work out a deal that will keep Strong at Louisville eight more years beyond this season and increase the salary of his assistant coaches.

Jurich admitted he has been a bit nervous these last few days. After Louisville announced its ACC plans, Jurich vowed to beat any offer made to his coach. But he didn't know for sure what Strong would do.

The AD said Strong's choice to remain with the Cardinals ``says that we're committed. But we've always been committed. Everybody always looks at us as a longshot, but we're not an underdog. I'm probably biased, but I truly believe that as of 7:40 last Wednesday morning when (ACC President) John Swofford called, this is a top-10 job in the country in football.''

At Louisville Strong became a coveted asset and his stock rose with the Cardinals' success.

Under Strong, the No. 22 Cardinals (10-2) won a share of the Big East Conference championship again this season and a BCS berth in the Sugar Bowl, where they'll face Florida. On Thursday he was named as the conference's coach of the year.

With his services in high demand, Louisville wanted to ensure he would stay - especially after announcing it is leaving the Big East, which is struggling to remain relevant in the constantly changing college football landscape.

``The stability of this program is always going to be solid and they're going to do everything to make this one of the best programs in the country,'' Strong said.

Strong's decision to stay with the Cardinals ends the flirtation with the SEC, where he spent much of his 29-year coaching career. He was defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Florida when the Gators won national championships in 2006 and 2008, the last of four stints in Gainesville beginning in 1983.

The Arkansas native was also considered a solid candidate to coach the Razorbacks before Strong's name came up in recent weeks for jobs at Auburn and eventually Tennessee, which made a hard push for the 52-year-old.

The lure of returning to the SEC was something Strong couldn't just dismiss.

He talked with the Volunteers for several days and appeared to be leaning toward heading to Knoxville.

``They made an offer (Tuesday) and I said I'd think about it and talk about it with my family,'' Strong said.

But in an environment when coaches are fired with winning records, Louisville's commitment to Strong last year played a major role in his decision to turn the Vols down. The Cardinals gave him his deal last year when the team was 2-4.

Thursday culminated what has been a whirlwind few days for Strong.

There were reports that linked him to the Auburn job and raised questions about Strong's future. The Tigers ended up hiring their former offensive coordinator and Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn on Tuesday, a day after Strong was mentioned as Tennessee's top target.

On Monday, Strong held a bizarre news conference in which he managed to stir up more questions about his future when he didn't definitively say he would be staying at Louisville. He also criticized the Cardinals' fan base for their attendance at football games.

But when the dust settled Thursday, Strong decided to stay at the school that gave him his first head coaching job. He is 24-14 in three seasons at Louisville.

``You look at those jobs, but I have a great job here,'' Strong said. ``I have a great person that I work for, and I think that's what it comes down to. When you talk to an athletic director it's more about not only your job, but it's about your family and caring about your family. When they ask about your daughters, that's when you know they care more about you as a person.

``It became clear to me that it was best to stay in Louisville,'' Strong said. ``We haven't finished the job yet.''

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

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Need to Know: The five highest-paid 2018 Redskins

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, February 24, 18 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 five highest-paid Redskins in 2018

Originally published 1/12/18

This is how the five highest-paid Redskins per their 2018 salary cap numbers stack up as of now. The list could change, of course during free agency and if a particular quarterback returns. Cap numbers via Over the Cap.

CB Josh Norman, $17 million—The Redskins do have a window which would allow them to move on from Norman. His $13.5 million salary for this year doesn’t become guaranteed until the fifth day of the league year so it would be “only” a $9 million cap charge to move on from Norman, who turned 30 in December. Don’t look for that to happen but the possibility is there.

OT Trent Williams, $13.86 million—He is one of the best left tackles in the business. Those of you out there who have advocated moving him to left guard should look at this cap number, which is way out of line for what a team can afford to pay a guard. At his pay, he needs to be playing on the edge.

OLB Ryan Kerrigan, $12.45 million—He has delivered double-digit sacks in each of the two seasons that his contract extension has been in effect. That’s good value in a league that values the ability to get to the quarterback.

TE Jordan Reed, $10.14 million—The Redskins knew that he might have a year like last year when he played in only six games when they agreed to Reed’s five-year, $50 million extension. They can live with one such season. If he has another one in 2018 they may rethink things.

G Brandon Scherff, $6.75 million—The fact that a rookie contract is No. 5 on this list is a good sign that, as of now, the Redskins’ cap is not top heavy like it was last year. The top three cap hits from Norman, Williams, and Kirk Cousins totaled $59 million, which was about 35 percent of the cap. This year the total cap numbers of the top three come to $43.3 million, 24.3 percent of the estimated $178 million salary cap.

Next five: OT Morgan Moses ($5.4 million), TE Vernon Davis ($5.33 million), DL Stacy McGee ($4.8 million), DL Terrell McClain ($4.75 million), S D.J. Swearinger ($4.33 million)

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) 5
—NFL Draft (4/26) 61
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 197