Green Bay Packers

Why a coaching job won't hinge on Eagles-Cowboys

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Why a coaching job won't hinge on Eagles-Cowboys

DALLAS -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says coach Jason Garrett will return for an eighth full season after Dallas missed the playoffs in a year marred by the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Jones said on his radio show Tuesday that Garrett's job "is not an issue here at all" while suggesting that there could be changes to the coaching staff with several contracts expiring. Garrett has two years left on a five-year deal signed after Dallas won the NFC East in 2014.

The Cowboys (8-7), who finish the season Sunday at division champion Philadelphia, lost their first three games without Elliott before winning three straight to stay in the race. Dallas lost a playoff elimination game to Seattle last weekend in the return of last year's NFL rushing leader.

Garrett has made the playoffs twice in seven seasons. He is 67-55 including the postseason and half the 2010 season, when he took over after Wade Phillips was fired (see full story).

Patriots: Team signs longtime Steelers LB Harrison
James Harrison is no longer the odd man out or the oldest man in the locker room.

The ex-Steelers star signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, three days after his unceremonious departure from Pittsburgh.

The 39-year-old linebacker posted a photo on Instagram showing himself with 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady in New England's locker room, writing that he finally has "a teammate that's older than me!"

The AFC North champion Steelers released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 2008 NFL defensive player of the year on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who is returning from a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy.

"We make the decisions we feel give us the very best chance to win," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday when asked why the team didn't release a different player to make room for Gilbert. "We needed the people we kept. We needed to activate Marcus Gilbert. Really, it's nothing more than that."

A day before, Tomlin had said following Pittsburgh's 34-6 win over Houston that clinched a first-round playoff bye that difficult decisions such as this are "just life in football" (see full story).

Redskins: Cousins to start in season finale
WASHINGTON -- Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that quarterback Kirk Cousins would start Sunday's season finale at the New York Giants despite the potential of an injury and no postseason ramifications involved.

"There's no thought to that at all," Gruden said on a conference call two days after the Redskins' 27-11 win over the Denver Broncos.

"Kirk wants to finish out the season. Got to get us back to 8-8. I think finishing on a three-game winning streak is important to a lot of people here. Finishing strong is what we've been preaching here the last 2 to 3 weeks."

Whether Cousins plays for the Redskins in 2018 and beyond is one of the NFL's major offseason questions.

Cousins has played the past two seasons on the franchise tag. The Redskins could go that route again unless the sides agree on a long-term contract or the organization allows Cousins to test free agency. Cousins needs 65 yards against New York to reach 4,000 for a third consecutive season.

Cousins, who has 27 touchdown passes on the season, started all 47 games since taking over as the starter in 2015.

With a win, the Redskins (7-8) would finish with a non-losing season for the third consecutive year under Gruden. Washington has only reached the playoffs once (2015) during the coach's four seasons.

Cardinals: Arians denies report he’s leaving team
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says a report that he and the franchise have agreed to part ways after this season is untrue, labeling it "fake news."

An article in Pro Football Weekly cited "multiple sources" as saying the split would come next week at the end of Arians' fifth season as the team's head coach.

But Arians said on Tuesday that no decision on future seasons has been made. The 65-year-old coach said he'd never met the article's author or knows where any supposed meetings on the subject took place.

Arians can become the winningest coach in Cardinals history with his 50th victory at Seattle in the season finale on Sunday.

Arians is 49-32-1 in five seasons with the Cardinals, including the postseason. They are 7-8 this season.

Packers: Fired food worker charged in Lambeau car rampage
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A fired food service worker is charged with ramming other vehicles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last week.

Forty-year-old Chay Vang was charged Tuesday with two felony counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and five misdemeanor counts of damage to property. USA Today Network-Wisconsin reports Vang's cash bond was set at $10,000.

According to the complaint, Vang was working for Delaware North at Lambeau Field when he got into a fight with a 25-year-old co-worker during a Green Bay Packers game on Dec. 3.

The complaint says Delaware North investigated and fired Vang. The former co-worker was getting out of his car in the employee parking lot last Friday when Vang allegedly drove into the car and repeatedly smashed it.

Five vehicles were damaged. Vang told police he rammed the car because "he wanted justice" and no one was listening to him.

Eagles still have plenty to play for on Christmas

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Eagles still have plenty to play for on Christmas

The Eagles still have something to play for on Monday night. 

Because the Vikings beat the Packers, 16-0, Saturday night, the Eagles still haven't clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

If the Eagles win Monday against the Raiders, they'll clinch that top spot for the first time since the 2004 season. Even if they don't win on Christmas, either a Vikings' loss or a win against the Cowboys in the regular season finale would be enough to get the No. 1 seed, which is pretty important (see story)

Head coach Doug Pederson claimed the plan for Monday's game wasn't going to change even if the Vikings lost. The Eagles were always going to play to win against the Raiders. 

"Win the game," Pederson said Saturday morning about his plan for Monday's game. "To play our best players and win. I think it's important that they continue to play. If we're in that position, if we're fortunate enough to be in that position to rest, I'll make a decision at that time. But I think it's important in these next couple of games to continue to play."

But if the Eagles win on Christmas Day, the last game of the regular season against Cowboys would be meaningless. Pederson in the last week has talked about the fine line of resting players but making sure they don't lose their edge heading into the playoffs. 

The interesting part of it is that Nick Foles could definitely use more time with the starting offense, especially his skill players. But the Eagles would ideally like to get backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld his first NFL reps before the playoffs begin. 

Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

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Panthers star LB suspended 2 games for hit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has been suspended for two games by the NFL following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.

The league announced the decision Monday.

Adams left Sunday's 31-24 loss to Carolina in the third quarter with a concussion after being blindsided by Davis following a Carolina interception. Davis was penalized 15 yards, but not ejected.

Davis, the 2015 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, was visibly upset on the sideline after the play.

Adams, who has suffered two concussions this season, took to social media on Monday to criticize Davis, saying there is no room in the game for hits like that.

"We supposed to be in this together n look out for one another not mess with a mans livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions," Adams said on Twitter. "We all got mouths to feed what if I did that to him and his kids can't eat."

Adams also Tweeted: "I'll never understand it. Game is already dangerous enough and we got Pro Bowl players out here head hunting and saying they "didn't mean to harm me"

Davis responded to Adams on Twitter, offering an apology.

"I understand your frustration and I do apologize for the hit! In no way was I trying to hurt you," Davis tweeted. "My first instinct was turn and make a block. In all sincerity I do apologize. I truly respect you as a player and I made a mistake!"

Davis has three days to appeal (see story).

Panthers: Becker promoted, to run day-to-day operations
The Panthers have announced Tina Becker has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and been given full control of the day-to-day management of the organization.

The move comes after the NFL launched an investigation into alleged sexual and racist misconduct by longtime owner Jerry Richardson. The 81-year-old is stepping away from the daily operation of the team and will focus on the pending sale of the franchise.

"These have been some of the most difficult days of my 19 years with the Panthers, but I am lifted up by the strong resolve and the commitment our employees have shown to this organization," Becker said in a news release Monday. "Our team on the field is performing at a very high level, and I believe is bound for the Super Bowl.

"My immediate focus will be to ensure the corporate side of the organization performs at the same high level, while addressing the real concerns that have been raised in recent days."

Team president Danny Morrison had resigned earlier in the year, and there was no COO before, or after, his resignation (see full story).

Texans: O'Brien emphatically says he'll never resign
HOUSTON -- Coach Bill O'Brien was emphatic on Monday about his desire to remain with the Houston Texans, a day after the team dropped to 4-10 with an embarrassing 45-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I will never quit as the head football coach of the Houston Texans," he said. "Ever."

O'Brien, who has one more season left on his contract, was asked if he had thought about resigning after the Texans complete what will be the first losing season in his time with the team.

"I'm not a quitter," he said. "I was raised in a family that believed in family, faith, education and never quit. So, I never will."

O'Brien's job security has become a topic of discussion in recent weeks as injuries and inconsistent quarterback play have led to four straight losses, one win in the last eight games. He spent a sizable chunk of his media availability Monday discussing his future, his relationship with general manager Rick Smith, and whether he would like to sign an extension to remain with the Texans (see full story).

Bengals: Lewis noncommittal about next year
CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis went to sit in his customary chair for his Monday media availability and discovered that it had been adjusted to a lower setting.

He laughed after discovering that his seat at the front of the room no longer fit.

The Bengals' coach will finish his 15th season in Cincinnati amid a full-blown discussion about whom the chair will fit in a few weeks. Lewis said Monday that he hasn't talked to owner Mike Brown about his contract, which ends after this season.

Although he emphatically denies a report that he's decided to leave, Lewis was noncommittal Monday about what happens next.

Asked if he wants to be back in Cincinnati next year, he replied by saying only, "I want to coach football." Asked again if he wants to coach in Cincinnati next year, he simply said, "Sure" (see full story).