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AP Source: Reid, Chiefs nearing deal to be coach

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AP Source: Reid, Chiefs nearing deal to be coach

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs should be quite familiar by now.

The two sides spent much of Thursday in negotiations for Reid to become the Chiefs' coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation.

The discussions followed nine hours of talks Wednesday that went well enough that Reid canceled plans to interview for other openings, the person told the AP. It was unclear which details were preventing the two sides from reaching an agreement.

The Philadelphia Eagles fired Reid after 14 seasons on Monday, the same day the Chiefs parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel after the worst season in franchise history.

The search for Crennel's replacement has been led by Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who intends to take on more responsibility in the day-to-day operation of the franchise. Also on hand was team president Mark Donovan, who has a connection to Reid after spending six seasons as the Eagles' senior vice president of business operations.

Reid had been linked to the opening in Arizona before the Chiefs put on the press.

The Cardinals now intend to interview former Chiefs coach Todd Haley, a person familiar with their plans told the AP. Haley led the Chiefs to the AFC West title in 2010, but was fired in December 2011 and spent this past season as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.

Hunt told the AP in an interview Monday that he would have final say on the next Chiefs coach, rather than embattled general manager Scott Pioli. Hunt has not said whether Pioli will be back next season, but indicated that his future could be determined by the next coach.

Various reports have indicated that Reid would be open to working with Pioli, while other reports have said he would prefer to build his own front office. If Pioli is not retained, the top candidates to replace him include former Browns GM Tom Heckert and John Dorsey, who has been integral in building the Green Bay Packers into a perennial contender.

The opening in Kansas City is attractive on several levels: The Chiefs had five Pro Bowl players and two others chosen as alternates, despite their 2-14 record, and they have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history.

That selection could help the Chiefs fill a gaping void at quarterback.

Matt Cassel was benched midway through the season and Brady Quinn, who was playing on a one-year deal, struggled as his replacement. Reid has had success at developing quarterbacks in the past, working with Donovan McNabb - whom he helped draft with the No. 2 pick - during his time in Philadelphia and Brett Favre earlier in his career in Green Bay.

``What I am confident in is we'll have dramatically better play from the quarterback position in 2013,'' Hunt said. ``I don't know whether it'll be the ultimate, long-term solution or not. We'll just have to see how it plays out.''

Hunt refused to get into the details of his coaching search, a responsibility that he'd delegated to the general manager in the past. But Hunt did say that he had surrounded himself with the right ``resources'' to make a thorough, informed hiring.

The new coach will also report directly to Hunt, a departure from the previous 53 years of franchise history. The coach is also expected to have more say over personnel matters.

When asked to describe his ideal candidate, Hunt said: ``Somebody who has demonstrated the ability to build a successful program, or been part of building a successful program. Somebody of high integrity, somebody who is a successful teacher and communicator. Somebody who has a high football IQ, but at the same time likes to roll up their sleeves and work hard.''

Reid appears to fit most of those qualifications.

The Eagles were just 12-20 the past two seasons, but Reid's overall record of 130-93-1 represents the most wins in franchise history. The franchise was just 3-13 the year before he arrived, and two years later it went to the playoffs at 11-5 and second in the NFC East.

That was the first of five straight years in which the Eagles won at least 11 games, and included a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.

``He had the love and respect of every individual in this organization,'' Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said upon firing him. ``This man is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated, and the record will speak for itself.''

The past couple of years have been difficult for Reid, whose oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction. Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo in October and later fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Now, it appears that Reid is about to get a fresh start.

``Overall the job is still attractive,'' Hunt said of the Chiefs, who have not won a playoff game since 1993. ``The franchise remains very well respected around the league.''

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AP Sports Writers John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y., and Bob Baum in Tempe, Ariz., contributed to this report.

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Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

Astros players plan to make a team statement on sign-stealing scandal during Spring Training

The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal has rocked MLB and left a dark shadow over the league during offseason. Up until this point, despite a fired general manager and on-field manager, the players at the root of the scandal have remained silent on the subject and avoided questions from the media.

That will all change in Spring Training as the Astros players plan to make "a strong statement as a team," according to Astros' owner Jim Crane. 

"When we get down to Spring Training, we'll all get them together and they'll come out with a strong statement as a team and apologize for what happened and we'll move forward," Crane said in a media scrum.

Over the weekend the team held their annual winter FanFest where several players had to face the music as many players met with the media for the first time. Jose Altuve, who is one of the players who allegedly benefited from the sign-stealing, dodged the question as best he could. The Astros shortstop's comments coincide with Crane's, saying “I think the time to comment about that will come. It’s a little early for me to say something about it.” 

Outside of their FanFest event, there is little that has come out of the clubhouse. Their owner acknowledged the lack of communication from the players and said the players were advised to stay out of the conversation. 

"The players have been beaten up a little bit and they've been all spread out. They've just kinda getting [sic] advice to take it easy."

Already Spring Training in West Palm Beach is going to be awkward between the two teams that made the World Series last season. The Nationals, who won the World Series whether or not the Astros used their system to gain an advantage, have their facilities next door to Houston's.

And if the Astros sign former Nationals' manager Dusty Baker to the same position in wake of A.J. Hinch's firing, there will be even more tense situations at Spring Training this year. 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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