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AP Sources: Syracuse's Marrone to take over Bills

AP Sources: Syracuse's Marrone to take over Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Doug Marrone is set to try to turn around an NFL team after improving a college program down the road.

Marrone reached an agreement to become the Buffalo Bills' new coach Sunday, three people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. One person said the sides were still putting the finishing touches on the contract for Marrone to sign.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because there has not been an official announcement.

Marrone will replace Chan Gailey, who was fired Dec. 31, a day after the Bills closed their second consecutive season with a 6-10 record and extended the NFL's longest active playoff drought to 13 seasons. The 48-year-old Marrone, who is from the Bronx, went 25-25 in four seasons at Syracuse.

ESPN.com first reported early Sunday that Marrone would be leaving the Orange to become the Bills' next coach.

Syracuse was 26-57 over a seven-year period before Marrone took over at his alma mater. The Orange finished this season 8-5, winning six of their last seven games, including a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl.

A person who had a role in hiring Marrone in Syracuse, speaking on condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced, said Orange officials had been made aware the coach was leaving for the NFL.

Now, he's set for another challenge two hours down the New York State Thruway. He'll be taking over a team that has not had a winning record since 2004, is on its fifth head coach since 2001, and closed last season by losing seven of its final 10 games.

The Syracuse job was Marrone's first as a head coach. He has seven years of NFL experience; Marrone spent 2006-08 as the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator and was the New York Jets' offensive line coach from 2002-05.

Marrone's arrival in New Orleans coincided with the Saints' addition of Drew Brees. Though head coach Sean Payton called the plays on game day, Marrone helped oversee an offense that led the NFL in yards in 2006 and `08. In 2007, the Saints set a league record with 440 completions.

The Bills' perennially weak offense could certainly use a boost. And he's got work to do improving a high-priced but underachieving defense.

One of Marrone's first decisions on offense will be determining the future of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who took a big step back in his third season as starter, and a year after signing a five-year, $59 million contract extension. Buffalo finished 19th in the NFL in yards gained and 21st in points scored this season.

Fitzpatrick, who shares the same agent as Marrone, is due a $3 million roster bonus in March.

General manager Buddy Nix has already said he plans to select a quarterback in the draft in April. He also hasn't ruled out the possibility of acquiring one in free agency or through a trade.

One draft candidate could be Syracuse senior Ryan Nassib, who is projected to be a second- or third-round pick.

The Bills defense performed well below the high expectations that were created in March, when Buffalo signed defensive end Mario Williams to a six-year, $100 million contract. The defense instead proved porous and incohesive in finishing among the NFL's worst. Buffalo allowed 435 points - the second-most in team history.

The Bills opened their coaching search Tuesday, when newly promoted President Russ Brandon and several executives traveled to Arizona, where they interviewed candidates. They met with former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton. The Bills also interviewed Oregon coach Chip Kelly and former Bears coach Lovie Smith.

Marrone had also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns for their vacancy.

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AP Sports Writer John Kekis in Syracuse, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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Report: NBA likely to use new All-Star format again, will discuss using it in G-League

Report: NBA likely to use new All-Star format again, will discuss using it in G-League

If you were a fan of the NBA's new format for the All-Star game, which featured a target score to decide the winner instead of a clock, you might be in luck. 

According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the NBA is likely to use the target score format again in next year's All-Star game. The NBA's president of league operations Byron Spruell told Lowe it's a 'good assumption' we see this format again. 

In its maiden voyage, the target score was a smashing success. The NBA has struggled to make the All-Star game entertaining and intense enough for the best players in the world to try. By adding 24 points onto the leading team's score at the end of the third and saying, "First one to this number wins," it sparked the competitive fire in the league's biggest stars and made for an unforgettable basketball moment. 

The target score is very similar to the "Elam Ending," created by Ball State University professor Nick Elam. The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all event held over the summer, has used the Elam Ending for the last two years.

Chris Paul suggested using the format in the All-Star game to commissioner Adam Silver, and now the target score ending has a chance at making it to the G-League. 

Lowe also includes in the story that the NBA will discuss using the target score system in the G-League, the league's developmental league. However, concerns about making G-League play too different from play in the NBA make it unlikely for a full adaptation of the target score system. 

Spruell did say a possible first step would be using the system at the annual G-League Showcase, which usually takes place in December. 

To go even further down the rabbit hole of hypothetical changes to NBA games, the NBA will also reportedly discuss using target scores in the elimination rounds of a midseason tournament. In late December, the NBA propose massive schedule changes to the league's owners including shortening the regular season to 78 games and introducing a midseason tournament. 

The owners still have to approve the changes before any target scoring system can be implemented. 

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A house for mom, dinner for his linemen and a custom Bentley: How Dwayne Haskins spent his first million

A house for mom, dinner for his linemen and a custom Bentley: How Dwayne Haskins spent his first million

Dwayne Haskins learned a lot in his first go-round in the NFL, including just how much work is required to be a successful starting QB and how intense a typical season with the Redskins can be.

He also was exposed to the dark reality of taxes for the first time, which are far scarier than even the most devastating opposing pass rush.

In a video for GQ Sports and their "My First Million" series, Haskins discussed how he, well, spent his first million dollars as a pro. It's an epic tale, one filled with wild stories and useful lessons — including the following relatable take.

"Taxes are no joke, bro," he said.

The biggest choice the first-rounder made for himself was to pick out a custom-made Bentley that cost him $250,000. He loves it and calls it "my baby" and the "Batmobile." He's also now out of the vehicle-purchasing game for a while because of it.

"I'm not buying no more cars," Haskins said. "Not a very great investment to buy cars."

Next up for the passer was to take care of his mom, so he paid for a house that totaled about $750,000. 

"Being able to just, 'Hey mom, I've got a surprise for you, here's a house,'" Haskins recalled. "Definitely made those 14-plus years of hard work worth it."

So, that's all, right? Those two items add up to a million, so we're done here? 

Well, the house isn't technically for Haskins, so therefore, it doesn't take up room on his ledger. So the story continued.

The 22-year-old committed about $70,000 to jewelry and has about $5,000 to $7,000 set aside for a vacation to the Bahamas he's got planned for next month. He also has an estimated $10,000 in murals at his place and spent about $40,000 on clothes, including some suits to wear on game day and to events.

Then, there was a rookie dinner, where he had to treat his offensive linemen to a meal. Those guys didn't go the salad route, either.

"Of course they ordered all the appetizers, all the steaks they can get," he said. "They do not want to go to Applebee's. They want to go to the best steak place they can find... I'll do it again if I have to."

For a guy who didn't have to pay for much in college aside from a car note and maybe some bills at the library, it was quite a transition into adulthood and moneyhood. He's taken steps to hire a financial adviser and put his earnings into "different buckets," though, and seems confident he'll be in good shape for a long time.

Plus, if he excels in the coming seasons, there'll be plenty more millions coming his way. And by then, he won't be surprised when a lot of that goes to taxes.

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