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Bengals' Jay Gruden interviews for Cardinals job

Bengals' Jay Gruden interviews for Cardinals job

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is the latest to interview for the vacant head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals.

Gruden, younger brother of former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, said his interview Thursday at Cardinals headquarters was his first for a head coaching job with any NFL team. He said he may interview with the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

The Cardinals also have interviewed their defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Although the Cardinals have not confirmed it, Steelers President Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley interviewed for the Arizona job Wednesday. Haley was offensive coordinator of the Cardinals' 2008 Super Bowl team before becoming head coach at Kansas City.

Arizona is seeking a replacement for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after six seasons.

Gruden met with Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, newly named general manager Steve Keim and player personnel director Jason Licht.

``You can tell how passionate they are about the game, how much they want to win and bring this team back to where they were with Kurt Warner,'' Gruden said. ``The passion and drive is there. Now it's just a matter of maybe bringing in something new, some new ideas to try to get that thing done.''

The Cardinals filled their general manager's job by promoting Keim, vice president of player personnel, to the position earlier this week. Keim replaced Rod Graves, who along with Whisenhunt was fired after Arizona lost 10 of its last 11 to finish 5-11 for the second time in three years.

Gruden, 45, has extensive experience in the Arena Football League, including two stints as head coach of the Orlando Predators from 1998 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2008. In 2002 and 2003, he returned to the team as quarterback.

As a player, he was quarterback for the University of Louisville for four seasons, then played four seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm of the AFL.

He worked on the staff of his brother at Tampa Bay for seven seasons, while during some of that time continuing his Orlando Predators duties.

``I've been a head coach before for a while,'' Gruden said. ``I know it's a different league and it's not the NFL, but I've handled people and handled organization, handled salary caps, done all the things necessary to be a head coach. I understand the game and I think it would be a good fit.''

Gruden became offensive coordinator of the Bengals in 2011, helping to develop Andy Dalton into a successful NFL quarterback as the Bengals made the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

The Cardinals have had big problems on offense, particularly at quarterback, since Warner retired after leading the team to the Super Bowl in the 2008 season and a second straight NFC West crown in 2009. While the defense was among the NFL leaders in several categories, Arizona's offense was the league's worst. It's not just about the quarterback, Gruden said.

``There's a lot of things that need to be addressed when your offense sputters,'' he said, ``and they need to be addressed quickly.''

He said he turned down chances to interview for head coaching jobs a year ago.

`` It was my first year last year as a coordinator,'' Gruden said. ``The Brown family gave me an opportunity to be an offensive coordinator. I didn't want to jump ship after the first phone call. I wanted to go in there and see Andy Dalton progress another year, see A.J. Green progress another year, see what we could do. We did some good things, made it to the playoffs again and I got some calls this year and decided to take them, or else people might stop calling.''

He said his brother had offered some worthy advice to him going into his first head coaching interview.

``Jon's always got his two cents to add. He can talk with the best of them,'' Gruden said. ``And he's been around the block a few times. He's been to interviews and knows how the process works and been a big help. So I picked his brain a little bit and he's been excellent in the process, as usual.''

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Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

Rookie Rui Hachimura does full practice with Wizards, return not far away

WASHINGTON -- The long-awaited return of Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura is getting closer, as he participated in a full practice on Saturday for the first time since suffering a groin injury back on Dec. 16.

Hachimura, 21, had no limitations, per head coach Scott Brooks. He went through all of their drills and full-contact scrimmages.

"He did well. He went through everything. That's another good day," Brooks said.

The final hurdle for Hachimura at this point involves getting into game shape. His conditioning is not close to midseason form after missing seven weeks of games.

Brooks said Hachimura definitely will not return before the end of the team's current road trip, which ends on Tuesday in Milwaukee. After that, however, it could be a matter of days.

 

The Wizards will return to Washington after playing the Bucks for a six-game homestand. It seems likely he is back by the time it's over.

The ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura has had a strong rookie season so far, averaging 13.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 48.2 percent from the field. The Wizards have gone 7-12 since he's been out.

Hachimura suffered the injury when he was inadvertently kicked between the legs by teammate Isaac Bonga. He required a minor procedure and was away from the team for weeks before slowly working his way back to basketball activities and then participating in practices.

Saturday was a big step in his recovery and it now puts the finish line into focus.

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Adley Rutschman in the top 5 headlines four Orioles in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects

Adley Rutschman in the top 5 headlines four Orioles in MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects

MLB Pipeline released its Top 100 prospects for 2020 and four players in the Baltimore Orioles’ system made the list. As expected, catcher Adley Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft, checked in as the Orioles’ top prospect and No. 4 in the league.

Rutschman recently received a non-roster invitation to the Orioles spring training, where he will get a taste of Major League competition. While the 21-year-old isn’t expected to make the club out of spring training, MLB Pipeline anticipates a 2021 big league arrival for Rutschman.

After the Orioles picked Rutschman No. 1 following a prolific career at Oregon State, the catcher played five games in the Gulf Coast League, 20 games at short-season Single-A level with Aberdeen Ironbirds and 12 games with the low-Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. He compiled a .254 average over 130 at-bats with four home runs and 26 RBIs in his abbreviated first professional season.

With Rutschman, Baltimore has a potential transcendent player that can emerge as the face of the franchise as the team continues to rebuild.

But the Orioles’ farm system is deeper than just Rutschman — in fact, it’s currently the strongest it has been in years.

Last year, Baltimore had three players on the Top 100 list — the most since MLB Pipeline adopted that format in 2012. An additional player on this year’s list provides tangible evidence the commitment to rebuilding is paying dividends.

Grayson Rodriguez, the team’s 2018 first-round selection, earned the No. 36 spot on the list. Rodriguez pitched a 2.68 ERA in 20 games at low-Single-A Delmarva. Rodriguez was a co-recipient of the Orioles’ Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year with Michael Baumann. MLB Pipeline projects the right-hander to arrive in the big leagues in 2021.

DL Hall, a 21-year-old left-handed pitcher, was ranked the No. 69 prospect in the league. Hall was a 2017 first-round pick out of high school and pitched last year at advanced-Single-A Frederick. In 19 games and 17 starts, Hall had a 3.46 ERA and struck out 116 batters in 80.1 innings. The Orioles ended Hall’s season in August as he dealt with arm soreness.

The last Baltimore prospect to make the list was Ryan Mountcastle, who was the 2019 Independence League Most Valuable Player and Orioles’ Brooks Robinson Player of the Year after a standout season with Triple-A Norfolk. The infielder hit for average (.312) and for power (25 home runs) while driving in 83 runs in 127 games.

Mountcastle, who was No. 94 in the rankings, is the only Top-100 prospect MLB Pipeline expects to join the Orioles in the 2020 season.

Rutschman, Rodriguez and Hall all made Baseball America’s Top 100 prospect list as well, checking in at Nos. 5, 35 and 47, respectively.

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