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Chiefs fire Crennel, restructure organization

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Chiefs fire Crennel, restructure organization

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The Kansas City Chiefs are doing more than looking for a new coach after firing Romeo Crennel on Monday. They're changing the entire structure of the organization.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in an interview with The Associated Press that he will hire the next head coach and that person will report directly to him. That's a departure from the previous 53 years in Kansas City, where the head coach had always reported to the general manager.

``The reason for it is I think it gives us the best chance of hiring the most outstanding coach,'' said Hunt, who had already begun working the phones to find Crennel's replacement.

Hunt relieved the 65-year-old Crennel of his duties after a 38-3 loss to Denver on Sunday that finished off a 2-14 season, tied for the worst in franchise history. But he has not made a decision on the future of GM Scott Pioli, whose job has hung in the balance for weeks.

``I don't have a timeline laid out on that,'' Hunt said. ``Obviously the beginning of February, there are a lot of important events related to the upcoming draft, the combine and so forth, and we want to be solidified in that regard before that.''

The Chiefs will have the No. 1 pick for the first time since joining the NFL.

The Chiefs' only victories this season were against New Orleans and Carolina, the latter coming one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend to death and then drove to the team's practice facility and turned the gun on himself as Crennel and Pioli looked on.

Crennel seemed to know the end was coming Sunday night when he was asked to defend his job and said, ``If your criteria is wins and losses, there's not much defense.''

``The NFL is a performance-based league, and we weren't able to win,'' Crennel said in a statement Monday. ``As for my future, I'm planning to take some time to reflect on this season, evaluate everything, and make a decision based on what's right for myself and my family.''

The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired. They were 2-12 in 1977, the only other time they've failed to win at least three games.

``It's a tough day, but I can't say I didn't see it coming,'' said right tackle Eric Winston, among several players cleaning out their lockers Monday.

With five players voted to the Pro Bowl last week, there are certainly pieces in place for the Chiefs to make rapid improvement. But four of them were inherited by Pioli's regime, and that haul of Pro Bowl players may have been Crennel's biggest indictment.

``You always want to be able to give a head coach as long as you can to build a program. I just felt we really were not headed in the right direction,'' Hunt said. ``The Pro Bowl balloting tells us a little about what coaches and players around the league think about the roster, that there's some very talented players. But at the same time, we all know there are holes.''

The biggest hole is at quarterback, where the Chiefs benched Matt Cassel and his $63 million contract in favor of Brady Quinn, who struggled all year and is now a free agent.

The Chiefs' inept offense managed 18 touchdowns in 16 games, finished minus-24 in turnover margin and lost nine times by two touchdowns or more. Along the way, they broke an 83-year-old NFL record by not holding a lead in regulation until their ninth game.

``It has been by far the hardest year I've ever had as a professional,'' Hunt said. ``I was miserable throughout the season, just in terms of what I was seeing. It was so hard on me because I want the team to succeed, not only for everyone in this building but most importantly for our fans. It just killed me that we weren't competitive. I hated it.''

Crennel, whose career record as a head coach is 28-55, was hired in 2010 as defensive coordinator. Respected by his players, he was appointed interim coach last December when Pioli fired Todd Haley with three games left in the season.

Crennel immediately brought a sense of stability to a floundering franchise, defeating the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers and winning at Denver in the season finale.

With the support of the players, Pioli made Crennel the permanent coach a few weeks later, giving him another opportunity as a head coach after four failed seasons in Cleveland.

This season was a disappointment from the start, too. The Chiefs were blown out by the Falcons in their opener, trounced by the Bills and later lost eight consecutive games.

Empty seats began to multiply at Arrowhead Stadium, once one of the NFL's most intimidating venues. An organized fan rebellion paid for banners to be towed behind airplanes asking for Pioli to be fired, and the majority of fans dressed in black for a home game against Cincinnati.

Nothing Crennel did seemed to work, either.

He fired himself as the defensive coordinator and turned those duties over to linebackers coach Gary Gibbs. He shuffled his quarterbacks, changed inspirational posters outside the locker room and even tinkered with the way practice was run.

But injuries were numerous, turnovers plentiful and penalties crippling as blown assignments became the hallmark of a team that was rarely competitive in games.

Then came the morning of Dec. 1, when tragedy struck.

Belcher, a part-time starter, shot the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, Kasandra Perkins, multiple times at a home not far from Arrowhead Stadium. The linebacker then sped to the team's practice facility and was confronted by Pioli, who tried to talk him out of more violence.

After thanking Pioli and Crennel for his chance in the NFL, Belcher shot himself in the head.

The Chiefs played the following day against Carolina, and Crennel was praised for the way he stoically led a team in turmoil. Kansas City put together its best performance in a 27-21 victory.

It wound up being their last win. The Chiefs were blown out by Cleveland, shut out by Oakland and beaten by the Colts before an embarrassing finale against the Broncos.

That was enough to finish Crennel, and enough to put Pioli's future in jeopardy.

``I kept looking for the team to improve, to show signs that we were turning the corner,'' Hunt said, ``and we just never got there.''

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These well-known Redskins fans would be very interesting minority stakeholders

These well-known Redskins fans would be very interesting minority stakeholders

The Redskins' three minority owners, who reportedly make up about 40-percent of the team's ownership group, are actively trying to sell their stakes in the club.

Now, if those three do in fact move on — which may prove difficult — there are plenty of well-known Washington fans who could prove to be interesting replacements, even if they purchase just a small slice of what the trio is looking to pass on. 

Check out the list below for a handful of the more eye-catching names that would absolutely draw headlines. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

One of NASCAR's most popular drivers of all time is now working as an analyst for NBC. He's been a fan since he was nine years old and has a positive relationship with Dan Snyder. Plus, he's already used to pressure-packed Sundays.

Matthew McConaughey

Here's another mega-celebrity and lifelong fan of the Burgundy and Gold who's also a personal friend of Snyder's. Perhaps he'd like to add some football hardware to his already crowded trophy case.

Kevin Durant

Durant is one of the best ballers in the world, and with how enormous NBA contracts are as well as all the endorsements he's picked up along the way, you have to figure he has some spare cash to put toward the Redskins if he wanted to.

Plus, becoming a part owner of an NFL team would be something he could hold over his enemies like Draymond Green and Kendrick Perkins.

RELATED: A NAME CHANGE SEEMS IMMINENENT

Wale

The famous rapper just hosted some of the Redskins' virtual programming during the 2020 Draft, and he's tight with QB Dwayne Haskins. He could be next in the long line of artists/musicians who've dabbled in sports ownership.

Taraji P. Henson

The Hidden Figures and Empire actress' father once worked as a janitor for Washington, and she's been a supporter of the squad for quite a while. Buying into them could be a nice thing to add to her real-life empire.

Joe Gibbs

Gibbs isn't exactly a current pop culture icon like any of the names above, but he is a DC icon and it'd be foolish to exclude him from a list like this. Snyder has understandably revered Gibbs for essentially his whole life and confided in him often in the past.

If Gibbs wanted to become involved with the Redskins again, you have to believe Snyder would be thrilled.  

Alexis Ohanian

Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit and sold it back in 2006, has been devoted to the Redskins since the late '80s. He's attended plenty of contests in his fan career. So, why not make the transition from the stadium seats to the owner's box?

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NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for the 2020 postseason

NHL, NHLPA finalize protocols for the 2020 postseason

At long last, the NHL and NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) have agreed on the protocols under which the season can formally resume. The news was first reported Sunday by TSN's Bob McKenzie. The details of a new CBA that has been negotiated as part of the NHL and NHLPA's efforts to bring back hockey, however, is still being finalized. Hockey cannot resume until both the protocols for 2020 and the new CBA memorandum of understanding are ratified by the league's board of governors, the NHLPA's executive committee and a full membership vote by the players.

The full details of the protocols have not been formally released, but aspects have been leaked over the past week as both sides inched closer to an agreement. As expected, any player will have the option of opting out of Phase 3 (training camp) and Phase 4 (resumption of the season) without penalty, but the player must notify the team by July 7.

Teams will also be limited to 30 skaters in Phase 3 with an unlimited number of goalies. In Phase 4, that number goes down to 28 skaters and an unlimited number of goalies so presumably this should not be an issue for most teams. It does, however, allow two extra players in case a team is caught off guard by a player opting out.

In addition, Frank Seravalli reported players' families will be allowed to join the players for the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final which will take place in Edmonton. Elliotte Friedman also reported there will be significant punishments for individuals who try to leave the bubble.

The league formally paused its season on March 12. Since that time, the remainder of the regular season was canceled and the postseason re-structured to include 24 teams. Two round-robin tournaments will take place among the top four teams in the East and West to determine seeding while the remaining teams will all play a best-of-five play-in round. From there, the playoffs will begin with all four remaining rounds being a best-of-seven and with teams being reseeded after each round to determine matchups.

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