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Eagles fire Andy Reid after 14 seasons

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Eagles fire Andy Reid after 14 seasons

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andy Reid stuck around after he was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, meeting with players, encouraging staff and shaking hands with the man who let him go.

After 14 years, Reid found it hard to walk away.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie understood. ``He had the love and respect of every individual in this organization,'' he said at his news conference Monday. ``This man is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated, and the record will speak for itself.''

Not this season's 4-12 record nor the humiliating score of the season-ending loss to the New York Giants, 42-7, on Sunday.

It was the worst finish by the team since Lurie fired Ray Rhodes following a 3-13 finish in 1998.

``When you have a season like that, it's embarrassing. It's personally crushing to me and it's terrible,'' Lurie said. ``Our fans deserve the very best. This year, they got a team that was not very good at all. I feel terrible about that.''

Lurie informed Reid of his decision shortly before 9 a.m. Reid addressed the team an hour later and received a standing ovation.

``It was emotional,'' running back LeSean McCoy said. ``We felt his pain. It hurts a lot.''

Many players blamed themselves for his ouster and a few held back tears while talking about their former coach.

``It's unfortunate. I feel we personally let him down,'' wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. ``It's a sad day.''

Reid took over a 3-13 team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.

He is the winningest coach in club history and led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a Super Bowl trip after the 2004 season - and a loss, 24-21, to the New England Patriots. The Eagles are still seeking their first NFL title since 1960.

Reid cemented Philadelphia as a destination football town and led the team to an unmatched level of success. But the team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season's 8-8 finish, Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year.

Instead, it was worse.

``I look forward to the day when everyone welcomes him back into the Eagles Hall of Fame because that's inevitable,'' Lurie said.

Reid grew up in Southern California and may welcome a return home. He already has said he wants to coach next season.

``I think Andy is an outstanding football coach,'' Lurie said. ``That's what Andy wants to do. He doesn't want to transition to other aspects of football operations. He's a football coach. He wants to coach right now. He was very excited about the future of this team and this franchise. He wanted to stay.''

Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He is the franchise leader in wins (140), losses (102) and winning percentage (.578) and led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles and five NFC championship games.

Aside from team troubles, the year was a painful one for Reid. He endured a devastating loss weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

In October, Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo, who was in his second season as defensive coordinator after coaching the offensive line for 13 years. He later fired defensive-line coach Jim Washburn.

Still to be determined is whether Michael Vick stays with the team. He's under contract for $16 million next season, but the Eagles can release him within a few days after the Super Bowl and avoid a salary-cap hit.

In 2009, Reid and Lurie gave Vick a second chance in the NFL after the former star quarterback spent 18 months in federal prison related to a dogfighting operation. Vick took over as the starter in 2010, had a remarkable season and led the Eagles to the NFC East title. But like rest of the team, Vick regressed the last two seasons.

``There is nobody who wants to win more than I do,'' Lurie said. ``Once you've experienced the success we've had, it makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl, and to deliver that to our fans.''

After beating the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sept. 30, the Eagles lost eight straight games - their worst losing streak in 42 years.

Lurie said he has a ``defined'' list of candidates to replace Reid, but hasn't spoken to any coaches or set up interviews yet. General manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski will assist him in the process.

``It's better to find the right leader than to make a fast decision,'' Lurie said. ``There's no guarantee I'll make a great decision, but I'm confident I will.''

A person familiar with the team's plan said the Eagles will interview Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan this week. Atlanta's offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter and special teams coach Keith Armstrong also will be interviewed. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced its interview plans.

Earlier, PhiladelphiaEagles.com posted video of Lurie and Reid addressing employees, who gave Reid a big ovation. Lurie handed him a game ball.

``I have a hard time standing before people without a few boos involved. But I'm taking it, I'm taking it all in,'' Reid said. ``These have been the greatest 14 years of my life.''

He added: ``Sometimes change is good. ... I know the next guy that comes in will be phenomenal. The ultimate goal is a Super Bowl. Everybody in this room, I wish you a big ring on the finger in the near future.

``Hail to the Eagles, baby.''

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AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report.

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Scott Brooks, Bradley Beal rip officiating after loss to Clippers

Scott Brooks, Bradley Beal rip officiating after loss to Clippers

WASHINGTON -- Wizards head coach Scott Brooks and guard Bradley Beal have a general policy when it comes to answering questions about officiating. Usually, they avoid details because they don't want to be fined by the league. Often, they say plenty with what they leave unsaid.

Sunday night was not one of those times. After the Wizards' 135-119 loss to the Clippers, both the coach and player broke character, rolled their sleeves up and gave the refs a good old fashioned takedown.

Brooks went first and initially said (sarcastically) the officials got all the calls right in the game. After that, he said what he was really thinking.

"When they grab you and hold you and the rules are saying you've got to call a foul, that's a foul. We don't get that. [Bradley Beal] doesn't get that and it's frustrating," Brooks said.

"The rule is you can't grab a guy with two hands. It's not my rule, it's not their rule; it's the NBA rule. If they're not going to call those more, what are we going to do? We're gonna get frustrated, we're gonna get [technicals] and that's not fair. That's not fun for the coaches, that's not fun for the players, that's not fun for everybody."

Beal, who 20 points and five assists but shot 5-for-18 from the field, didn't hold back, either. And he even explained why he felt he had to speak up this time as opposed to other games when he has been more tight-lipped.

"Honestly, [my frustration] is out the roof. It really is. It's really unfair and unacceptable that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and I do not calls. Period. It's just unacceptable," he said.

"They fine us for saying something. When we do say something on the floor it's 'oh, I didn't see it' or 'it wasn't my call.' I'm just so tired of hearing that. There's three guys out here. I know nobody's perfect, but the blatant ones have to be called and they're not being called. That s--- ain't fair."

Brooks got a technical for arguing a first-half play he thought should have been a charge taken by Moe Wagner. Davis Bertans and Ish Smith, two of the Wizards' more mild-mannered players, also got T'd up.

Brooks thought Smith getting a technical embodied the evening perfectly.

"When Ish [Smith] gets a [technical foul], I know something's going on. That guys is the nicest guy on the planet. He gets a technical by just telling a referee to call it the same on the other end," Brooks said.

Beal was not assessed a technical, though he said he was appreciative of Smith and Bertans sticking up for him. He also said he feels like the lack of respect from referees has been worse this year and suggested the Wizards aren't getting the respect other teams like the Clippers do because of their 7-15 record.

To be fair, the numbers didn't exactly back up those claims on Sunday. The Wizards had 30 free throw attempts, three more than L.A. did. And Beal led all players with nine. He made all nine of them. Beal is also ninth in the NBA in free throw attempts at 7.2 per game, up from his average last season of 5.5.

This was, though, clearly something that had built over a series of games. And the Wizards are averaging the fifth-fewest free throw attempts per game this season at just 20.4 per contest. The Clippers, for comparison, are fourth in the NBA at 26.2.

But when the Wizards are in a close game with a team like the Clippers, who have way more talent than they do, it is hard for them to accept when they feel the referees aren't giving them a fair chance.

And for Brooks, it was particularly bad for Beal, whom he says "gets held all the time." And it's bad for rookie Rui Hachimura, who made all seven of his free throw attempts but should have had more if you ask his head coach.

"He attacks and he gets zero free throws. I understand nobody knows him, but we know him. That doesn't mean anything. You should be able to get to the free throw line with the way he attacks," Brooks said.

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

The regular season is over, the conference championships decided and the playoff bracket is set. Yes, it's bowl season. Bowl bids were handed out on Sunday and Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Navy all found out their postseason fates.

Here's where each team is headed this bowl season:

Penn State vs. Memphis, Cotton Bowl Classic on Saturday, Dec. 28

Ohio State is headed to the College Football Playoff and the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid is going to Wisconsin. Penn State, however, managed to squeak into the New Year's Six as the No. 10 team in the nation. They will take on Group of 5 representative Memphis who won the AAC.

Virginia vs. Florida, Orange Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30

The Cavaliers are headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time in school history. More on this game here.

Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky, Belk Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

The Belk Bowl always seemed like the likely destination for Virginia Tech, but their opponent was a bit of a mystery. If you were following along on Twitter before things were made official, the Hokies were supposed to play Mississippi State, then it was Tennessee, then Kentucky, then Tennesse again and then back to Kentucky.

Now it's official and we know for sure it will be Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky.

The issue was reportedly Tennessee changing its bowl preference at the last minute.


Navy vs. Kansas State, Liberty Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

Kansas State is the only team in the nation with a win over a College Football Playoff team. They defeated Oklahoma 48-41 in October.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo had the quote of the day about his team's matchup.

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