Redskins

Florida promotes Durkin to replace DC Quinn

Florida promotes Durkin to replace DC Quinn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida coach Will Muschamp wasted little time finding a replacement for departing defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

He didn't have to search very far, either.

Muschamp promoted linebackers coach/special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin to the DC position Thursday, keeping some continuity during a hectic recruiting period. Durkin will continue to serve as linebacker coach.

``D.J. and I will run the defense, continuing the way that Dan and I did for the past two years,'' Muschamp said in a statement.

Quinn accepted an offer to return to the NFL as Seattle's defensive coordinator earlier Thursday, hours after Gus Bradley left to take the head-coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Quinn served as Florida's coordinator the past two seasons, working closely with Muschamp as the Gators ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense. He previously worked as Seattle's defensive line coach.

``I'm happy for Dan and this opportunity,'' Muschamp said. ``I always encourage my staff, when opportunities arise, to take the next step in their career. Dan's background is in the NFL, and this is a great chance to go back to a place he's familiar with.''

Quinn spent 10 seasons in the NFL, including eight as a defensive line coach. He worked with San Francisco (2001-04), Miami (2005-06), the New York Jets (2007-08) and Seattle (2009-10).

``My wife Stacey and I loved our time in Gainesville,'' Quinn said. ``The last two years have been an awesome experience, working for Will and (athletic director Jeremy Foley) and with a bunch of talented, great players and coaches. Even though we'll be in Seattle, we look forward to keeping track of the Gators in the future.''

Muschamp plans to hire an assistant to fill out his coaching staff.

Durkin spent the last three seasons in Gainesville, one of the few holdovers from former coach Urban Meyer's staff.

Durkin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green in 2001 and later served stints as a defensive assistant at Notre Dame (2003-04), Bowling Green (2005-06) and Stanford (2007-09).

He was a four-year starter at defensive end/linebacker at Bowling Green (1997-2000) and was a team captain as a junior and senior.

Now, he becomes Florida's third defensive coordinator in the last four years. Charlie Strong left to become Louisville's head coach following the 2009 season. Teryl Austin replaced him for one season. Muschamp hired Quinn in 2011.

Durkin takes over a Florida defense that is losing seven starters. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, safety Matt Elam and linebacker Jelani Jenkins left school early to enter the NFL. Four seniors - defensive tackle Omar Hunter, safety Josh Evans, linebacker Jon Bostic and defensive end Lerentee McCray - also are moving on.

But the Gators have plenty of talent on that side of the ball, with cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson returning along with defensive linemen Dominique Easley, Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler. Florida also has young linebackers Antonio Morrison, Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball.

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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

LAS VEGAS -- Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was handcuffed by police, but not arrested, after a scuffle involving event staff at a Las Vegas music festival.

Police Officer Laura Meltzer said Monday that the 23-year-old running back was detained briefly early Saturday during the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cellphone video posted by celebrity website TMZ appeared to show Elliott speaking with a woman and then with several security and event staff members, including one who falls backward over a metal parking area barricade.

Elliott's attorney, Frank Salzano in New York, told TMZ that event security misconstrued the situation and overreacted and that Elliott left Las Vegas for Dallas after the incident to be at his youth football camp Sunday.

Salzano didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

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Capitals hint at their plans for Shane Gersich next season with new contract

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Capitals hint at their plans for Shane Gersich next season with new contract

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan began tackling the items on his very long to-do list with the signing of prospect forward Shane Gersich. The team announced Monday that Gersich was re-signed to a one-year, two-way contract that carries a cap hit of $700,000.

Gersich will remain a restricted free agent at the end of the deal but will still be one year away from becoming arbitration eligible.

Gersich, who will turn 23 in July, just finished his first full professional season with the Hershey Bears, recording eight goals and 16 assists in 66 games.

“I learned a ton,” Gersich told NBC Sports Washington about his first AHL season. “I think our staff here is unbelievable. They've taught me so much, whether it's [showing] me video or doing skills or whatever. Can't say enough good things about them. And just my overall game, playing 200 feet and being aware of little details in the game. I think my game's grown a ton.”

Gersich’s original contract was for two seasons, but the first year was burned at the end of the 2017-18 season when he signed out of college at the end of the season and joined the Caps’ roster.

That transition from Stanley Cup champion to AHL the following season was a tough one for Gersich initially.

“Obviously, you were making your NHL debut and stuff like that, then it's kind of back to work and square one,” Gersich said. “For me, I know [I'm] definitely not the kid that's going to shy away from working or anything like that. So obviously, you've got to earn everything you get, and then that's how it is at every level.”

The speedy forward played in five games for Washington, three in the regular season and two in the playoffs during the Stanley Cup run. His speed was evident and has led many fans to wonder if the future is now for the young forward. His first year in Hershey showed, however, he still has a lot to learn before he reaches the NHL.

Gersich is still very much learning the game at the professional level. There was a little too much reaction in his game as opposed to action, which mitigated his speed. That is something he knows he needs to refine.

“I think just always being aware out there,” he said when talking about aspects of his game he wants to improve on. “Keeping my head on a swivel and making little plays. Just using my strengths too, I think. I've got to realize that I can use my speed out there a lot.”

The Caps will have a few roster spots open next season and not much money under the cap to fill those spots. Using young prospects is always an intriguing option. Gersich’s new contract, however, seems to indicate the Caps anticipate him spending the season in the AHL.

Gersich’s new contract carries an NHL salary of $700,000, which is actually lower than his first contract with a $925,000 salary. His minor-league salary, however, went up from $70,000 to $115,000. It may look like Gerisch is getting a pay cut based on the NHL numbers, but he actually is getting a raise because, barring a dazzling training camp, he will be spending most if not all of next season in Hershey. And if he does surprise, well now he has a lower NHL cap hit which is very important for a Washington team that will likely be very close to the salary cap.

While the implications of the contract seem clear, Gersich is excited for the opportunity to show he belongs in the NHL at training camp in the fall.

“Obviously, I want to play in the NHL,” he said. “It's been my goal my whole life, and that's the reason I left North Dakota. I think I'm ready for it, but you've got to wait and see until the time comes.”

The Caps also announced Monday the re-signing of forward Brian Pinho to a one-year, two-way contract. His contract carries a $700,000 NHL salary and a $100,000 AHL salary.

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