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Reid among 7 NFL coaches sacked in firing frenzy

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Reid among 7 NFL coaches sacked in firing frenzy

Andy Reid is the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Lovie Smith led the Chicago Bears to the 2007 Super Bowl.

Now they're looking for work.

Seven coaches and five general managers were fired Monday in a flurry of pink slips that were delivered the day after the regular-season ended.

Ken Whisenhunt is out after helping Arizona reach the Super Bowl following the 2008 season. Also gone: Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.

Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach - San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.

Reid was the longest tenured of the coaches, removed after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl appearance in 2005 - a loss to New England. Smith spent nine seasons with the Bears.

Turner has now been fired as head coach by three teams. San Diego won the AFC West from 2006-09, but didn't make the postseason the last three years under Turner and GM A.J. Smith.

``Both Norv and A.J. are consummate NFL professionals, and they understand that in this league, the bottom line is winning,'' Chargers President Dean Spanos said in a statement.

Whisenhunt was fired after six seasons. He had more wins than any other coach in Cardinals history, going 45-51, and has one year worth about $5.5 million left on his contract. GM Rod Graves had been with Arizona for 16 years, nine in his current position. A 5-11 record after a 4-0 start cost him and Whisenhunt their jobs.

Gailey was dumped after three seasons with the Bills; Shurmur after two; and Crennel had one full season with the Chiefs.

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

But the team hasn't won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season's 8-8 finish, owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year. Instead, it was even worse. The Eagles finished 4-12.

``When you have a season like that, it's embarrassing. It's personally crushing to me and it's terrible,'' Lurie said at a news conference. He said he respects Reid and plans to stay friends with him, ``but, it is time for the Eagles to move in a new direction.''

Shurmur went 9-23 in his two seasons with the Browns, who will embark on yet another offseason of change - the only constant in more than a decade of futility. Cleveland has lost at least 11 games in each of the past five seasons and made the playoffs just once since returning to the NFL as an expansion team in 1999.

``Ultimately our objective is to put together an organization that will be the best at everything we do,'' Browns CEO Joe Banner said. ``On the field, our only goal is trying to win championships.''

Crennel took over with three games left in the 2011 season after GM Scott Pioli fired Todd Haley. Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft as a result of having one of the worst seasons in its 53-year history. The only other time the Chiefs finished 2-14 was 2008, the year before Pioli was hired.

``I am embarrassed by the poor product we gave our fans this season, and I believe we have no choice but to move the franchise in a different direction,'' Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement.

Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach, compiled a 16-32 record in his three seasons in Buffalo, never doing better than 6-10.

``This will probably be, and I say probably, but I think it will be the first place that's ever fired me that I'll pull for,'' Gailey said.

Smith and the Bears went 10-6 this season and just missed a playoff spot. But Chicago started 7-1 and has struggled to put together a productive offense throughout Smith's tenure. His record was 81-63 with the Bears, and he took them to one Super Bowl loss and to one NFC championship game defeat.

Receiver and kick return standout Devin Hester was bitter about Smith's firing.

``The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted,'' Hester said as he cleared out his locker. ``The majority of you all wanted him out. As players we wanted him in. I guess the fans - the false fans - outruled us. I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches I've ever been around.''

The fired GMs included Mike Tannenbaum of the Jets; Gene Smith of the Jaguars; Tom Heckert of the Browns; Smith of the Chargers and Graves of Arizona.

``You hope that those guys that obviously were victims of black Monday land on their feet,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. ``You've got guys that have been to Super Bowls and won championship games and all of a sudden they've forgot how to coach, I guess.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Troy Brown Jr. starting at point guard for first time in his career against Bucks

Troy Brown Jr. starting at point guard for first time in his career against Bucks

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks had indicated Troy Brown Jr. would start at least one game at point guard before their season came to a close in Orlando and it turns out Tuesday will be that game. 

Brown will start against the Milwaukee Bucks alongside Jerome Robinson, Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. They will face off against the top team in the East and the NBA's best defense, but Milwaukee will be missing several key players, including point guard Eric Bledsoe.

Still, it is a good test for Brown, who is in his second season after joining the Wizards as a first round pick.

"He's going to be running the show. I'm looking forward to it. He's excited about it," Brooks said. "He's been prepping for it a little bit with the point forward role that he's had down here. It's another good reason why we're fortunate to be down here."

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Brooks expounded on that last point. This is a perfect example, he says, of the value the Wizards see in being involved in the NBA's restart. They were the final team of the 22 invited by the league based on record.

"It has given us an opportunity to explore and experiment and otherwise during the season it would be hard to do that," Brooks said.

RELATED: WIZARDS NEED TO TAKE MORE THREE AGAINST BUCKS

Brooks added that next year will be different with John Wall back from his long rehab from Achilles surgery. But there is no question this is a good chance for Brown to show what he can do at a position he says he feels most comfortable playing.

And since Wall will likely be limited at first from back-to-backs and playing entire games, there is reason to believe they will need three point guards next season. Brown could at the very least be a wing most of the time and slide over to the point guard spot when needed.

On Tuesday, he will get to audition for that role.

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Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says there was 'too much uncertainty' to have a fall season

Less than a week ago, the Big Ten Conference released a 2020 conference-only football schedule. Though there were no guarantees it would be played amid the coronavirus pandemic, it seemed like a positive step for college athletics.

Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Big Ten announced that the fall sports season would be no more. What caused the quick departure? According to commissioner Kevin Warren, it wasn't additional facts about COVID-19 and its impact, but rather the lack of them.

“There’s too much uncertainty," Warren said on Tuesday during an interview on the Big Ten Network. "We have a lot of uncertainty going on now.”

The coronavirus has been in the United States for several months now, but much is still unknown about its effects on the human body and society. While the Big Ten had been working diligently to provide its players and staff with testing and up-to-date protocols, not every possible outcome could be covered.

As Warren explained it, for each question that is answered in relation to COVID-19, a new one pops up. As the pandemic continues on, professionals continue to learn more about how it acts and what impact it can have both short and long term.

An example of that would be Myocarditis –– or the inflammation of the heart muscle -- which has been found in several college athletes and linked to the coronavirus. Not initially considered to be a factor of the virus, it's now become a major concern for the Big Ten and other conferences.

That's just one aspect of the unknown Warren and others are dealing with. Taking a step back and looking at the whole picture, Warren also noted that the COVID-19 questions go beyond the field. It's a problem the entire world is dealing with.

“It’s not only in the Big Ten. I think just across the country and in the world there is so much uncertainty about this virus," Warren said.

In the end, while Warren feels the conference has done a solid job of protecting players during workouts in the summer, there was still too much to be learned before he and others could feel comfortable resuming collegiate sports.

Now, with hopes to resume in the spring, Warren and other Big Ten officials will head out in search of the answers that will eliminate the unknown of the virus. Just like how society strives to return to normal, continuing to learn will be the only way to make it possible.

“We’ll gather information, prepare, plan and create an environment that our students-athletes will be able to participate in when it’s safe and there’s less uncertainty," Warren said. 

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