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Who might fill the NFL coaching openings

Who might fill the NFL coaching openings

When NFL coaching jobs open, the names Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy immediately surface as potential candidates.

Much more likely than any of those Super Bowl winners returning to the sideline for 2013 would be the hirings of more obscure assistant coaches such as Mike Zimmer, Mike McCoy and Gus Bradley.

And Jon Gruden's younger brother, Jay.

Sure, some of the best-known coaches, including Andy Reid, Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt, who lost their jobs Monday, will be in the mix. So might college coaches Chip Kelly of Oregon and Bill O'Brien of Penn State.

Maybe even Nick Saban, although leaving Alabama for the NFL is a long shot.

Bringing in highly accomplished coordinators has been the most common route for NFL teams lately. Cincinnati's Zimmer and Gruden and Denver's McCoy top most lists, along with Bruce Arians, who went 9-3 as Indianapolis' interim coach this season.

``Obviously, he's earned any phone call he gets, he's earned that right,'' Colts coach Chuck Pagano said of Arians, who replaced him for 12 games while Pagano underwent chemotherapy for leukemia. ``And let me just say this, we do not want to lose Bruce Arians. We know who he is and what he's meant to this football team ...''

Zimmer was turned down twice last season after interviewing with Tampa Bay, which brought in Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, and Miami (Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin). The defensive mastermind still wants to be a head coach somewhere, but isn't getting his hopes up.

``Honestly, I don't listen to that stuff anymore,'' he said in early December. ``Honest-to-God's truth. I've had for so many years, have people say, `This is your year.' Then at the end of the year for about three days I'm totally depressed because I see this guy get a job, that guy get a job, that guy get a job.

``So it's in my best interest not to think about it, talk about it and just try to do the best job I can because I'm like (everybody else), I get disappointed too.''

Gruden, who cut his coaching teeth in Arena Football and has revived Cincinnati's offense around Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, got some interest from other teams after last season. He quickly took himself out of the running, but might get more suitors with seven jobs open.

So might McCoy, whose adaptability is unquestioned after he adjusted Denver's offense for Tim Tebow's skill set last season, then made Peyton Manning's transition from the Colts to the Broncos so smooth.

Arians joined the Colts after he was released as Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator. When Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia, Arians stepped in and guided a team that went 2-14 a year ago into the playoffs.

Bradley has helped Pete Carroll build a physical, sometimes intimidating and always effective defense in Seattle. That style of defense will be attractive to teams such as the Bears, Browns and Eagles who have to deal with cold weather late in the schedule.

Kelly is one of the most intriguing candidates. The NFL is loath to admit it is enamored of anything college teams do, but Kelly's wide-open, speed-based offense has lots of pro franchises salivating.

He has been mentioned for most NFL openings, and that figures to continue.

Retreads also will get interviews, and not only the coaches who were canned on Monday. Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and Atlanta DC Mike Nolan might have earned another chance.

``When you're a young guy and you haven't been there, the urgency and desire to get that opportunity is such that you'd take just about any job given to you,'' said Del Rio, who was in charge in Jacksonville for nine seasons. ``I don't feel that way now. If there's something that fits and the right situation comes along, so be it. But in the meantime, I'm all in, 100 percent as a lieutenant on this staff. I'm somebody that John Fox, John Elway ... and the players can count on. I'm 100 percent invested in helping them be their best.''

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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver, and Sports Writers Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Michael Marot contributed to this story.

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

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Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

Wizards' John Wall reveals he's about to start jogging in rehab from Achilles injury

A couple of weeks ago, John Wall was spotted at a Washington Mystics game with no brace to support his Achilles injury, a sign that his rehab from the injury was moving in the right direction. 

On Monday night at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Wizards point guard gave affirmation that he is indeed continuing to get healthier and stronger.

"I feel great, man," Wall told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller on the red carpet. "I'm doing a great job with my body, taking care of that."

Specifically, Wall has been able to slowly increase what he can do on his legs. The recovery and rehab for an injury as severe as his is a long road, and the point guard is making sure not to speed up the process and risk hindering the progress. However, he's about to reach a pretty big milestone in the journey during the coming weeks.

"I'm about to start jogging in like two weeks. Just riding the bike, I get to do exercises standing up now, so I don't have to sit down. I'm able to move, do ladder steps, doing those types of things," Wall said. "Just taking my time and progressing and letting everything heal the right way so I don't force myself back and get another injury."

As Wall continues to work to get back on the court, he's had plenty of motivational factors pushing him through some grueling months. His recent string of injuries have left some wondering if he'll still be an elite player when he finally.

He's heard those comments and he's using them to his advantage.

"I'm one of those guys that's very driven by all the hate and all the negative talk I'm getting. Keep it going," Wall said.

"Everybody said I can't be myself, I won't be nowhere near as good again. That's all the other stuff that's going to fuel me. I don't get upset about it, you're entitled to your own opinion. Please keep it going."

The haters have given Wall some extra juice, but so has his son Ace. Spending the offseason getting right has allowed Wall to work in another area of life: fatherhood.

The newest addition to his family has taken his desire for greatness to new heights.

"I've always had that drive that I want to be the greatest. To have a son like that, that's watching everything I can do. Even though he doesn't understand what's going on, he's putting memories in his head," Wall said. 

"So that gives me extra, extra motivation to another level I never thought I could. Like I said before, that's the best blessing a man could ever ask for is to have a son."

While Wall's offseason has been a busy one as he juggles rehab and being a dad, he's still been very involved in everything going on inside the franchise.

He's already chatted with first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura, and is excited for what is to come for the Wizards. Wall is also hoping that Hachimura will help improve his Japanese so that he can grow a larger following internationally. 

As the calendar slowly turns to July, both Wall and the Wizards' offseasons will ramp up. It's been an up and down time for both lately, but he's excited about the future.

"I think it's good," Wall said about the Wizards situation. "We added some pieces. See what we do in free agency to add some guys to bring back or we're going to go after somebody new. I think we'll be fine."

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Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

Bradley Beal wins the 2019 NBA Cares Community Assist Award three years after John Wall

While he was putting together the best season of his career, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was also making a profound impact off the court and those efforts have earned him a significant honor, the NBA's 2018-19 Community Assist Award.

The news was revealed at Monday's NBA Awards in Santa Monica, CA as Beal got the nod over nine other finalists. He is the second Wizards player to win the honor in just the last four years following John Wall in 2015-16.

Beal was involved in a variety of charitable efforts this past season. He has partnered with the Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Northeast Washington to help underprivileged youth. He visited the school in December and gave out shoes.

During the All-Star break in February, as he made his second appearance in the annual showcase, Beal handed out meals at a food bank alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This past year he also gave out Christmas presents in the Washington area and took a group of kids on a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Beal was named a finalist for the Community Assist Award in April along with Jarrett Allen (Nets), Mike Conley (Jazz), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), Dwight Powell (Mavs) and Pascal Siakam (Raptors). Part of the criteria was based on fan voting through social media that was held from April 24 through May 25.

Beal, 25, continues to ascend on the court as well. This year he posted career-highs in points (25.6/g), assists (5.5/g) and rebounds (5.0/g). He nearly made All-NBA in late May with the most votes of any guard that was left out.

In Beal and Wall, the Wizards have quite the combination. Both have been All-Stars on the court and now both can say they won the NBA's top honor for charity work as well.

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