NFL: Week 17

Redskins fire Zorn and woo Shanahan

Associated Press / January 5, 2010

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The Redskins yesterday moved quickly in their pursuit of Mike Shanahan, flying in the former Broncos coach on the same day the team fired Jim Zorn.

Shanahan landed at Dulles International Airport near Redskins Park mid-afternoon and was driven away in a limousine to meet with owner Dan Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen.

Shanahan’s arrival was just one dramatic movement in a fast-moving day as the Redskins sought a new direction after a 4-12 season. It started when Zorn was dismissed in the pre-dawn hours after Sunday’s 23-20 loss at San Diego.

Shanahan won two Super Bowls in 14 seasons with the Broncos. He was fired a year ago after Denver missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Bills clear the decks
The Bills cleared the way for their next head coach, informing their entire coaching staff to start looking elsewhere for jobs. Interim coach Perry Fewell was among those relieved of his duties, though the Bills said he is still a candidate and will be interviewed . . . Giants coach Tom Coughlin dismissed rookie defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan late yesterday, hours after saying that Sheridan’s future with the team was going to be evaluated in the wake of an 8-8 season that ended with losses in eight of the final 11 games.

Woodson should be OK
Strained shoulder and all, the Packers’ Charles Woodson should be OK for Sunday’s playoff game. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy says he expects Woodson to be ready when the Packers return to Arizona to face the Cardinals for the second time in a week . . . Three significant players for the Cardinals are nursing injuries. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin has a sprained left ankle, defensive end Calais Campbell a broken left thumb, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie a bruised left kneecap. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Boldin was sore and underwent an MRI. He seemed optimistic Campbell and Rodgers-Cromartie would be ready . . . Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocino underwent an MRI on his sore left knee, which he injured slipping on the turf during warmups before the Jets’ 37-0 rout of Cincinnati Sunday night. Ochocinco tweeted early yesterday that he couldn’t extend the knee. He later tweeted that the MRI “went well’’, but he didn’t offer any other update on his status for Saturday’s wild-card rematch with New York . . . The Vikings have stretched their league-high total of Pro Bowl players to nine with the addition of rookie kick returner Percy Harvin.

Henry’s fiancée speaks
Chris Henry’s fiancée told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines’’ that she wasn’t driving fast when the Bengals receiver was fatally injured after she says he jumped out of the back of a moving pickup she was driving Dec. 16. “I think he thought maybe he was going to land. He was going to land right,’’ Loleini (Leini) Tonga said in her first public comments about the incident. “I wasn’t going fast. Maybe he was scared because he saw someone calling the police.’’ Henry, 26, died Dec. 17, the cause of death listed as blunt-force trauma. The incident, still under investigation, followed a domestic dispute between Henry and Tonga at the Charlotte home owned by Tonga’s parents.

Turley testifies on concussion
Former NFL player Kyle Turley told members of Congress that while he still had a severe headache, the Rams cleared him for full-contact drills four days after a concussion seven years ago. Turley, who retired in 2007 after a career with the Saints, Rams, and Chiefs, was one of several witnesses at a hearing who took shots at Ira Casson, a neurologist from New York and former co-chairman of the NFL’s panel on head injuries. Under questioning, Casson stuck to his position that there is no proven connection between football head injuries and brain disease . . . A rookie wage scale is among the issues the NFL and the players’ union are expected to discuss during labor negotiations this week . . . Kimberly Shpeley, a pedestrian who was hit by Bills running back Marshawn Lynch’s SUV in 2008, is suing the player, claiming he was drunk and that she was permanently injured.

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