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Caldwell is fired by Colts

Irsay: 'It's part of the business'

Associated Press / January 18, 2012
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Not having an injured Peyton Manning around in 2011 was just too much for Colts coach Jim Caldwell to overcome.

Caldwell was fired yesterday, a little more than two weeks after the Colts’ worst season in two decades.

“This is obviously a big transitional time for us, but I know we’re excited and it’s hard when you say goodbyes to some people,’’ team owner Jim Irsay said. “But it’s part of the business.’’

The day after a season-ending loss at Jacksonville assured Indy of the No. 1 draft pick in April with a 2-14 mark, Irsay fired team vice chairman Bill Polian, the architect of the Colts’ success, and his son, Chris, the hand-picked general manager.

Irsay’s search for a replacement ended last Wednesday when he chose 39-year-old Ryan Grigson as Indy’s new GM. Irsay and Grigson then made their decision on Caldwell.

Caldwell ends his Colts’ tenure 26-22 overall with one AFC title and two division crowns.

Nolan to Falcons

The Falcons hired former 49ers coach Mike Nolan as their defensive coordinator. He takes over for Brian VanGorder, who returned to the college ranks to take the same position at Auburn. Also, offensive line coach Paul Boudreau was let go . . . A person familiar with the meeting said former Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo has agreed to interview with the Saints today for the club’s vacant defensive coordinator job . . . According to the Chargers’ website, the team promoted Hal Hunter to offensive coordinator/offensive line and named former Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild senior offensive assistant/special assignments.

Fisher refreshed

After a year off, Jeff Fisher said he is refreshed and ready to take on the challenge in St. Louis. The Rams finished 2-14 this year, tied for the NFL’s worst. Fisher was formally introduced as coach of the Rams after signing a five-year contract. He chose the Rams over the Dolphins. “My decision was very, very simple,’’ he said. “It was based on a shared collective vision in restoring this franchise to a place of significance.’’ Fisher, 53, sat out the 2011 season after 17 years in Tennessee . . . Reggie McKenzie’s short list of candidates to fill the Raiders’ vacant head coaching job has grown by another name. Oakland’s new GM has been given permission to interview Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg for the job.

Payton weighs in

Saints coach Sean Payton said he cannot envision his team without quarterback Drew Brees, who could opt for free agency this winter now that he’s played out his six-year contract. “I don’t see that happening,’’ Payton said . . . League sources told NFL.com that the Browns, who have the fourth overall pick in the draft, would like to trade up to acquire Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III . . . Broncos tailback Willis McGahee and left tackle Ryan Clady have been added to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster as injury replacements.

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