Miami picks Philbin
First head coaching job on heels of family tragedy
A month of wrenching emotion for Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin took a positive turn yesterday when he landed the Dolphins’ head coaching job.
The deal was sealed less than two weeks after Philbin’s 21-year-old son Michael drowned in an icy Wisconsin river.
A person familiar with the decision confirmed the agreement to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t made an announcement. The Dolphins are expected to hold a news conference today.
Philbin, who has never been a head coach, first interviewed with the Dolphins Jan. 7. The body of Michael, one of Philbin’s six children, was recovered the next day in Oshkosh.
After spending a week away from the Packers, Philbin rejoined the team last Sunday for its divisional playoff loss to the Giants.
Philbin, 50, has been with Green Bay since 2003 and has been offensive coordinator since 2007. Coach Mike McCarthy called the plays, but Philbin put together the game plan.
Philbin, who grew up in Longmeadow, has 28 years of coaching experience, all as an assistant, including 19 years in college. Before joining the Packers, Philbin was Iowa’s offensive line coach for four years. A tight end at Washington & Jefferson, Philbin has been an offensive coordinator at Northeastern (1995-96) and Harvard (1997-98).
The Dolphins, who are hiring their seventh coach in eight years, went 6-10 this season and missed the playoffs for the ninth time in the past decade.
Brees confident he’ll stay put
Drew Brees has spent the past six years reinvigorating the Saints, rewriting NFL records, and rebuilding New Orleans.
His contract may be expiring, but the Big Easy’s biggest sports star doesn’t see himself changing teams any time soon.
Brees said he would be “beyond stunned’’ if he and the Saints are unable to agree on a contract extension during this offseason, echoing comments by coach Sean Payton this week.
The former Super Bowl MVP added he doesn’t believe his next deal will prevent the Saints from bidding for other key members of their record-setting offense who will become free agents, including Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and receivers Marques Colston and Robert Meachem.
“My No. 1 priority, and it always has been this, is keeping our team together and making sure we have the right guys in the right positions to make a run at this for a long time,’’ Brees said by phone from his offseason home in San Diego. “We all kind of work together on this thing.
“Put it this way: I’m not worried one bit about my contract or our ability to keep guys at key positions.’’
At the same time, Brees acknowledged that his powers of persuasion only go so far as it pertains to teammates’ decisions to stay or go.
“Is it realistic to think we can keep absolutely everybody? I don’t know how realistic that is just because every year on a team there’s turnover and I think that’s just the business we’re in,’’ Brees said.
Brees is expected to command an annual salary in the range of $18 million, which would be commensurate with the average yearly pay of the Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Colts’ Peyton Manning.
Brees’s agent is Tom Condon, who also represents Manning.
In 2011, Brees set NFL season records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing, and a completion percentage of 71.2. His prolific passing numbers helped the Saints set an NFL high for total offensive yards in a season with 7,474.
Bears consider Emery for GM
Chiefs director of college scouting Phil Emery interviewed for the Bears’ general manager job. The Bears are looking to replace Jerry Angelo, who was fired after an 8-8 season. Emery served as an area scout with the Bears from 1998 to 2004 and was Atlanta’s director of college scouting from 2004 to 2008 before working as a regional scout for the Falcons leading up to the 2009 draft . . . Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, 57, retiring from coaching. Arians joined the Steelers as the wide receivers coach in 2004 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007 . . . New Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey added four assistants to his staff: John Bonamego (special teams), Sylvester Croom (running backs), Bobby Johnson (tight ends), and Jerry Sullivan (receivers) . . . The Bengals will train this summer in their Cincinnati home at Paul Brown Stadium, ending their 15-year run of holding training camp at Georgetown College in Kentucky, some 70 miles south.
Roethlisberger settles lawsuit
Lawyers for Ben Roethlisberger and a woman who accused him of raping her at a Lake Tahoe hotel-casino in 2008 have reached a settlement that ends her civil lawsuit against the Steelers quarterback. It also dismisses claims against Harrah’s employees whom the woman had accused of covering up the alleged sexual assault in Roethlisberger’s penthouse suite . . . The Steelers signed 2006 Heisman Trophy quarterback Troy Smith. Smith spent three seasons with the Ravens (2007-09), beating the Steelers as a rookie starter in 2007. He last played with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League . . . The Packers signed quarterback Nick Hill, who played in the Arena Football League for the Orlando Predators in 2010-11 before signing with the AFL’s Tampa Bay Storm for this season.