The New York Giants hired Jerry Reese as their general manager yesterday, making him only the third black GM in NFL history.
Reese, who served as the team's director of player personnel the last four years, was considered the favorite among the Giants' in-house candidates to replace Ernie Accorsi, who held the post for nine seasons before retiring.
The 43-year-old Reese will formally be introduced as general manager and senior vice president at a news conference this morning, the team said on its website.
The only other black general managers in the NFL are Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome and Houston's Rick Smith. There are several black men who have considerable say in front offices, notably Rod Graves of Arizona, whose title is senior vice president-football operations. Ray Anderson was vice president of the Atlanta Falcons for the last four years before moving to the NFL in August as senior VP of football operations.
There were seven black head coaches in the NFL last season, the most ever. Two, Dennis Green of the Cardinals and Art Shell of Oakland, were fired after the season, although Shell will remain in the Raiders' front office.
Critics of the NFL's minority hiring policy generally have praised the league for increasing the number of minority coaches, but they have pointed out that there is a void in the front office.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, Reese first joined the Giants' scouting department in 1994 after working on the coaching staff at his alma mater.
As the Giants' player personnel director, he oversaw college scouting and had most of the responsibility for the draft. Reese had served as assistant director of pro personnel for three years.
Panthers ax Henning
The Carolina Panthers fired offensive coordinator Dan Henning
and two other assistants, two weeks after finishing a disappointing 8-8 season. Offensive line coach Mike Maser
and secondary coach Rod Perry
were also let go, the first major moves by the Panthers after they failed to make the playoffs despite preseason Super Bowl hopes. The Panthers were hurt by injuries on the offensive line, but Henning's play calling also came under fire as being too conservative as Carolina struggled to run and get the ball to receiver Steve Smith
. The 65-year-old Henning, who formerly coached at Boston College, also was a head man with the Falcons and San Diego Chargers . . . The Green Bay Packers promoted Joe Philbin
to offensive coordinator, replacing Jeff Jagodzinski,
who was hired as coach at BC last month. Philbin is in his fifth season with the Packers. He had served as Green Bay's assistant offensive line coach and tight ends/assistant offensive line coach. Winston Moss
was promoted to assistant head coach/defense, James Campen
to offensive line coach, and Jerry Fontenot
to assistant offensive line coach . . . The Baltimore Ravens promoted Rick Neuheisel
from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, although coach Brian Billick
said he'll call the plays next season.
Peterson, Ginn go pro
Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson
will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. "In the end, I think I just realized that this is a business decision and that it is time for me to take that next step," Peterson said in a statement released by the university yesterday, the deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves eligible. Game-breaking Ohio State wide receiver/kick returner Ted Ginn Jr.
and running back Antonio Pittman
announced they will skip their senior seasons to go pro, joining Buckeyes receiver Anthony Gonzalez
, who made a similar decision last week. Record-breaking Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan
also declared himself eligible but said he may return to the Warriors, and QB Brian Brohm
will return for his senior season at Louisville.
Assistant head coach Russ Grimm
has emerged as the front-runner for the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching job, a search that was narrowed to three finalists after offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt
left for Arizona. The Steelers identified Grimm, a Pittsburgh assistant for six years, and defensive coordinators Mike Tomlin
of the Minnesota Vikings and Ron Rivera
of the Chicago Bears as the finalists. Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey
is no longer being considered . . . New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer
withdrew from consideration for the Miami Dolphins coaching job . . . Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck
revealed that he played the final eight games of the season with broken fingers on his non-passing hand. Hasselbeck said he sustained non-displaced fractures of two fingers on his left hand during a win against Green Bay Nov. 27 . . . Police in Montclair, N.J., were called to the former house of Michael Strahan
over a dispute between the Giants defensive end and his ex-wife. A police spokesman said officers responded to a call at the northern New Jersey home Sunday that stemmed from a dispute over child custody. No arrests were made. Last week, Strahan was ordered to pay his ex-wife $15.3 million, or more than half his net worth, in keeping with their prenuptial agreement.
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