The Carolina Panthers quickly filled their opening at defensive coordinator, hiring Ron Meeks yesterday to replace Mike Trgovac.
Four days after Trgovac abruptly left after being offered a contract extension, the Panthers turned their struggling defense over to Meeks, who spent the past seven seasons running Indianapolis's defense.
While the Colts are best known for their offense, they finished in the top seven in points allowed five times during Meeks's tenure. Indianapolis led the NFL in scoring defense in 2007.
Meeks left Indy after Tony Dungy stepped down as coach at the end of this season.
"He's an outstanding teacher who has enjoyed great success as a coordinator in the league and brings a strong background of coaching championship defenses," said Panthers coach John Fox, who has seen five assistants step down since their upset loss to Arizona in the playoffs.
Meeks, 54, will take over a defense that got worse as this season went on. Carolina allowed 30 or more points in six of its last seven games, including in the 33-13 loss to the Cardinals.
The Panthers may also have to deal with the departure of four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers, an impending free agent who has said he wants to play elsewhere next season.
"This is a great opportunity," Meeks said in a statement. "I have followed the Panthers from my involvement in football and they have done a great job over the years. I expect to continue that success while trying to improve as well."
He'll also have to mesh with Fox, who had taken an active role in Trgovac's defense the past two seasons. Trgovac, who had finished his seventh season on Fox's staff and his sixth year running the defense, turned down a two-year contract extension.
Ravens replace Ryan
The Ravens promoted Greg Mattison
to defensive coordinator, a move designed to maintain a sense of continuity on a unit that excelled under the departed Rex Ryan
, who recently took the Jets' top job.
Mattison, 59, was hired as Baltimore's linebackers coach last February. Although he has only one year of NFL experience, Mattison was defensive coordinator at Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida.
Screen pass for T.O. Terrell Owens
will star in his own television show on VH1 this summer, about his life off the field. VH1 announced that the series takes place in the offseason, and the controversial wide receiver's best friends and publicists will help him re-examine his personal life . . . George Kokinis
was introduced as the Browns' general manager. Kokinis, 41, was Baltimore's director of pro personnel the past six seasons. The Browns also announced the resignations of director of player personnel T.J. McCreight
and vice chairman Bob Kain
, an adviser to owner Randy Lerner
. . . New Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo
added three to his staff: Dick Curl
as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach, Paul Ferraro
as a defensive assistant, and Frank Leonard
as an offensive assistant . . . The widow of Korey Stringer
reached a settlement with the NFL over the Viking's heatstroke death in training camp in 2001. Under an agreement with Kelci Stringer
, the NFL will support her efforts to create a heat illness prevention program.
Hall of Famer Carl Eller
was convicted of assaulting a police officer who tried to arrest him after he swerved and nearly struck a squad car last April in Minnesota. Eller, 67, was found guilty of fourth-degree assault of an officer and second-degree refusing to submit to a field sobriety test, and faces up to a year in a workhouse on each count when he is sentenced Feb. 23 . . . Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill
apologized after his weekend arrest in the Atlanta area for investigation of misdemeanor marijuana possession . . . Former NFL lineman Jerry Fowler
, 68, died in Baton Rouge, La., of complications from an unspecified surgery. Fowler played in four games for the Houston Oilers in 1964 before moving on to politics.
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