Just call them the Kansas City Patriots.
With Romeo Crennel yesterday agreeing to become their defensive coordinator, when the Chiefs take the field next year, they will have the same defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator, and top front office executive who helped lead New England to three Super Bowl titles between 2002-05.
Throw in quarterback Matt Cassel, who backed up Tom Brady with the Patriots, and the New England-Kansas City connection becomes even stronger as general manager Scott Pioli attempts to reverse the fortunes of the long-suffering Chiefs.
Crennel, who was out of football this past season following hip surgery, will be reunited with Charlie Weis, who was New England’s offensive coordinator and agreed last week to take that job with the Chiefs.
They’ll be working for Pioli, who one year ago resigned as Patriots personnel director to become GM of the Chiefs. One of Pioli’s first acts was to trade for Cassel and make him the foundation quarterback for his long-term rebuilding project.
Crennel’s agent, Joe Linta, said Crennel would begin working for the Chiefs in a “couple of weeks’’ after attending to some family business and coaching in the East-West all-star game. The Chiefs declined comment.
The Giants had also expressed interest in Crennel, and talked with him by phone Monday. But he told them the Chiefs, who run a 3-4 defense similar to what he coached in New England, would probably be his first choice.
Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer
reportedly has turned down the Bills’ request to interview him for their vacant head coaching job. ESPN.com
, citing anonymous sources, reported that Schottenheimer has told the Bills he does not want to talk to them about the position this week or after the Jets’ playoff run is over. New York plays at San Diego Sunday in the AFC divisional round. The Bills asked for and received permission Monday from the Jets to speak with Schottenheimer, who last week said he’s happy in New York and hopes “I’m here for a long time.’’ . . . Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel
stepped down after more than three decades in the NFL. Bugel said it’s “tough to walk away,’’ but he’s about to turn 70 and wants to spend time with his family. New Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
says he tried to talk Bugel into staying. Bugel coached the dominant Redskins offensive line that became known as the “Hogs’’ in the 1980s, during Joe Gibbs’s
first stint as head coach . . . Texans assistant coach Alex Gibbs
has agreed to join Pete Carroll’s
Johnson wins vote
That blur speeding away from defenses and running off with the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year award is Chris Johnson
. Considered the fastest man in pro football, Johnson was uncatchable in setting a league mark for yards from scrimmage (2,509) and becoming the sixth player with a 2,000-yard rushing season. He is the first NFL player to finish with at least 2,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving (503). That earned the second-year pro 38 1/2 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the NFL. Johnson easily beat New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees
, who received nine votes. “I kind of realize what I did and I feel like I had a dream season,’’ said Johnson, who scored 16 touchdowns (14 rushing).
Jets give Jones a break
Jets running back Thomas Jones
did not practice yesterday but is expected to play at San Diego Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan
said Jones was held out of practice to give the player who is third in the NFL in rushing a break. Ryan said Jones was listed on the injury report with a knee injury but added he could’ve practiced fully. Ryan said Jones has a bruised knee and there are “no problems at all with him.’’ Jones rushed for a career-high 1,402 yards and a franchise-record 14 touchdowns in the regular season . . . Ailing Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin
, along with inside linebacker Gerald Hayes
, did not practice yesterday. Boldin has been nursing left ankle and knee injuries he suffered in the Cardinals’ regular-season finale against Green Bay. He was inactive for their 51-45 overtime victory over the Packers in the first round of the playoffs last Sunday. The Cardinals play at New Orleans Saturday. Hayes suffered a right ankle injury on the first play of the playoff game but continued to play. Coach Ken Whisenhunt
says both players are likely to be game-day decisions.
Barber expects to play
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips
has a good reason to believe running back Marion Barber
will do everything possible to overcome a knee injury in time to play a second-round playoff game in Minnesota. “He’s been mad at me the last two years because I didn’t let him play in the preseason game there,’’ Phillips said, chuckling. “So I know he wants to play there just from that.’’ Barber never has played in his home state as a pro, and the high stakes of Sunday’s game are further incentive. However, he is dealing with a sore left knee that limited him to three carries this past weekend and forced him to miss practice yesterday . . . The Vikings plan to move cornerback Antoine Winfield
back to the outside for parts of their playoff game against the Cowboys. Winfield’s right foot injury prompted the Vikings to reduce his role in the regular-season finale against the Giants . . . The Supreme Court yesterday didn’t seem interested in immediately granting the NFL the broad antitrust law protection the league is seeking. Justices seemed skeptical of arguments that the NFL should be considered one business, not 32 separate teams working together, when it comes to selling NFL-branded items. The lower courts had thrown out an antitrust lawsuit brought against the league by one of its former hat makers.
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