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NFL roundup: Coaches sent packing on Black Monday


Four teams parted with their coaches on the dark NFL day known as Black Monday.

The San Francisco 49ers actually split with Jim Harbaugh on Sunday night, and on Monday the New York Jets fired Rex Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons dismissed Mike Smith and the Chicago Bears released Marc Trestman.

In addition, general managers John Idzik (Jets) and Phil Emery (Bears) were let go.

The Oakland Raiders also are expected to find a new coach after finishing the season with Tony Sparano in charge. They fired Dennis Allen in September.

–Four straight seasons out of the playoffs was enough for New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, who fired head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik Monday, a day after the team finished 4-12.

“We’re in the win business,” owner Woody Johnson said in a news conference. “We’re not winning.”

Ryan met privately with Johnson before 8 a.m. ET and one final full-squad meeting was scheduled after that.

“I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 football season,” Johnson said in a statement. “Over the years, Rex brought the Jets a bold confidence and a couple of great postseason runs.”

Johnson, who also thanked Idzik for his “significant contributions,” confirmed that former NFL general managers Ron Wolf and Charley Casserly are advising him in a coaching search that is already underway.

“We will consider all options to improve the Jets,” Johnson said.

Ryan, 52, has a 46-50 record in six seasons as the Jets’ coach. In his first two seasons with the team, 2009 and 2010, the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship Game each season. Over the past four seasons, New York finished 8-8 twice, 6-10 and 4-12.

–Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith was fired after completing a 6-10 campaign in 2014 and going 10-22 the past two seasons.

“Smitty’s contributions to our club, team and city over the last seven years are numerous,” owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “His accomplishments on the field made him the most successful coach in the 49-year history of the Falcons, and we are grateful for the foundation he has laid for us for the future.”

The Falcons lost five of six after winning the regular-season opener in overtime, and it became apparent the team’s aspirations of contending in the NFC were unfounded. Smith was 66-46 with the Falcons, including four playoff appearances.

Blank retained general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who will take part in the team’s coaching search.

—Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery were fired.

Trestman was hired in a winding interview process that included more than 12 candidates. The other finalist for the opening was Bruce Arians, who just completed a 10-6 season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Trestman said Sunday he planned to return, but after a 6-10 finish and drama-filled season, his fate was determined several weeks ago. The Bears lost five straight games to end the season and eight of their final 10.

Chicago was 8-8 in 2013.

—New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could be a candidate for one of the five coaching vacancies, but he said his current job is his first priority.

The Patriots are the top seed in the AFC and will not play on wild-card weekend. The week ahead is the first window in which assistant coaches for playoff teams are cleared to interview for head-coaching vacancies if granted formal permission from their current teams.

“I know that this is that time of the year, but I know that there is also a procedure in place, and those things will sort themselves out,” said McDaniels, who was a finalist with the Cleveland Browns and was previously a head coach with the Denver Broncos. “I’ve said a number of times I’m very happy here. I think I’ve got one of the best jobs you could possibly have, and I’m just trying to do the best I can here. My focus has been on the Patriots. It will stay on the Patriots right now.”

The Broncos fired McDaniels 12 games into the 2010 season. He was 3-9 at the time, and 11-17 overall in Denver.

–The San Francisco 49ers are moving quickly to replace the departing Jim Harbaugh, reportedly requesting permission to speak with the defensive coordinators for two of their division rivals and the Denver Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

At the top of the 49ers’ list are Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Arizona DC Todd Bowles and Denver OC Adam Gase, according to multiple reports. San Francisco owner Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke reportedly told players Monday that they expect to have a new coach in place within two weeks.

The Atlanta Falcons reportedly have asked to speak to each of the three as well.

All three have previous connections with the 49ers. Bowles played safety for them in 1991, when George Seifert was coach. Quinn was an assistant from 2001 to 2004, spanning the regimes of coaches Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson. Gase was an assistant in 2008, when Mike Singletary replaced Mike Nolan as coach.

The 49ers also are expected to consider current defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

–The New York Giants told head coach Tom Coughlin that he will be back in 2015.

Coughlin, who has two Super Bowl wins with the Giants, has a meeting with owner John Mara later in the day to discuss potential coaching staff changes, reported.

The Giants went 6-10 this season, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. The Giants opened the season 3-2, but they lost their next seven games.

–Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been suspended for his team’s playoff game in Dallas on Sunday.

Suh stepped on the lower leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Rodgers lay on the ground during the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 30-20 win Sunday.

On Sunday, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy called it “ridiculous” and said, “There’s no place for that.”

Before the news of the suspension came on Monday, Detroit coach Mike Caldwell said he had reviewed the incident and talked to Suh about it and would await the league’s decision. Suh is expected to appeal.

–The Detroit Lions are likely to be without their top two defensive tackles when they meet the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday, but the Cowboys might be without one of their own interior defenders as well.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a leg injury Sunday in Dallas’ 44-17 win over the Washington Redskins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Melton was to undergo an MRI on Monday.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers’ celebration of their first AFC North Division championship in four years was somewhat muted by the knee injury to the player they voted their MVP last week, halfback Le’Veon Bell.

He was hurt in the third quarter by Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson’s low open-field tackle in the third quarter. Mike Tomlin said it was a hyperextended knee that appears to have no major structural damage. However, Bell’s availability for Saturday night’s playoff game against Baltimore at Heinz Field has to be in serious doubt.

According to ESPN, an MRI did not reveal any ligament damage to Bell’s knee, but he will have to play through considerable pain if he is able to suit up.

–Johnny Manziel said reports that his tardiness to Saturday’s walkthrough was caused by late-night partying are “100 percent false.”

The Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback said he went out with friends from his hometown of Kerrville, Texas, on Friday night in Cleveland, but he didn’t throw a party.

“It’s about action,” Manziel said Monday. “It’s about being accountable and doing what I’m gonna say instead of looking like a jackass.”

Manziel said he was not with wide receiver Josh Gordon — who was suspended for missing the walkthrough as an active player — on Friday night but saw him earlier in the day and was not responsible for Gordon’s absence.

–Despite reports that Mike Wallace took himself out of Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets, the wide receiver and coach Joe Philbin maintained it was a coach’s decision for Wallace to sit out the second half of the season-ending 37-24 defeat.

Wallace was only targeted once in the first half, and reportedly told Philbin he did not want to play anymore after tight end Charles Clay scored a touchdown with 2:49 remaining in the second quarter. After the game, Wallace stood silently at his locker while teammates answered questions from the media for him.

Philbin maintained it was a coach’s decision for Wallace to sit out for the remainder of the game, but several Dolphins sources told the NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington that Wallace asked out and that teammates felt he “abandoned” them.

–Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks suffered a torn right ACL in Sunday’s finale and will undergo offseason surgery.

Marks was injured on Alfred Blue’s 1-yard touchdown run with 6:54 remaining in the first half of the Jaguars’ 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans.

Marks, 27, led the Jaguars with 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hurries. The Pro Bowl alternate also had 44 tackles and a fumble recovery.

–Veteran quarterback Kyle Orton announced he is retiring.

Orton made 12 starts, going 7-5, for the Buffalo Bills after joining the team a month into the season and replacing second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

“I just have been going at it for 10 years and it’s just a family decision and I’ve decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day,” said Orton, who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2005 out of Purdue and also played for the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys.

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