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NFL notebook: Colts dismiss OC Hamilton


The Sports Xchange

One day after the Indianapolis Colts lost in overtime at Carolina to fall to 3-5, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was fired.

The Colts announced Tuesday that Rob Chudzinski will take over Hamilton’s duties.

Indianapolis lost 29-26 to the Panthers in overtime on Monday night.

“Through the first eight weeks of the season, we have felt our offense hasn’t performed at the consistent level that we need,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in a statement. “Because of this, we’ve decided to go in a different direction and relieve Pep Hamilton of his duties as offensive coordinator. As head coach of this team, it’s my responsibility to make sure I’m doing everything we can to put us in the best position to succeed.”

Hamilton came to the Colts in 2013 from Stanford, where he was as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2011 to 2012 and worked with quarterback Andrew Luck before the Colts made him the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Chudzinski joined the Colts in 2014 as a special assistant and was promoted to associate head coach in January. The 47-year-old Chudzinski has worked as an offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers and was the Browns’ head coach for one season in 2013.

—Mike Mularkey showed up for work in Nashville early Tuesday morning planning to shape a plan the running game at New Orleans. Not long after he began his workday, Mularkey was a head coach for the third time and plans changes for the Tennessee Titans.

He will serve as interim coach after head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired without warning. Whisenhunt was 3-20 as head coach in Tennessee, including 1-6 this season. Only one coach in NFL history had was worse in his first 23 games with a team (John McKay, 0-23 from 1976 to 1978).

Mularkey, 16-32 as a head coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills, said he never thought a third opportunity would come.

—Blaine Gabbert is starting at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this week, a move that sends former Pro Bowl passer Colin Kaepernick to the bench along with his $10.4 million salary.

Reports of turmoil in the locker room and Kaepernick putting himself “on an island” around teammates by wearing headphones in group settings and not embracing group outings began two weeks ago.

San Francisco has made multiple changes entering Week 9. Tight end Vernon Davis was traded to the Denver Broncos and running back Reggie Bush was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn medial collateral ligament. The 49ers filled Bush’s roster spot with free agent Pierre Thomas, formerly of the New Orleans Saints.

The 49ers also announced that cornerback defensive lineman Kaleb Ramsey was suspended for the next four games after he violated the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs. To replace him, the team signed cornerback Chris Davis to the practice squad.

—Calvin Johnson didn’t lobby to be moved to another team by the Detroit Lions ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. The nine-year veteran wide receiver is fine staying with the team that drafted him as long as the goal is to win.

“I want to win here, you know,” Johnson said. “This is where I’ve been. So definitely want to create a winning culture where I’m at.”

Since Johnson arrived in Detroit, the Lions have reached the playoffs twice — in 2011 and 2014 — but lost in wild-card games both years. In 2015, the Lions are 1-7 midway through the season.

—The Cleveland Browns are preparing to start Johnny Manziel at quarterback against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals while one of the blockers that provides protection nearly was traded.

A deal fell through at the deadline that would have sent Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas to the Denver Broncos, according to multiple reports. Browns general manager Ray Farmer wouldn’t confirm any specifics but confirmed that the team failed to make any deals.

Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and pass rushers Barkevious Mingo and Paul Kruger also were reported to be on the trading block.

As for the quarterback situation, veteran Josh McCown is dealing with a rib injury and Manziel is getting reps ahead of the game against the Browns’ AFC North rival on Thursday night in Cincinnati, according to multiple reports.

—San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has a lacerated kidney that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

The Chargers placed Allen, running back Branden Oliver (toe) and linebacker Tourek Williams (foot) on injured reserve. The team also elevated wide receiver Javontee Herndon and cornerback Greg Ducre from the practice squad and re-signed cetner J.D. Walton.

Allen was injured before halftime of the Chargers’ loss on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens. He was having a banner season with 67 receptions for 725 receiving yards. His catches were the third most in NFL history after eight weeks of the season.

—The NFL can play as many as five games per year at London’s Twickenham Stadium during a three-year period beginning in October 2016, increasing the league’s potential commitment in England.

Already in place and recently extended through 2020 if the NFL’s plan for a minimum of two games per year at Wembley Stadium, which hosted three regular-season games in 2015 for the first time.

A minimum of five regular-season games are scheduled for London in 2016.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put starting defensive tackle Clinton McDonald on injured reserve and released linebacker Julian Stanford from the practice squad.

McDonald had 31 tackles, including two for loss, in the first six games of this season before suffering a pectoral injury. In 19 starts for the Bucs since the 2014 season, he has 76 tackles, including 11 for loss and five sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

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