January 8, 2019 / 4:32 AM / 5 months ago

NFL notebook: Arians reportedly to become Buccaneers' coach

One year into retirement, Bruce Arians is reportedly set to return to coaching and take over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

FILE PHOTO: NFL Football - Los Angeles Rams vs Arizona Cardinals - NFL International Series - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - October 22, 2017 Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians before the start of the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

An official announcement was expected within 24 hours, according to multiple reports Monday.

Arians spent the 2018 season in broadcasting. He stepped down as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals at the end of the 2017 season. Arians, 66, is a two-time NFL coach of the year with a background coaching quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer.

Arians, who was 49-30-1 in a five-year run in Arizona, would replace Dirk Koetter, who was fired after three seasons as Tampa Bay’s head coach. Koetter went 19-29 with the Buccaneers.

—After almost a month-long search, the Green Bay Packers will name Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur as their next head coach, according to reports from multiple outlets.

LaFleur will become the 15th head coach for Green Bay’s storied franchise after being interviewed on Sunday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers started notifying other candidates who were interviewed to tell them they were out of the running.

The 39-year-old LaFleur just completed his first season as offensive coordinator of the Titans under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. He will replace Mike McCarthy, who was fired by Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy on Dec. 2 after Green Bay suffered a stunning home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

—Cody Parkey’s missed field goal that sunk the Chicago Bears on Sunday is no longer a straight-up miss.

The NFL made a scoring change on Monday, crediting Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester with a block on the play that gave the Philadelphia Eagles a 16-15 victory over the Bears in the NFC wild-card matchup.

Slow-motion video of the play showed Hester’s raised left hand barely tipping the football as it made its ascent. Parkey’s kick clanked off the left upright and caromed off the crossbar before falling to the turf with five seconds left and quickly became known as the “Double Doink.”

—Wide receiver Antonio Brown, who missed Pittsburgh’s regular-season finale for what was listed as a knee injury, is also out of the Pro Bowl for apparently the same reason. The Steelers announced that teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster will replace Brown on the roster for the game, set for Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla.

Smith-Schuster was voted as the Steelers’ Most Valuable Player by his teammates after making 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He ranked fifth in the AFC and 12th in the NFL with 1,439 yards from scrimmage.

Brown was out with a knee injury for the Steelers’ Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, per the injury report. However, it was later revealed that Brown missed the final walkthrough and was benched by head coach Mike Tomlin for missing other meetings and practices leading up to the game.

—The Arizona Cardinals have been given the OK by Southern California to interview Kliff Kingsbury for their vacant head-coaching position, according to a report.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that USC changed course and granted its recently hired offensive coordinator permission to interview with Arizona. Kingsbury, 39, was fired as the head coach at Texas Tech in November after compiling a 35-40 record in six seasons (2013-18).

The Trojans hired Kingsbury as offensive coordinator for head coach Clay Helton in early December, but he quickly wound up on the radar of several NFL teams with coaching openings. He is still employed by the school, a team official told Rapoport.

—Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has emerged as a leading candidate for the Denver Broncos’ head-coaching vacancy, Sports Illustrated reported.

Munchak, 58, was the head coach of the Tennessee Titans from 2011-13 (22-26 record) before joining the Pittsburgh staff in 2014. The Broncos fired Vance Joseph a week ago after back-to-back losing seasons in 2017 (5-11) and 2018 (6-10).

The Broncos also reportedly met with Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Monday. Fangio met with the Broncos in the morning but he was back at Halas Hall at the Bears complex by lunchtime.

—Six-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle doesn’t see his playing future as a complicated issue.

He will either play for the Baltimore Ravens next season or will retire. Weddle, 34, is slated to make $6.5 million in 2019 in the final season of a four-year, $26 million deal.

“If they want to go in a different direction, I’m not going to go play for another team,” Weddle told reporters on Monday, one day after Baltimore’s season ended with a 23-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC wild card playoff game. “It’s not where I’m at in my career. It’s either play my last year here and that will be it and enjoy it, or this has been it. It’s pretty simple. I’m a simple kind of guy.”

—Sidelined since tearing his ACL on the first day of OTAs last May, tight end Hunter Henry was activated to the Los Angeles Chargers’ 53-man roster.

Henry, 24, was promoted from the Physically Unable to Perform list and replaces linebacker Jatavis Brown, who was moved to injured reserve with an ankle injury.

The Chargers held out hope all season that Hunter, a third-year tight end, could return from the right knee injury if the team advanced in the playoffs. Los Angeles travels to New England for an AFC divisional round playoff game on Sunday.

—The Buffalo Bills turned to the Canadian Football League for receiving help by signing former Edmonton Eskimos standout D’haquille “Duke” Williams.

Williams, 25, caught 88 passes for a CFL-leading 1,579 yards and 11 touchdowns in 18 games last season for Edmonton. He averaged 17.9 yards per catch, racked up 425 yards after the catch and totaled eight 100-yard games.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound wideout was released by Edmonton after his All-Star season so he could pursue an NFL opportunity.

—Field Level Media

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