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Steelers extend Mike Tomlin’s deal through 2016

Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger AP

Continuity is a big thing in Pittsburgh.

That’s why news of a contract extension for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin almost feels anti-climactic.

The Steelers announced the move on their official website Tuesday, noting that the deal extended Tomlin through the 2016 season. There were two years left on his previous deal.

“We are pleased to announce that Mike Tomlin will remain with the Steelers for at least five more years,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said in the statement. “Mike is one of the top head coaches in the National Football League and we are thrilled he will continue to lead our team as we pursue another Super Bowl title.”

The 40-year-old Tomlin has an impressive resume in such a short time. He’s entering his sixth season as an NFL head coach, and already has a Super Bowl (from his second season) and a 55-25 regular season record.

That includes four playoff trips in five years, with two Super Bowl appearances.

“I am excited that I will continue to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come,” said Tomlin. “I am grateful to the Steelers organization for the opportunity I have been given over the past five years to work and live in this great city, and I am excited to continue to work to bring another championship to the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.”

Tomlin’s just the third coach the Steelers have put on the field since Chuck Noll took over in 1969, and by the looks of things, that kind of stability is going to last for years to come.

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Richard Sherman won’t say if he’ll miss Super Bowl for son’s birth

sherman AP

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and his girlfriend are expecting a baby soon, and Sherman isn’t saying if he’d miss the Super Bowl if the baby comes on Sunday.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Sherman said, via ESPN. “We’re not thinking about the possibility.”

Sherman’s girlfriend, Ashley Moss, is in Arizona and will give birth at a local hospital if she goes into labor in the next five days.

Having a son on the way put Sherman in a contemplative mood.

“It’s someone that actually depends on you for everyday living,” Sherman said. “Everything they do is dependent on you and how you provide and how successful you are.”

Some NFL players have missed games for the births of their children, and some NFL players have missed the births of their children for games. But we’ve never heard of a player grappling with that decision before the Super Bowl. It’s a decision Sherman hopes he doesn’t have to make.

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Belichick on Junior Seau: “I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him”

Super Bowl XLII Getty Images

We will learn Saturday whether the late Junior Seau is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.

This morning, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the former New England linebacker’s legacy, as well as what it would mean to have the 12-time Pro Bowler in the Hall of Fame.

Here was Belichick’s response:

“Well, it’d mean a lot. I mean, it’s obviously got to happen,” Belichick said of Seau, who played for New England from 2006 through 2009 after a decorated career with San Diego. “I can’t imagine having a professional football hall of fame without Junior Seau in it.

“I’d say the one word that comes to me when I think about Junior and football (is) passion. He’s a very passionate guy, lot of energy, lot of enthusiasm, first guy in the building in the morning, watching film, lifting weights, ready for practice — always loved to practice — flying around on the practice field, energy before the game, on the sideline, during the game. Emotional player, but a smart player, player that played with a purpose, played with good physical skill but also good concentration, good awareness. Great team player, very supportive of his teammates.

“I mean, everybody in the locker room loved Junior. They loved what he did, and they loved the way that he interacted with the team. He was a great player, and I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him.

“We had a lot of great experiences together. Obviously, it was the end of his career. There were some things a little different than when he was in San Diego and so forth, but he brought a lot of energy and passion to our team, and I personally had a very good relationship with Junior.

“I love coaching him, and he always expressed how much he enjoyed playing on the New England Patriots, and that meant a lot to me.”

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Rex Ryan, Drew Brees and much more on huge PFT Live at noon ET

Drew Brees AP

There’s never a good day to miss PFT Live if you want to know the latest from around the NFL, but you really don’t want to miss Thursday’s show.

Mike Florio’s lined up a guest list studded with some of the biggest names in football. We’ve got Bills coach Rex Ryan, Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the Eagles tandem of Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy to share their plans for offseason work they hope can get them to the Super Bowl next year. We’ve also got Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Troy Aikman to share their memories of winning Super Bowls and former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown a couple of days before he finds out if he’ll join them in Canton.

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and Hall of Famer Warren Moon will also be on hand to make for a program as packed as any we’ve ever had.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. And you can also watch a simulcast of all three hours of the show by clicking right here.

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RGIII: Goal is to stay healthy and the rest will fall into place

The Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins Getty Images

Robert Griffin III got a new quarterback coach this week in Matt Cavanaugh and he told John Keim of ESPN.com that he’s excited to work with an experienced coach who “can help the operation run more smoothly.”

He’s also hoping to play a season without injury concerns for the first time in his NFL career. An ankle injury was the health obstacle that Griffin had to deal with in 2014 as it knocked him out in the second week of the season and then left him trying to catch up in a new offense late in the season. If he can stay healthy, Griffin said during an interview on 980 ESPN that he feels like everything else will work out for him and the Redskins.

“Stay healthy, go out and have fun and play the game, and the rest will fall in place,” Griffin said. “I think with the moves that we’ve made, that the coach and the G.M. have made, it will allow us to be in a better position to win games, and I think all the guys are excited about that. You never want to see guys go, coaches and players, but I know coaches have to do what’s best for the team, and we all hope and pray we end up winning.”

Griffin’s issues in Jay Gruden’s offense appeared to go beyond the ankle injury last year as he struggled in preseason and the opening weekend before going on the shelf and Gruden himself questioned Griffin’s fit for the scheme on occasion. The quarterback’s chances of changing that are nil if he’s not healthy, though, so the argument that getting things to fall in place starts there is a pretty sound one.

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Tom Brady calls James Develin the best fullback in the NFL

develin AP

The fullback position is an endangered species in the NFL. But Tom Brady says that when the Patriots do line up in a formation that features a fullback, they’ve got the best in the NFL.

Brady said today that New England’s James Develin is the best fullback in football and ought to get more recognition for what he does for the Patriots.

“I love James and I think he’s the best fullback in the league,” Brady said. “He doesn’t get as much credit for it because he doesn’t get as many opportunities, but any time we call on him he delivers.”

Develin was only on the field for about a quarter of the Patriots’ offensive snaps during the regular season, and he only touched the ball nine times. But he delivered in the AFC Championship Game with a touchdown catch, and Brady says that Develin delivers every time he’s on the field, whether he’s getting the ball or (much more often) blocking.

“He really, at that position, can bring a significant element of toughness because you’re blocking for the guy with the ball, and he takes a lot of pride in that,” Brady said. “Hopefully he gets some opportunities on Sunday and hopefully we make the most of them.”

Develin rarely gets the opportunity to do anything more than block. But even if that’s all he does, the Patriots know that’s a lot.

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Eagles promote Ed Marynowitz as Chip Kelly’s personnel executive

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Eagles have had a hard time finding someone from the outside to take a job as a personnel executive under Chip Kelly in the team’s reshuffled personnel department so they’ll be sticking with someone already in the organization.

As PFT reported on Thursday morning, the Eagles promoted Ed Marynowitz to the role of vice president of player personnel. Marynowitz was the assistant director of player personnel in an Eagles front office that will have a new look this season with Kelly taking over all personnel decisions and former General Manager Howie Roseman pushed into a role with different responsibilities.

“Ed is someone who has really impressed me going back to my interview process with the Eagles two years ago,” Kelly said in a statement. “He’s very bright, detailed, organized and his vision was aligned with what we want to accomplish. I spoke with a lot of people outside of our organization over the past few weeks and in the end, Ed was the most impressive. I can’t tell you how well thought of Ed is in the scouting business. What many people in the football community told me matched exactly what I thought of him from Day One. When you work with him and meet with him regularly – which I have done over the last two years – you appreciate how smart and thoughtful he is,” added Kelly. “I’m excited to continue working hand-in-hand with him for the next several years.”

The Eagles identified a handful of other candidates for the job, but several of them opted to stay in their current jobs rather than jump to the Eagles for a position without decision-making power on the roster.

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Patriots hail Rob Gronkowski’s beautiful football mind

Rob Gronkowski AP

Everybody sees Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a harmless meathead, but his teammates see a different side.

He is, they say, “brilliant.”

No, really.

“If you meet Rob for 10 or 15 minutes, you might get an impression that may or may not be what it’s like to have him in your office, in a classroom and on the field for six, seven hours a day,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “It might be a little bit different . . . Potentially.”

Gronkowski has to be smart to handle the multiple roles the Patriots demand of him, and they say he handles it easily.

“Rob’s a very bright guy,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “We ask a lot of him. And he won’t let us down. He refuses to let us down with what we ask of him.

“He’s obviously very intricately involved in the running game. He’s involved in the passing game. We move him all over the formation. We put him outside, we put him inside, we motion him. He’s involved in third down, red zone. He’s involved in everything. I kind of relate it to the quarterback position. . . .

“When you talk about his demeanor in the meeting room, he’s like Tom Brady. When you talk about the way he prepares and practices, same thing.”

While that might not be consistent with some of his frat-boy antics, the results on the field indicate that there’s something to it.

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Russell Wilson wants to feed the Beast on zone-read runs

Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch AP

Russell Wilson had one of the best rushing seasons for a quarterback in NFL history in 2014, carrying 118 times for 849 yards and six touchdowns. But Wilson says he rarely plans to run.

Asked about the Seahawks’ zone-read offense, Wilson said those plays are almost always intended for him to hand off. Wilson only keeps the ball himself if he sees the entire defense collapse around Marshawn Lynch and knows he’ll have a huge hole to run through.

“In terms of our zone read, I’m honestly trying to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch 99 percent of the time,” Wilson said. “That 1 percent I’ll take if it’s just wide open for me. I want to feed the Beast. I want to hand him the football and that’s what makes him the best running back in the National Football League.”

The Seahawks averaged 172.6 rushing yards a game in the regular season, and no other team even averaged 150 yards. Seattle had by far the most proficient rushing attack in football, and Wilson is proud of that.

“I think it makes it very challenging for a defense to figure out who to stop,” Wilson said. “If they get Marshawn, then I’m over here in the other direction. It’s tough in terms of that, but I think, like I said, the ultimate goal is to hand the ball off to the best running back in the National Football League.”

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Another false alarm at Patriots hotel

Bill Belichick AP

The Patriots’ hotel in Arizona made it through another night without catching on fire, but they still have some issues to work out with alarms telling guests that the building is on fire.

Kim Jones of NFL Media reports that a false fire alarm went off in the middle of the night at the Patriots’ hotel for the second time in the three nights that they have called it home. While some might be deflated by the loss of a good night’s sleep, tight end Rob Gronkowski said at Media Day that he was unaffected by the first alarm.

“I didn’t know that the alarm went off. I actually heard about that, but I didn’t know the alarm went off. I was sleeping. I slept right through it. I slept great last night. I’m glad I didn’t hear it.”

Some players probably weren’t quite so lucky so the Patriots might want to ask that the people they’re paying to provide them with rooms for a restful slumber make sure that alarms are reserved for actual emergencies in the future.

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Odell Beckham Jr. talks about his rookie season

New York Giants v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

Many of you who: (1) didn’t watch Wednesday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN; and (2) saw the segment we posted with Odell Beckham, Jr., Tyrann Mathieu, and a cameo from Ryan Tannehill want to see more from the program.

Instead of wagging a finger at you for not watching or recording the show (because I’d never do that), I’ll drop in a few more clips throughout the day, time permitting.

Here’s Odell talking about his rookie season, including the impact of his one-handed catch and playing for noted taskmaster Tom Coughlin.

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Jay Feely on Jay Cutler: He’ll never be a leader

Jay Cutler AP

Kicker Jay Feely spent a few weeks with the Bears as their dismal season was coming to an end in December, giving him a front-row seat for quarterback Jay Cutler’s brief benching and the final days of Marc Trestman’s head coaching tenure.

Feely was left with some strong impressions. During an appearance with Adam Schein on Mad Dog Sports Radio, Feely said he thought Trestman failed to inspire the players because he “was a little awkward when he spoke” and that problem was exacerbated by a lack of leadership from players. One of the players who failed to lead was Cutler, who Feely spoke highly of as a player while saying the team would be much better off if the quarterback was a leader off the field as well.

Feely doesn’t think Cutler’s going to change who he is at this point in his career, which means the Bears have to make other arrangements on the leadership front.

“That’s not who he is. You’re going to have a vacuum there,” Feely said. “So you have to know that as a general manager or a head coach, ‘Hey, we’re not going to have that leadership from this position, so we’ve really got to have other guys that are going to step up and are going to be our verbal leaders.'”

Feely did add that he thinks John Fox would provide the team with the leadership that was missing with Trestman at the helm and that he thinks there’s plenty of talent in Chicago to fuel a turnaround if the other issues can be dealt with this offseason.

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Tom Benson says he feels fine, is still working

Tom Benson, Gayle Benson AP

Saints owner Tom Benson refuted claims that there’s anything wrong with him, the night after his former heirs filed papers hoping for a court-ordered psychological check.

Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Benson stopped for a brief television interview at last night’s NBA Pelicans game, and told Jen Hale of FOX Sports that there’s nothing wrong with him.

People think there’s something wrong with me,” Benson said. “I’ve been in the office everyday putting in a full days of work. I feel fine.”

That drew a round of applause from the crowd, as Benson watched the game from his suite with his wife Gayle and a few staffers.

Yesterday, his daughters and grandchildren filed court papers asking for him to be checked by a doctor, as they try to declare him unfit to cut them out of the will.

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Biggest PFT Live ever coming Thursday from Radio Row

PFTLive

The first Super Bowl week for the three-hour PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio has produced some excellent conversations with current players, former players, media members, and others connected to the NFL. Thursday’ show from Phoenix breaks new ground for the program.

Twelve segments. Twelve guests.

Every segment, it’ll be someone else to talk a little about themselves, a little about the Super Bowl, a little about whatever product or service they’re endorsing this week, and a little about whatever happens to come up in the moment.

Today’s show includes, in chronological order, Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, Bengals receiver A.J. Green, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk, Bills coach Rex Ryan, Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman, legendary coach Dick Vermeil, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Hall of Fame finalist Tim Brown, and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon.

I’m worn out from just typing up the list of names.

All three hours of every show this week is simulcast at PFT, and the audio is always available at NBCSportsRadio.com.

Until 12:00 p.m. ET arrives, you can listen to the audio from Wednesday’s show, which included visits from former NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell, Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, Bills running back Fred Jackson, Packers great Jerry Kramer, Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor, and former Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson.

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Thursday morning one-liners

Peterson Getty Images

Bills RB Fred Jackson says Patriots don’t need to cheat to win.

Former Dolphins QB Dan Marino is not surprised by #DeflateGate.

Ten years after his first one, Patriots DT Vince Wilfork is hungry for another Super Bowl.

CB Antonio Cromartie would be open to a return to the Jets.

Ravens K Justin Tucker is hoping for a long-term deal this offseason.

Even the Bengals can find a good #DeflateGate storyline of their own.

Browns CB Joe Haden hopes the team hangs onto Josh Gordon,

The Steelers could stand to learn from the Seahawks as it pertains to defense.

Will the Colts make a run at Ndamukong Suh?

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles hit it off with new coordinator Greg Olson.

RB LeGarrette Blount’s stay in Tennesseee was a short one.

The Broncos have plenty of marketable young stars.

Former Chiefs teammates are stumping for Will Shields for the Hall of Fame,

The Raiders’ search for a defensive coordinator winds on.

LaDainian Tomlinson thinks the Chargers should make a run at Adrian Peterson.

RB Ryan Williams gives the Cowboys some backfield options.

Former Giants S Will Hill owes $16,000 in child support.

Will the Eagles be able to afford their stars this offseason?

New Washington coordinator Joe Barry is “jacked” to be there.

Bears LB Lance Briggs isn’t sure about his future.

A former Lions kicker has a Kickalicious new video.

The Packers could still make a change at special teams coach.

A new lighting system will set the mood inside the new Vikings stadium.

Dan Quinn’s going to bring a new style of tackling to the Falcons.

Taking a look at how the Panthers might rebuild their WR corps.

Former Saints scouting director Rick Reiprish stands by his record.

Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith lost games, but not his locker room.

Seahawks LB O’Brien Schofield is past his bitter parting from the Cardinals.

Patriots WR Danny Amendola keeps up with his old Rams teammates.

The 49ers are finding out raising banners is easier said than done.

The Seahawks are healthy going into the Super Bowl.

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Woody Johnson: Reserving cash for the future not part of Jets’ makeup

New York Jets Introduce General Manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles Getty Images

When Jets Owner Woody Johnson was asked last season about then-General Manager John Idzik’s decision to hold onto some $20 million in cap space, he defended Idzik by saying that he approved of Idzik’s approach without mandating it.

Johnson also mentioned that he believes you should always have cash in reserve by never spending your last dollar. A few months can make a big difference. Whether because of the team’s results or a change in personal economic theory, Johnson has changed course.

During an interview with ESPN Radio in New York on Wednesday, Johnson reiterated that he didn’t direct Idzik to sit on his money and said that he now does not believe in the reserve approach he previously espoused.

I’m not going to say to him, ‘Save it.’ That’s ridiculous. We’re in this to win it,” Johnson said. “We’re in the win business. Reserving firepower in terms of cash for some future date is not part of the makeup of the New York Jets. We will spend what we are allowed to spend, to try to make us as competitive as we can be.”

New General Manager Mike Maccagnan has already said he plans to be “very active” in free agency this offseason and it seems that he’ll have no problem convincing Johnson to return to the freer spending ways of the years before Idzik implemented his more austere approach to running the team. That might turn out to be good news for cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who was purged last year for cap reasons but hits free agency off a rebound in Arizona with thoughts of a Jets reunion on his mind.

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