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Jerry Jones: I won’t give a vote of confidence every week

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The Cowboys lost a game to the Packers in brutal enough fashion on Sunday that owner Jerry Jones faced questions about whether he was remaining firm in his declaration to keep Jason Garrett as head coach in 2014.

Jones said he wasn’t going to give Garrett the vote of confidence that reporters were asking for because he had already given one this season. Jones added that his refusal to give such a vote was “not in any way a change” from what he said before about Garrett’s job security, although his answers about how firm his stance remained left some room for interpretation.

“I was firm for one night at that time and that doesn’t call for me having to be firm every morning I get up,” Jones said, via Carlos Mendez of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “So I was real firm then, so take that to the bank. Just take that to the bank. I’m not going to sit here and every time I see you guys, ask whether I’m firm or not. We can all play that game.”

Jones also said he didn’t need a chance to slam the door on speculation about Garrett’s future because of his previous statement, but you have to wonder how many more losses like Sunday’s can go down before Jones wakes up one morning with a different opinion.

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Lions sign Lamar Holmes

TAMPA, FL -  NOVEMBER 17:  Tackle Lamar Holmes #76 of the Atlanta Falcons sets to block against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers November 17, 2013 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Tampa won 41- 28. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions rushed for the fewest yards in the NFL last season and had issues protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford for a good part of the year, so the offensive line is expected to be an area they look to upgrade this offseason.

The bigger moves on that front will have to wait for a little bit, but the team made a move to bring another player into the mix on Friday. The Lions announced that they have signed former Falcons tackle Lamar Holmes.

Holmes was a third-round pick by Atlanta in 2012 and started 19 games during the 2013 and 2014 seasons before a broken foot sent him to injured reserve early in the latter campaign. He spent the first 12 weeks of the 2015 season on the PUP list because of further issues with the foot before being released with an injury settlement.

Holmes will likely fall into the mix at right tackle for Detroit. The Lions cycled through several of them last year with Michael Ola closing out the year. Ola is set to be a free agent and the team will likely be looking to add other options at the spot as the offseason progresses.

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Brandon Marshall wants to stay with Broncos, grow bank account

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The Broncos didn’t have long to celebrate their Super Bowl title before discussion turned to whether they’d be able to keep key members of their defense once free agency arrives.

Von Miller, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan are all on track to become unrestricted free agents and their futures have generated the most discussion in the last few days. Brandon Marshall, Trevathan’s partner at inside linebacker, isn’t on the same track as his teammates.

Marshall is set to become a restricted free agent and said Friday that he’d like to both remain with the Broncos and see a bump in his bank account in 2016.

“I would definitely love my bank account to grow in these next few months – I would love that,” Marshall said on NFL Network. “Me and my agent have been talking, we’ll see what happens. But I would love to stay in Denver. I grew up a Broncos fan. I love the Broncos. I love the organization and community, so I’d love to stay in Denver. We’ll definitely see what happens.”

If the Broncos don’t sign Marshall to a new contract in the near future, they’ll certainly be using a restricted free agent tender to ensure that Marshall doesn’t leave without having a chance to match another offer or getting draft pick compensation if they choose not to meet the price.

Given how well Marshall, a 2012 fifth-round pick of the Jaguars, played in 2015, a first- or second-round tender seems more likely than the original round number and the way things fall with the unrestricted free agents will likely determine whether the Broncos try to do more than that with Marshall this offseason.

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Bears thank Forte for his service, professionalism

Matt Forte, Nick Roach AP

The Bears released a statement Friday officially announcing their intentions not to re-sign veteran running back Matt Forte — and thanking Forte for his service.

“These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in the statement. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”

Forte ranks second in Bears history in yards from scrimmage (12,718), rushing yards (8,602), receptions (487), 100-yard rushing games (24) and games with 150 yards or more from scrimmage (25), trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Walter Payton in all five categories.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Forte turned 30 in December. He’ll be a free agent when the new league year begins March 9.

Earlier Friday, Forte sent out word via social media that he wouldn’t be back with the Bears.

Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end,” he wrote on Instagram. “I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history.”

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Cleveland radio host resigns

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Last month, Cleveland radio host Kevin Kiley cooked up the hottest of takes regarding the fitness of females to serve as football coaches. Kiley’s rant migrated from illogical to cartoonish, culminating in an argument that women shouldn’t vote on the Pro Football Hall of Fame, either.

His station, 92.3 The Fan, never disciplined Kiley. He’s nevertheless out, following a resignation that he claims was tendered in November.

“My principles, their principles of doing business they don’t match,” Kiley said in an interview with WOIO-TV, via Cleveland.com. “It was tough for me to work there. . . . In 35 years I’ve never been censored and I shouldn’t have been censored for this. You shouldn’t accept censorship ever. You should make sure the people on the radio are telling you the truth as they see it.”

Via Deadspin.com, Kiley claimed that the station censored him by refusing to allow the host to respond to criticism of his comments about female coaches.

He shouldn’t have been prevented from responding to criticism of his comments; he should have been prevented from saying anything. If 92.3 The Fan was going to allow him to remain on the air (it shouldn’t have), why shouldn’t he have been given even more rope?

Absent the additional hot takes that would have come in response to people who exercised their First Amendment right to call him a moron, a misogynist, and/or a misfit, some other station will be more likely to give him a spatula-shaped microphone so that he can serve up some more.

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Report: Lions expected to hire Broncos assistant as QB coach

Matthew Stafford AP

The Lions promoted Jim Bob Cooter from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator when they fired Joe Lombardi last season and then, to the great joy of many, made Cooter the permanent choice for the job once they decided to hold onto head coach Jim Caldwell.

That left an opening at quarterbacks coach and it looks like they will be dipping into Cooter’s past for the new addition to the staff. Alex Marvez of FOX Sports reports that Broncos offensive assistant Brian Callahan, who worked with Cooter in Denver during the 2013 season, was in Detroit on Thursday and is expected to get the quarterbacks coach job.

Callahan, who is the son of current Redskins offensive line coach Bill Callahan, worked with the quarterbacks in Denver as well and Peyton Manning said Callahan will be “a top-flight quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator, maybe head coach like his dad” in the future.

“I know Jim Bob well,” Callahan said before Super Bowl 50, via the Detroit Free Press. “We worked together for a year. But as of right now, we’re just worrying about this game. If anything comes to it after that, then we’ll go from there. But really, technically, I’m just worried about playing in the Super Bowl, to be honest with you.”

The quarterbacks job is the last position coach opening on Caldwell’s staff for the 2016 season.

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Cam Newton sports “I win my way” T-shirt

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In an Instagram message thanking the fans for a memorable 2015 season, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wears a T-shirt that declares, “I win my way.”

The text accompanying the photo reiterates Cam’s “my way” mantra: “I am not perfect and I will make mistakes but I will continue to work on improving each day trying to perfect all my imperfection. Pursuing greatness is my commitment, and I will continue to be true to myself, to my family and to making all of you who follow me proud. I will win my way and hope to inspire you all to win your way.”

Perhaps an even more telling message appears over Newton’s right shoulder in the photo, in a framed crop of the iconic shot of Muhammad Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston.

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even,” the quote from Ali declares.

That’s where Newton needs to focus in the next stage of his development. When things aren’t coming easily for Cam and the Panthers, he needs to fight past the feeling that it’s not his day and find a way to overcome the adversity, even if he’s tempted to think there’s no hope. As to his decision not to dive on that loose ball late in the Super Bowl, it’s possible that Newton decided, consciously or not, that there was no way the Panthers were going to score a touchdown against the Denver defense.

The next time Newton is in that situation, he needs to come up with an “extra ounce of power,” providing the throw or the run that will turn what seemed destined to be a defeat into a win.

I don’t care that he was sulking after the game; I’d rather see a player be miserable than happy following a tough loss. And I don’t blame him for walking out of the press conference after hearing Chris Harris Jr. crowing about what Denver’s defense did to Newton and the passing game. But to the extent that Newton’s emotions are distracting him during a game, Newton needs to “reach down to the bottom of his soul,” ignore the feeling that he’s destined to lose, and find a way turn it around.

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Report: Panthers interviewing special teams coaches

Bruce DeHaven, Richie Brockel AP

Panthers special teams coach Bruce DeHaven has continued to work after being diagnosed with cancer, embodying the team’s “Keep Pounding” motto which began during Sam Mills’ own fight with the disease.

But it appears they want to at least find some help for him.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, the Panthers are interviewing Bucs assistant Kevin O’Dea and 49ers assistant Thomas McGaughey for a special teams coaching position with the team.

It’s unclear if that’s a reflection on DeHaven’s condition, as neither he nor the team has said much about it. Last week, he buried the hatchet with Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who fired him as Buffalo’s special teams coach following the Music City Miracle in the 1999 playoffs.

The Panthers brought 67-year-old Russ Purnell in as an assistant to DeHaven this year, so this could be for a role supplementing DeHaven.

UPDATE 12:02 p.m. ET: Marvez follows up, saying the interviews are to replace Purnell, and that assistant coach Curtis Fuller who helped with special teams last year will return to exclusively coach defensive backs next year.

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Matt Forte makes it official: He’s out in Chicago

Matt Forte AP

We can file this one as one of the early offseason #asexpected notes, but it’s now official: Matt Forte won’t be returning to the Bears.

The veteran running back just sent out word via social media that he wouldn’t be back, as the team won’t pursue extending the free agent.

Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end,” he wrote on Instagram. “I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history.

“My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I’m excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!”

While Forte has hit the magic number for running backs (he turned 30 in December), he’s remained productive, and his blend of running and receiving ability ought to make him an attractive target in free agency.

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Bucs wary of spending big in free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht introduces Dirk Koetter as new head coach of the NFL football team in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (Will Vragovic/The Tampa Bay Times via AP) TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT AP

Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander said this week that he wants to see the team boost the number of pass rushers on the roster, something that’s hard to do with veteran players without spending a fair amount of money in free agency.

That might leave the draft as the likeliest way that the team addresses that need. General Manager Jason Licht has plenty of salary cap space to work with this offseason, but said this week that the team is wary of devoting too much of it on veterans who have played out contracts with other teams.

“We’ll be selective and strategic,” Licht said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “We don’t want to put ourselves into a position where if you take the wrong guy and give him too much money, it can disrupt your team. I’ve said since Day 1, we are going to build through the draft. And from Day 1, the most success we’ve had is with draft picks. We still believe the best way for us to go is to draft and develop players. You can’t think you’re going to put yourself over the top by signing these high-dollar guys.”

One player that the Bucs will have to spend some money to keep is running back Doug Martin as Stroud reports that the NFL’s second-leading rusher in 2015 wants to “hit the jackpot” this offseason. Licht said the team has had “great discussions” with Martin, but Stroud expects he’ll hit the open market when free agency opens on March 9. Should he leave, that could change the plan for the Bucs, although there’s a lot of time for things to work themselves out between now and then.

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Philly mayor wants to put LeSean McCoy in the slammer

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After former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress put a bullet through his own leg in a Manhattan club, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly declared a desire to put Plaxico in the “slammer.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney now wants to do the same thing to former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, absent such colorful language.

In an interview with CBS Philly, Kenney criticized McCoy, who now plays for the Bills, for the alleged beating of a pair of off-duty police officer.

“In addition to punches being thrown, there were some kicks that looked as if they were being leveled and that’s unconscionable and it’s cowardly,” Kenney said. “If [McCoy] wants to stomp our officers and pound our officers, then he needs to pay the price and answer for his actions.”

With all due respect to Mayor Kenney, he should butt out of this one. The case could be headed for a jury that is supposed to be fair and impartial. His comments will make it harder to ensure that a juror will not disregard McCoy’s presumption of innocence.

Also, Kenney’s comments assume (perhaps incorrectly) that McCoy knew he was fighting police officers. While it makes no difference if the victim is or isn’t a member of the police force, Kenney’s comments create the impression that McCoy decided to bully a guy who was whistling while he walked a beat on Broad St.

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Houston bidding to land Pro Bowl week before Super Bowl

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  The Kansas City Chiefs huddle in the first quarter against the Houston Texans during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

For many Pro Bowlers, the promise of a week-long vacation in Hawaii is the only incentive to playing in a meaningless game.

And next year, they might not even have that.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Houston is bidding to add the 2017 Pro Bowl in addition to next year’s Super Bowl hosting duties.

“The Pro Bowl has historically been held in Hawaii, but I know the NFL is trying to consolidate their Super Bowl experience with the Pro Bowl,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “They’d like them to be held in the same city. It just makes it much easier for everybody who’s traveling who’s affiliated with the city and the Super Bowl. It’s a possibility. It would be ideal if it could happen.

“There are some conversations. We’re making a major push to bring all of the major events to the city of Houston, just like the Final Four.”

The Pro Bowl has been on the mainland twice in recent years, serving as a lead-in to Super Bowls in Phoenix and Miami.

And it’s interesting that the mayor cited the NFL’s desire to consolidate the game, as much as the usual promises of economic impact. While it’s not as tropical as Hawaii, linking the game with the Super Bowl does create an extra boost of attention for the game, which could counteract the lack of boat drinks at poolside for players who might otherwise not attend.

A league spokesman said a decision on the site of next year’s Pro Bowl was expected this spring. Hawaii will bid for the game again, and Brazil is under consideration as well.

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Dave Gettleman promises to be “patient” with Panthers offseason

Dave Gettleman AP

Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman waited a long time to find a team to run.

But now that he’s got one, he’s not going to get in a hurry making changes to it.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Gettleman insisted his penchant for patience wasn’t likely to change this offseason, even though the Panthers fell a game short of a title and are in better salary cap shape than they’ve been in years.

With my 30-year meteoric rise, I’ve learned to be patient,” Gettleman said. “If you have a philosophy that you believe in, and I know people are impatient, but, . . . you have to be patient.”

Other than cornerback Josh Norman — who can probably expect to be franchise-tagged — the Panthers don’t have many priority free agents. And though they have some flexibility, it’s more likely Gettleman will try to turn that into deals to keep players such as defensive tackle Kawann Short and eventually Star Lotulelei than to spend on outside free agents.

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep our core together, I mean, you’d have to be an idiot not to,” Gettleman said. “Tough decisions have to be made. We’re going to do the best we can to keep this team together.

“We’ve got a lot of really good, young players and we don’t want to develop players for other teams.”

The Panthers are also five weeks behind most of the rest of the league in terms of preparing for the offseason. But considering they’re more likely to work the second wave of free agency than the first, that’s not as much of a problem for them as it might be in other places.

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Packers extend Letroy Guion

Letroy Guion AP

The Packers’ priority in free agency is always signing their own free agents before looking at players from other teams, and they’ve taken that approach again.

Green Bay and defensive tackle Letroy Guion have agreed in principle to a three-year, $11.25 million deal, Adam Caplan of ESPN reports.

Guion is actually rare on the Packers’ roster in that he wasn’t drafted by the team: He was drafted by the Vikings in 2008 and signed with the Packers only in 2014. But he has played well enough in his two years in Green Bay that the team wants to keep him around.

The Packers’ devotion to Guion comes despite his off-field problems. Guion copped a plea after facing drug and weapons charges, and he also reportedly had a domestic violence charge. He missed the first three games of last season while serving an NFL suspension.

But Guion is back now, and both sides hope he’ll be with the Packers for at least three more years.

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Percy Harvin’s contract set to void on Friday

Percy Harvin, Jayron Hosley AP

The Bills signed wide receiver Percy Harvin to a three-year contract last offseason, although there never was much chance that he’d see the final two years of the deal.

With base salaries of $9 million for 2016 and 2017, those years were tacked on to make his 2015 cap hit easier to swallow as the Bills had the ability to void the deal after paying $3 million in salary and a $3 million signing bonus in the first year. As Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 points out, those years void on Friday at 4 p.m. and Harvin will become a free agent again on March 9.

Harvin only played five games for the Bills in 2015 because of knee and hip injuries that cast some doubt about whether he’d be back on the field for anyone in 2016 or any other year. Bills director of player personnel Jim Monos said last month that the team is “still not sure” what’s going on with the wideout, although General Manager Doug Whaley later expressed hope of bringing the veteran back for another season.

“We’ll talk to him, see where he is and hopefully he comes back,” Whaley said, via the Buffalo News. “We want him back.”

It’s hard to imagine Harvin generating too hot a market given his injury history which could help the Bills hold onto him at a low price. Banking on anything substantial from a player who has played 28 games for three different teams over the last four years doesn’t sound like all that sound an idea, however.

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Brock Osweiler hopes to stay among “special group” in Denver

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Once Peyton Manning does what feels inevitable, the Broncos will then have to decide how to proceed with backup quarterback Brock Osweiler.

But for his part, the once-and-maybe-future starter said he feels a part of something unique there, and wants to return.

“Every single guy on this team embraced me, and that is something I think they all know how thankful I am for that, but this is the best team in the world and we have a very special group in our locker room,” he said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

Osweiler filled in more than acceptably during Manning’s injury/ineffective streak midseason. He was 5-2 as their starter, reasonably in line with expectations on a team that doesn’t ask the quarterback to do too much on his own.

But they think he’s capable of more in the future based on this experience.

“I wish every quarterback in the league could have a chance to learn before being put to the fire test,” Broncos quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp said. “It is not just the game itself to learn about, but how you manage the team as a quarterback. How do you handle the tough questions after a tough loss, how do you look in the locker room after a Monday or a Tuesday after a tough loss to your teammates. That’s such a valuable tool because a young quarterback, say he’s a rookie high draft pick, has to play and they have a tough loss, he’s got no experience to pull from. He has no knowledge on how to manage that situation.”

But Osweiler has that experience now, and the inside track to the starting job there in the future. But first, they have to figure out his contract status. If they can’t get a long-term deal done with Von Miller before the deadline, they’re expected to use the franchise tag on their pass-rush star.

That leaves Osweiler as a free agent, and much like Kirk Cousins in Washington, it’s hard to gauge the market value of someone with a promising but limited resume.

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