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NFL Roundup: Garrett's job safe next year

The SportsXchange

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday that Jason Garrett will return as the head coach in 2014.

Jones admitted that he is disappointed with the team's 5-5 record heading into Sunday's game with the New York Giants. But he made it clear to reporters that no matter how the final six weeks play out, Garrett will not lose his job.

"A lot of this story is to be played out. It does not have a bearing on whether or not he will be our coach next year. It has no bearing on that,'' Jones said.

---Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank has no plans to fire coach Mike Smith despite a disappointing 2-8 record so far this season, according multiple media outlets Thursday.

Blank has privately assured the sixth-year coach that he will be returning for the 2014 season, according to a report from the NFL Network. Blank gave a vote of confidence to Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff following last Sunday's 41-28 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I absolutely, do," Blank said of his support. "They've earned it over the last five years. This is a tough business. We've had a lot of injuries and there have been a lot of issues on top of the injuries and that is pretty obvious."

The Falcons, coming off an NFC championship game appearance in 2012, had high expectations going into 2013.

Richie Incognito's grievance hearing against the Miami Dolphins was postponed Thursday until NFL investigator Ted Wells finishes his independent investigation of bullying allegations.

The Dolphins and the suspended left guard were set to appear before an independent arbitrator who will decide the offensive lineman's immediate fate. Incognito and the Dolphins agreed to postpone his grievance hearing.

"I will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation with a goal of resuming my career with the Miami Dolphins at the conclusion of this investigation," Incognito said in a statement released through the NFL Players Association. "I love my teammates and hope we can put this distraction behind us soon."

The Dolphins said in a statement, "The Miami Dolphins and Richie Incognito have agreed to postpone his grievance hearing during his ongoing suspension. Richie is cooperating fully with the NFL investigation and will meet with Ted Wells."

---The Pro Football Hall of Fame released its list of semifinalists for the Class of 2014.

Coaches Jimmy Johnson, Tony Dungy and Don Coryell are among those nominated, with the selection committee scheduled to reduced the ballot to 15 modern-era finalists to be announced Jan. 8. Defensive end Michael Strahan, defensive back Aeneas Williams, owner Eddie DeBartolo and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue are repeat semifinalists.

First-time candidates include former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis.

The list of 17 finalist nominees -- including two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame's Seniors Committee announced in August, punter Ray Guy (1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders) and defensive end Claude Humphrey (1968-1978 Atlanta Falcons, 1979-1981 Philadelphia Eagles) -- is open for deliberation at the committee meeting on Saturday, Feb. 1 in New York.

---The Dallas Cowboys signed linebacker Orie Lemon off of the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad.

The move bolsters a linebacker spot in need of some depth because of injuries at the position.

Linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant are both injured and expected to miss at least this week's game against the New York Giants before returning to the lineup.

---New York Jets second-year wide receiver Stephen Hill has been demoted with reduced playing time this week against the Baltimore Ravens, coach Rex Ryan announced.

Hill had his second consecutive game without a catch in Sunday's blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. He has played 104 of a possible 121 snaps in the past two weeks.

Ryan acknowledged earlier this week that Hill's playing time could be reduced. Hill was made aware Wednesday that he had lost his starting job to David Nelson.

---The Washington Redskins announced they signed wide receiver Lance Lewis to the team's active roster from their practice squad.

The Redskins also signed wide receiver Josh Bellamy to their practice squad and placed wide receiver Leonard Hankerson on injured reserve.

---The San Francisco 49ers will add wide receiver Michael Crabtree back to the 53-man roster within the next six days, but it might still be several weeks before he takes the field.

The 49ers pulled back Crabtree's activity after his first week of practice rather than risk a setback as he recovers from a torn Achilles, CSN Bay Area reported. Once he practiced on Nov. 5, he started the clock on the 21-day window for the 49ers to activate him from the physically unable to perform list or shut him down for the season.

Crabtree could still end up on the field as soon as Monday when the 49ers face the Washington Redskins, but the pace of his work at recent practices points to a slower process.

---Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker was back at practice Thursday after missing the day before because of his concussion as the team continues to prepare for Sunday night's matchup against the New England Patriots.

Welker's status has been unclear since being diagnosed with a concussion that was suffered during Sunday night's 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Welker will still have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before he can play, but being cleared for practice is a positive step.

Quarterback Peyton Manning also was back at practice Thursday after getting his planned day off Wednesday.

---Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said Thursday that he plans to play this week against the Green Bay Packers despite being hobbled by a groin injury.

Peterson admitted earlier this week that the injury slowed him down in the Vikings' loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday.

"I'm going to try to get my rest that I need," he said. "I'm probably going to do it this week (in practice). Just push it to Sunday."

---Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said Thursday that his Week 1 launch into San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which initially cost him a $15,000 fine, was cut in half to $7,500.

Matthews told ESPN.com that he also won the appeal of his Week 10 fine for hitting Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, with appeals officer Matt Birk wiping out a $15,750 fine that he had only asked to be reduced.
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