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NFL roundup: Jags fire Mularkey; Browns wil interview Whisenhunt again

The SportsXchange

Mike Mularkey is out in Jacksonville, Ken Whisenhunt might be closer to landing in Cleveland, and Brian Kelly won't land in Chicago. Those were the key storylines Thursday in another busy day of NFL coaching news.

The Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach Mularkey after one season, general manager David Caldwell announced.

Caldwell would like to talk with St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about the head-coaching job, NFL.com reported. The website also indicated that San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman could be a candidate in Jacksonville.

However, Caldwell he wasn't interested in acquiring quarterback Tim Tebow from the New York Jets.

Mularkey went 2-14 in his only season with the Jaguars after having spent four years as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator. The Jaguars hired Caldwell earlier this week.

Multiple media outlets reported that Whisenhunt will get a second interview for the Cleveland Browns' vacant head-coaching job. He posted a 45-51 record over six seasons in Arizona, guiding the Cardinals to the Super Bowl four years ago.

Cleveland fired Pat Shurmur after a 5-11 season. The Browns subsequently interviewed Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Another potential candidate is Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Colts gave the Browns permission to interview Arians, but Arians was hospitalized earlier this week due to an inner-ear infection.

The candidates for Chicago's head-coaching vacancy won't include Kelly, the Notre Dame coach, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report. However, the Philadelphia Eagles plan to talk with the coach of the national runner-up Irish, according to multiple media reports.

--Medical analysis of Junior Seau's brain showed abnormalities associated with degenerative brain disease, and findings were similar to autopsies of people exposed to "repetitive head injury."

The report from the National Institutes of Health wasn't unexpected. Seau played 20 NFL seasons, retired in 2009 and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his California home in May.

Seau was regarded as one of the best linebackers in NFL history and is in the Hall of Fame.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is only diagnosed by examination of brain tissue under a microscope after death.

Gina Seau, the former wife of junior Seau, and his 23-year-old son, Tyler, discussed the findings on "Good Morning America." Gina Seau, responding to a direct question about the NFL's slow response to head trauma and the related issues, said the league was "too slow for us, yeah."

The league responded with a statement that read, in part, "Junior Seau was a leader on and off the field and the player community continues to mourn his loss. The report today about Junior having chronic traumatic encephalopathy is tragic. We know that research and partnerships will be an important factor in improving player care and safety, which is why we set aside $100M of player funds for medical research during the term of this collective bargaining agreement."

--The San Francisco 49ers are sticking with struggling kicker David Akers for Saturday night's NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers signed veteran Billy Cundiff last week to challenge Akers for the job, but Akers won out during practices the past nine days.

Akers converted 29 of 42 field goal attempts this year after making the Pro Bowl last season. In the last eight games of the regular season, Akers made just 15 of 23.

Despite his woes, Akers managed to fend off Cundiff, who will remain with the 49ers this week.

--The Jets expanded their general manager search to include three additional candidates, including former Chicago Bears GM Jerry Angelo, according to multiple reports.

Angelo was fired by the Bears after the 2011 season.

The Jets will also meet with Miami Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine and Pittsburgh Steelers director of football and business administration Omar Kahn. The team has contacted at least 12 potential candidates, according to an ESPN report.

The next GM will have to keep head coach Rex Ryan for at least one season, owner Woody Johnson said.

--The Dallas Cowboys are focusing their search for a defensive coordinator on Monte Kiffin, according to an ESPNDallas report.

Kiffin most recently served as the defensive coordinator at USC.

The Cowboys' list to replace Rob Ryan also includes Horton.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett served as a backup quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 when Kiffin ran Jon Gruden's offense. The Kansas City Chiefs also reportedly had their sights on the 72-year-old Kiffin, but they were told he wasn't interested.

--The Buffalo Bills hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to serve on new head coach Doug Marrone's staff.

Hackett spent the past three years working for Marrone at Syracuse University, including the past two as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/tight ends coach.

Pettine was the defensive coordinator of the division-rival Jets for the past four seasons. He oversaw a unit that ranked among the top 10 in the league every year under his watch.

--Steelers running back Chris Rainey was arrested Thursday on one count of simple battery after an alleged incident involving a cell phone. Hours later, he was released by the team.

"Chris Rainey's actions this morning were extremely disappointing," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. "Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Rainey, who ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, was charged with simple battery (dating violence), a first-degree misdemeanor, in Gainesville, Fla.
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