Cowboys to bring Phillips back
Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips stood before the disappointed Dallas Cowboys yesterday and gave them some encouraging words to take into the offseason.
"Keep it the way it is," the message went.
Jones and Phillips did not speak with reporters, but players shared the news — the tone being a clear indication Jones plans to pick up the team option on Phillips' contract for next season.
Safety Ken Hamlin came away thinking Phillips' return is a done deal.
"For him to have that confidence from Jerry and everyone to know he's coming back ... it's good for us," Hamlin said.
The Cowboys have won the division twice in Phillips' three years. They had a winning final month of the regular season for the first time since 1996, then turned that into their first playoff victory since '96, eliminating two major burdens.
But they also were flattened at the finish for a second straight season, this time going down, 34-3, to Minnesota in the second round of the playoffs.
"This year it was a building year, it was a year to really see where we could go and how far we could go," defensive captain Bradie James said. "So we've proved to ourselves that we have enough confidence to really be there. We can win the big games. We can be good."
DE ELLIS WILL PLAY WITH BROKEN LEFT HAND
New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis has a broken left hand that will require surgery, but he expects to play in the AFC championship against Indianapolis.
Ellis was injured on the Jets' first defensive play in their 17-14 win at San Diego on Sunday. He said yesterday that his hand "just gave out" when he was blocked by an offensive lineman.
"I tried to just finish that series out," Ellis said. "Then, once I got to the sideline, I was like, 'You know what, my hand is broken.' Then, they checked and were like, 'Yeah, you're right, it is.' "
Ellis, third on the team's career sacks list, had the hand placed in a cast that was wrapped up like a club and he later returned to the game. X-rays after the game confirmed the extent of the injury.
He said he'll have surgery to insert screws into the hand after the game against the Colts, whether the Jets win or not. If the Jets win Sunday, Ellis' hand would have two weeks to heal before the Super Bowl.
COACH TURNER GETS EXTENSION THROUGH 2013
San Diego has given coach Norv Turner a three-year contract extension through 2013.
The extension was announced in a release last night, 24 hours after the Chargers were shocked, 17-14, by the New York Jets in the divisional playoffs.
The Chargers didn't make Turner or general manager A.J. Smith available for comment.
The extension had been expected. What hadn't been expected was San Diego's playoff collapse. Some had picked the Chargers to win the Super Bowl.
Law and order: San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson was handcuffed briefly and had his car impounded following a traffic stop Sunday just a few hours before a playoff loss to the New York Jets, police said. Det. Gary Hassen said yesterday that a traffic officer pulled over Jackson for playing loud music. The player was cited for driving with a suspended license and expired tags. Jackson was briefly handcuffed, which Hassen said is part of standard procedure in such situations.
• Authorities say Tennessee Titans wide receiver and former Rutgers star Kenny Britt was arrested in New Jersey on outstanding traffic warrants during a motor vehicle stop. Police say the 21-year-old was pulled over in Glen Ridge on Friday night and found to have three outstanding traffic warrants from two New Jersey towns totaling $865.
Naming rights: Sun Life Financial has purchased naming rights to the Miami Dolphins' stadium in time for the Super Bowl. A person familiar with the deal confirmed that Sun Life has reached a five-year agreement with the team. The stadium, called Land Shark Stadium last year, will be renamed in time for the Pro Bowl on Jan. 31 and the Super Bowl the following Sunday.
Broncos: Denver and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan have agreed to part ways. Nolan becomes the third member of coach Josh McDaniels' first staff to depart following a disappointing 8-8 finish. Offensive line coach Rick Dennison left for Houston's staff and running backs coach Bobby Turner was reunited with Mike Shanahan in Washington.
49ers: San Francisco has hired veteran NFL and college coach Kurt Schottenheimer as special teams coordinator. The 60-year-old Schottenheimer was out of football last season after working as Green Bay's secondary coach from 2006-08. San Francisco declined to renew the contract of Al Everest.