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NFL roundup: Schwartz accepts challenge of Lions

Associated Press
DETROIT ó Jim Schwartz insisted he loves challenges.
Well, he’s got one.
The Detroit Lions, the NFL’s first 0-16 team, agreed Thursday on a four-year deal with Schwartz to make him their next coach.
The former Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator will be introduced today at Ford Field, where Detroit lost its home games by an average of 21.4 points to break another dubious league record.
Schwartz, 42, just finished his eighth season as the Titans’ defensive coordinator.
“I don’t shy away from a challenge,” he said during a news conference earlier this week.
Schwartz played linebacker at Georgetown and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1989. He had the same position at Minnesota and went on to become a secondary coach for North Carolina Central and a linebackers coach at Colgate.
Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher congratulated the Lions for hiring the “right guy.” Detroit also showed some interest in Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
The Lions have the No. 1 pick in April, and Schwartz has an idea of what to do with the first selection.
“It’s probably time to find a replacement for Bobby Layne,” Schwartz said.
Since winning a title in 1957 with Layne at quarterback, the Lions have the same number of playoff victories as Pro Bowl QBs: one.
JETS
NEW YORK ó The New York Jets had a second meeting with the Giants’ Spagnuolo earlier this week about their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press.
Spagnuolo, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan are widely believed to be at the top of New York’s list.
RAMS
ST. LOUIS ó Jim Haslett has been eliminated from consideration for the Rams’ coaching job.
The four finalists for the job are the Vikings’ Frazier, the Giants’ Spagnuolo, the Ravens’ Ryan and Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.
SAINTS
NEW ORLEANS ó The Saints hired Gregg Williams to fill their vacant defensive coordinator’s post, hoping he’ll shape up a unit that allowed 339.5 yards per game. The team fired Gary Gibbs last week.
New Orleans ranked 23rd in the NFL in total defense during the 2008 regular season, Gibbs’ third season with the Saints.
Williams spent 2008 as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ coordinator, but the defense allowed 331 yards and 22.9 points per game.
49ers
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Scott Linehan interviewed a second time with coach Mike Singletary and general manager Scot McCloughan in hopes of becoming the team’s offensive coordinator.
Singletary also has interviewed Indianapolis receivers coach Clyde Christensen, Cleveland offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Denver offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.
DOLPHINS
MIAMI ó New York Giants assistant offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo was hired as offensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins, a person familiar with the agreement told The Associated Press. He replaces Mike Maser, who was fired a day earlier.
Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. ó The Packers promoted Shawn Slocum to special teams coach to replace the retired Mike Stock and hired Curtis Fuller to fill Slocum’s slot.
BROWNS
CLEVELAND ó The Browns interviewed James “Shack” Harris, Jacksonville’s former vice president of player personnel, for the general manager job.
GIANTS
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Quarterback Andre Woodson, the sixth-round pick from Kentucky who spent the season on New York’s practice squad, was among nine free agents signed.
The Giants signed six other practice squad players, including receivers Taye Biddle and Micah Rucker.
CHARGES
CENTENNIAL, Colo. ó Former NFL player Billy Jenkins, accused of killing a motor scooter driver in a hit-and-run, has pleaded not guilty.
Jenkins was on the St. Louis Rams’ Super Bowl championship team in 1999 and played for the Denver Broncos in 2000-01. He retired in 2002.

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