The NFL notebook …
STANFORD, Calif. ó Jim Harbaugh has returned to a welcome-home rally on Stanfordís campus and offered no insight to whatís next: staying put, bolting to the NFL or going elsewhere.
Harbaugh shook his head no Tuesday night when asked if he had considered his options, then briefly addressed a crowd of several hundred before being whisked away. On Monday, Stanford earned a 40-12 Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech in Miami to finish with a program-best 12-1 record.
Harbaugh now has to weigh his choices, with suitors from coast to coast. From the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, Harbaugh is a hot commodity around the country. And what about his alma mater, Michigan?
Michigan and Rich Rodriguez were set to meet again Wednesday to discuss the embattled coachís future.
CLEVELAND ó The Cleveland Browns will go on offense to start their coaching search.
Looking to replace defensive-minded Eric Mangini, the team plans to interview Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and St. Louis offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Mularkey confirmed he will speak with the Browns and Denver Broncos “later this week” about their coaching vacancies. The Rams said Tuesday night that they’ve granted the Browns permission to speak with Shurmur.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó The Denver Broncos will kick off their search for a new coach by interviewing Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
John Elway will be introduced as the Broncos’ new chief football executive this week, and he’ll interview Mularkey in Atlanta on Friday and then return to Denver to speak with interim Broncos coach Eric Studesville about the job on Monday.
BENGALS KEEPING LEWIS
CINCINNATI ó The front office won’t change significantly. The Bengals will still be practicing in the cold. Even with all that, Marvin Lewis decided to stay.
Lewis agreed to an unspecified contract extension on Tuesday that will make him the longest-tenured coach in club history. Owner Mike Brown agreed to changes in the coaching staff and the roster as part of a deal that left both sides comfortable.
The Bengals are coming off a 4-12 season and have had only two winning records in the last 20 years ó both under Lewis, who is 60-69-1 in eight seasons, including losses in both playoff appearances.
HOUSTON ó Texans owner Bob McNair thinks Gary Kubiak will learn from the many low points of this season and be a better coach because of them.
Kubiak will return for a sixth season in Houston, but the team fired four defensive assistants on Monday, including coordinator Frank Bush. The Texans (6-10) lost eight of their last 10 games and had the league’s 30th-ranked defense.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó Mark Sanchez has no concerns about his sore shoulder. Neither does Rex Ryan.
Even if the New York Jets need their quarterback to air it out against the Indianapolis Colts.
“That shoulder is not an excuse for our football team,” Ryan said Tuesday. “Nothing is.”
Sanchez was limited in practice, as he has been for much of the last few weeks, but said he got in almost all of the throws and liked how the shoulder responded.
“I’m feeling good,” Sanchez said, “and ready to go Saturday.”
That’s when the Jets (11-5) return to Indianapolis and face the Colts (10-6), the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in the AFC championship game a year ago.
BIG BENíS ENGAGED?
PITTSBURGH ó If Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is engaged, he isnít saying.
Roethlisberger declined Tuesday to discuss rumors he became engaged over the holidays to a Pittsburgh-area woman. There have been numerous postings on social media sites, some even identifying the woman by name.
At the Steelersí first practice of the week, Roethlisberger did not deny the rumors.
ěOh, geez,î Roethlisberger said. ěListen, thereís always rumors out there about professional athletes, especially about me. You guys know that I am not going to talk about my personal life. I donít do that. My one singular focus right now is on the playoffs, on football and trying to get to the Super Bowl.î
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó The New York Jets say a lawsuit filed against them and Brett Favre by two massage therapists is “completely without merit,” and the team had not been aware of the accusations.
By Paul Newberry Associated Press NEW ORLEANS ó Jim Tressel and Bobby Petrino dutifully posed in front of the Sugar... read more