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Titans, Jags, Dolphins and more

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 NFL News - Wednesday, January 16,2008
... Titans, Jags, Dolphins and more...

*** For the rest of the NFL season, NFL News will mail
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. ***

Titans fire former USC whiz, offensive coordinator Chow

The Tennessee Titans fired offensive coordinator Norm Chow
on Tuesday after a season of struggling to score points and
reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Titans
coach Jeff Fisher confirmed the dismissal in a short statement.
Chow, who had been on staff for three years, did not immediately
return a telephone message left by the Associated Press.
But Fisher said the day after his Titans (10-6) lost an AFC
wild-card game to San Diego 17-6 that improving the offense was
his top priority this offseason. They ranked 21st overall in
total offense and became the first team with only nine touchdown
passes to reach the playoffs in a 16-game season. After a week
of evaluating the team, Fisher told Chow he would not be
retained as offensive coordinator. "I appreciate all of the
hard work and contributions he made to the organization during
his time here, but I have decided to go in a different direction
and will start the process of finding a new offensive coordinator,"
Fisher said in the statement. Fisher lured Chow from the same
post at Southern California to the NFL in 2005 knowing they
would need someone to develop a young quarterback after what
turned out to be Steve McNair's final season with the franchise.
That has been Chow's specialty in more than 30 years of coaching
in college where he worked with Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers,
Jim McMahon and Steve Young. When the Titans selected Young
with the No. 3 pick overall in 2006, they went with Houston
native Vince Young over Matt Leinart, whom Chow coached at
Southern California. Chow, who turns 62 in May, told The
Tennessean he was disappointed and didn't see the firing
coming. He said he thought he could help develop Young, who
threw nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns this

DE Hawkins becomes latest Jags player in trouble with law

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Brent Hawkins was arrested
and charged with drunken driving after he was stopped for
speeding on his way home from a night out.The 24-year-old was
arrested early Monday when deputies clocked him driving his
2007 Chevrolet Tahoe at 64 mph in a 45-mph zone, a Jacksonville
Sheriff's Office report said. He told deputies he had three
vodka and orange juice drinks during the night, the report
said. He also told the arresting deputy that he had a previous
drunken-driving arrest in Illinois. "I noticed while speaking
to him that he had the odor of an alcoholic beverage on his
breath and that his eyes were bloodshot and watery," the
arresting deputy wrote in the report. Hawkins refused to take
a breath test after he was brought to the Duval County Jail,
a sheriff's spokesman said. "We're very disappointed and
we're looking into it," team spokesman Dan Edwards said.
Hawkins, a fifth-round pick out of Illinois State, had four
sacks for the Jaguars this season, which ended Saturday with
a 31-20 playoff loss to the New England Patriots. Hawkins is
the 10th Jacksonville player arrested in the last two years.
Five of the arrests involved alcohol, two were for drug
possession, two were for gun charges and one was for battery.
Four of the arrests came in the last three months.


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Sparano arrives in South Florida for second interview with Dolphins

A touchdown by the front-runner for the Miami Dolphins' head
coaching job suggests he might be about to seal the deal.
Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano landed Tuesday
evening in Fort Lauderdale aboard a jet belonging to Dolphins
owner Wayne Huizenga for a second interview with the team's
new regime. Sparano was accompanied on the flight from Dallas
by new general manager Jeff Ireland. They met for an interview
in Dallas on Jan. 5. After arriving in South Florida, Sparano
had dinner with Huizenga and Ireland. Further talks with
Huizenga and new Dolphins boss Bill Parcells are scheduled
Wednesday, and Sparano will then likely become Miami's fifth
coach since 2004. A team spokesman declined to comment.
The 46-year-old Sparano became available for hire when the
Cowboys lost their playoff game Sunday to the New York Giants.
He has been the favorite for the Dolphins job since they fired
Cam Cameron after he went 1-15 in his first year as an NFL head
coach. Sparano worked with Parcells and Ireland when they were
in Dallas. The Dolphins also interviewed Minnesota Vikings
defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, former Baltimore Ravens
defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Tennessee Titans defensive
coordinator Jim Schwartz. But none of them has direct ties to
Ireland or Parcells, and Ireland has said it's important that
he and Parcells be familiar with the new coach. Sparano also
interviewed for head jobs with the Ravens and Atlanta Falcons.
The Dolphins have repeatedly tapped the Dallas pipeline since
the arrival of Parcells, the Cowboys' coach in 2003-06. Former
Dallas assistant David Lee was hired as quarterbacks coach,
and on Tuesday, Brian Gaine was hired as assistant director
of player personnel after three years as the Cowboys' assistant
director of pro scouting. Sparano was hired by Parcells in
Dallas in 2003 as tight ends coach, became offensive line
coach in 2005 and called plays for Parcells in 2006. He was
promoted to assistant head coach last February. His only
experience as a head coach was 1994-98 at New Haven.
Miami's search has been much less extensive than a year ago,
when at least a dozen coaches were interviewed and Huizenga
traveled as far as Costa Rica to meet with potential
candidates. The Dolphins are coming off the worst season in
team history. They lost their first 13 games and missed the
playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, extending a
franchise record.

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Patriots to honor young fan booed in Indianapolis

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sat behind his wide desk and marveled
at how his team's jersey could be the target of so many boos -
even when it's worn by a 14-year-old girl. This wasn't Randy
Moss or Rodney Harrison hearing the catcalls. They're used to it.
This was Anna Grant, a high school freshman who had worked hard
to win the Punt, Pass & Kick competition in her age group as the
team's representative. When she was introduced along with the
other winners before the fourth quarter of San Diego's playoff
win last Sunday, she was the only one booed by the crowd in
Indianapolis, home of New England's fiercest rival.
"Why should a champion be booed?" the boss of the three-time
Super Bowl winners said Tuesday. "She won an intensive competition.
She's supposed to be honored." His team is getting the same
reaction - not because of the spying incident in the season
opener but because fans like to see teams at the top get knocked
off, he said. If the Chargers can't do it Sunday, New England
will be headed to its fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons.
But first comes the coin flip before the AFC championship and
Grant will be out on the field for that, invited by Kraft, who
felt badly that she had been booed. "What I decided is that we
would honor her here before this game," Kraft said in an
interview in his office filled with photos, footballs and other
memorabilia. "We will recognize her as the winner on the field.
Our fans will know." Grant returned from school Tuesday and
heard a phone message from Andre Tippett, the Patriots' executive
director of community affairs and a former star linebacker.
She called back and was ecstatic when Tippett extended the
invitation - plus tickets for her, her parents and two brothers -
to take part. "I was just in shock," she said. Kraft knows the
hoots were not directed at the high school freshman from
Stratham, N.H., about 20 miles north of the Massachusetts border.
It's just that the jersey provokes an instant response, usually
a negative one. Grant also understands, and even smiled when
she heard the boos.

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