Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne were named modern-era finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday in their first year of eligibility.
The pair is joined by five other first-time finalists, including wideout Torry Holt (sixth year eligible), defensive tackle Bryant Young (sixth), linebacker Zach Thomas (seventh), safety Leroy Butler (14th) and linebacker Sam Mills (18th).
The 15 finalists, of whom five will be selected for enshrinement on “Selection Saturday” on Feb. 1, the day before Super Bowl LIV, also include: defensive tackle Richard Seymour (third year eligible), guard Steve Hutchinson (third), guard Alan Faneca (third), running back Edgerrin James (sixth), wideout Isaac Bruce (sixth), safety John Lynch (eighth), offensive tackle Tony Boselli (14th) and safety Steve Atwater.
All 2019 finalists who were not enshrined were again named finalists. That includes two coaches, Tom Flores and Don Coryell, who were named among 38 finalists in December for a special centennial class of coaches, contributors and senior players. Of that group, two coaches, three contributors and 10 players will be inducted.
—Former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche died after a brief battle with melanoma. He was 74.
Wyche died in Pickens, S.C., according to the Bengals. He had endured recurring battles with melanoma and urged Cincinnati fans in September to “wear sun tan lotion.”
Wyche was an innovative coach with the Bengals (1984-91) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1992-95). He coached the Bengals to the Super Bowl after the 1988 season, where they lost 20-16 to the San Francisco 49ers.
—January 10 will be interview day for New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Per NFL Network, McDaniels scheduled interviews with at least three NFL teams considering the 43-year-old as a candidate to be their head coach. That includes the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys are also expected to have interest in McDaniels if Jason Garrett’s contract, which expires Jan. 14, is not renewed.
—Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the team will hire a head coach before a general manager, adding that he is “very determined to get that right this time.”
The new coach, who will be the fifth hired by Haslam since he bought the team in 2012, will have input on hiring the general manager. Both will report individually to Haslam.
The Browns already interviewed former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, while McDaniels and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll will also reportedly interview. Baylor head coach Matt Rhule reportedly declined an interview.
—Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder introduced head coach Ron Rivera, vowing that he is the man to return the foundering franchise to its glory days.
“What the Redskins have needed is a culture change, someone that can bring a winning culture to our organization,” Snyder said. “It starts and ends with a head coach.”
Rivera is the seventh permanent head coach hired by Snyder since he bought the team in 1999. He said both Snyder and the roster sold him on the job.
—Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard is not yet sold on Jacoby Brissett as the quarterback of the present and future.
Ballard said at his press conference that the “jury is still out” on Brissett, who replaced Andrew Luck as the starting quarterback after the former No. 1 pick’s abrupt retirement in August.
“Right now, yes, Jacoby is our starter,” Ballard said, adding the Colts are still evaluating the position. “... That’s why we did the short-term deal with Jacoby, to have the security of a player we liked and to find out if he can be the guy.”
—New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman says he’s feeling better, just in time for the postseason.
“I feel good, and that’s that,” Edelman, 33, told WEEI. “I feel better than I have in the last few weeks, and I feel good enough to go out and compete at a high level.”
Limited in practice this week with knee and shoulder injuries, Edelman caught just 10 passes in the Patriots’ last three regular-season games.
—Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and offensive line coach Jeff Davidson stepped down.
—The Atlanta Falcons parted ways with secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson and defensive line coach Travis Jones.
—Buffalo defensive end Shaq Lawson is questionable the Bills’ AFC wild-card game against the host Houston Texans on Saturday.
—Texans coach Bill O’Brien labeled wide receiver Will Fuller V as a “game-time decision” against the Bills.
—Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks practiced for the first time since injuring his quad Dec. 23, getting listed as a limited participant.
—After missing four games because of a foot injury, Tennessee cornerback Adoree’ Jackson expects to play when the Titans meet the Patriots Saturday night.
—The Bengals and Lions will coach the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., later this month.
—Field Level Media