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Sparano, Haley get pink slips
Two coaches headed for the unemployment line Monday as Todd Haley was dismissed by the Kansas City Chiefs and Tony Sparano was shown the door by the Miami Dolphins.
Haley led Kansas City to the AFC West title less than a year ago, but the Chiefs were stuck at the bottom of the division this season following a series of devastating injuries and discouraging blowouts.
The Chiefs dropped to 5-8 after Sunday’s 37-10 loss to the Jets. Kansas City committed 11 penalties for 128 yards in another dismal performance, including a 15-yarder on Haley for unsportsmanlike conduct that likely sealed his fate. He compiled a 19-27 record in three seasons.
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season.
The decision to let Sparano go came one day after the Dolphins lost to the Philadelphia Eagles to fall to 4-9. The defeat ended a recent surge by Miami after it lost its first seven games.
Todd Bowles, who had been Miami’s assistant head coach and secondary coach, will be the interim head coach for the final three games, starting Sunday at Buffalo. Jeff Ireland will remain as general manager and play a role in the coaching search.
Packers’ Jennings out 2-3 weeks with knee injury
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings will miss two to three weeks with a knee sprain but is expected back for the playoffs.
Jennings hurt his left knee when he landed awkwardly in the third quarter of Sunday’s victory over Oakland. Jennings had to be helped from the sideline to a cart and was taken to the locker room.
At 13-0, the Packers can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a victory at Kansas City on Sunday. But losing Jennings will be a significant — if only temporary — blow to a team best known for its dominant passing game.
Jets safety Leonhard sidelined for season
NEW YORK — Safety Jim Leonhard will miss the rest of the season with a torn patella tendon in his right knee after being injured Sunday, coach Rex Ryan said.
Leonhard underwent an MRI exam, which confirmed Monday what the Jets first feared when he went down on a tackle following an interception. It is the second straight year Leonhard has been lost for the season because of a devastating injury.
Falcons coach Smith home after trip to hospital
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith is back home after being taken to the hospital in Charlotte, N.C.
The team said Smith, 52, was examined for a “non-emergency matter” and returned to Atlanta about 3:30 a.m. Monday on owner Arthur Blank’s private jet. No details of the coach’s condition were released, other than it was not considered serious.
Around the league
• TEXANS: Houston waived veteran receiver Derrick Mason. The Texans signed Mason, 37, in mid-October after Andre Johnson went down with a right hamstring injury. Mason caught six passes for 55 yards in seven games. Johnson sat out Sunday’s win in Cincinnati with a strained left hamstring but may return for Sunday’s game against Carolina.
• BROWNS: Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur maintains his team’s medical staff followed NFL guidelines when quarterback Colt McCoy was cleared to go back in Thursday’s game at Pittsburgh despite a concussion. McCoy did not show signs of a concussion until after the game, Shurmur said.
• BENGALS: Tests revealed that Cincinnati guard Bobbie Williams broke his right ankle Sunday, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
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