- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

From combined dispatches

In what’s shaping up as a contest between former NFL Players Association presidents Troy Vincent and Trace Armstrong, the union narrowed its list to five candidates to succeed the late Gene Upshaw as executive director.

The Associated Press learned Thursday that Vincent and Armstrong made the most recent cut this week, when the NFLPA pared its list from nine. A person familiar with the list but not authorized to reveal the names said the other three candidates are former Bears tackle Jim Covert; Ben Utt, who played for Baltimore and Indianapolis; and D.C.-based attorney DeMaurice Smith.

NFLPA president and Titans center Kevin Mawae confirmed that the number of candidates has been narrowed to five but would not say who is on the list to replace Upshaw, who died in August.

Mawae said the next step is selecting three finalists, who will meet with the union’s 32 representatives at the NFLPA’s annual general meeting in Hawaii in March. The next executive director will be selected by a vote then.

COWBOYS: The first time Michael Irvin watched “American Idol,” he loved the concept of giving undiscovered singers the chance to become stars. Now Irvin is doing the same for NFL wannabes.

The Hall of Fame receiver is launching a reality TV show in which 12 “football neophytes” will compete for an impressive grand prize: a spot on Dallas’ 80-man training camp roster.

Irvin told the Associated Press the show will give someone the “opportunity of a lifetime.”

PANTHERS: Defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac joined Carolina’s mass exodus of assistant coaches, turning down a contract offer to remain on coach John Fox’s dwindling staff.

Trgovac’s surprising departure came the same day secondary coach Tim Lewis accepted a similar position with Seattle. Fox has lost five assistants since the Panthers’ upset playoff loss to Arizona on Jan. 10.

Trgovac informed Fox and general manager Marty Hurney of his decision at Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala.

BROWNS: As he awaits the hiring of Cleveland’s new general manager, coach Eric Mangini added five assistant coaches, four of whom were on his staff with the New York Jets.

Mangini hired defensive line coach Bryan Cox, defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, defensive quality control coach Andy Dickerson, quarterbacks coach Carl Smith and assistant strength and conditioning coach Rick Lyle.

Cox, Henderson, Dickerson and Lyle all spent the past three seasons on the Jets’ staff.

GIANTS: Tom Coughlin didn’t have to look far to hire a new linebackers coach for New York, selecting former Jets assistant Jim Herrmann.

Herrmann, 48, replaces Bill Sheridan, who was promoted Monday to replace Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.

Before joining the Jets, Herrmann spent 20 years at Michigan, including a nine-year stint as defensive coordinator. During that time, Sheridan was a member of his staff.

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