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Oh, brother! WWE star, Eagles coach ready for big weekend

Dan Gelston, The Associated Press 5 minute read Yesterday at 3:20 PM CST

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Mike Rallis had his younger brother draped over his shoulders and was set to dump him to the turf — as a roughhousing brother might do — when he took an abrupt blow to his ribs.

In a flash, Nick Rallis was on his feet and had turned the fight around. He spun his brother and dropped Mike with a brutal Stone Cold Stunner in a scene straight out of WWE’s “Raw.” Mike Rallis popped in the air and landed flush on his back. Minnesota Gophers football players that had lined a makeshift wrestling ring roared “finish him!” at Nick. Nick hooked big brother’s left leg, watched the referee count, 1! 2! 3! and stumbled to his feet, his hand raised in victory.

In wrestling parlance, this was a loser-leaves-town match for Mike Rallis. He had finished his career as a Gophers linebacker in 2013 and symbolically passed the torch to fellow linebacker, Nick. That moment at Minnesota’s indoor practice facility also provided a sneak peak into what was ahead for the brothers: Mike Rallis followed his pro wrestling passion and is better known these days as WWE star Madcap Moss. Much like he did in his match against his brother, Nick Rallis knows how to leave a football field a winner. At just 29, he’s in his second season as linebackers coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

On Saturday, Madcap Moss is among the wrestlers in the mix for WWE’s Royal Rumble event, one of the sports entertainment company’s premier events. The next day, the Eagles host San Francisco in the NFC championship game.

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Bengals powered by 3 young stars: Burrow, Chase, Higgins

Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

Bengals powered by 3 young stars: Burrow, Chase, Higgins

Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press 3 minute read 11:13 AM CST

CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow says the Cincinnati Bengals' championship window should stay open for years.

“The window is my whole career,” the franchise quarterback said matter-of-factly after the Bengals clinched their second straight AFC North title.

His confidence is understandable given the offensive weapons available: Receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins have gained 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, making them the first pair of Bengals wideouts to do that since Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in 2006 and 2007.

While both have been limited by injuries this season, they've combined to catch 18 touchdown passes and will look for when Cincinnati plays at Kansas City on Sunday in the AFC championship game for the second straight year.

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11:13 AM CST

FILE - Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9), wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) run onto the field during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Cincinnati. The Bengals’ Burrow, Chase and Higgins have been a winning trio this year and Cincinnati fans should enjoy them while they can. Their days together could be numbered. Burrow will demand a huge contract next summer with Higgins and Chase knocking on the door soon after. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn, File)

Hurts, Purdy set for college-era rematch in NFC title tilt

Dan Gelston, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Hurts, Purdy set for college-era rematch in NFC title tilt

Dan Gelston, The Associated Press 4 minute read 9:29 AM CST

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy could be primed for a shootout in the NFC championship game.

It's the first time Hurts — the league MVP finalist for the Philadelphia Eagles — and Purdy, the “ Mr. Irrelevant ” rookie sensation for the San Francisco 49ers, have matched up in the NFL. And it’s a doozy, with a spot in the Super Bowl at stake.

But the two young quarterbacks have gone head-to-head before, in a game that was among the best in the 2019 college football season. Hurts passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more scores for Oklahoma, and Purdy passed for five touchdowns for Iowa State. Purdy's No. 9 Sooners came out on top, 42-41, on Nov. 9, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma.

“It was almost like you had to score every single time you had the ball,” Purdy recalled this week.

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9:29 AM CST

FILE - Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during an NCAA college football game between Iowa State and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. Purdy and Jalen Hurts could be primed for a shootout in the NFC championship game. . Hurts and No. 9 Oklahoma held off Purdy and Iowa State 42-41 on Nov. 9, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma in their last meeting in college. By Dan Gelston.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Falcons hire defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen from Saints

The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Falcons hire defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen from Saints

The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 6:16 PM CST

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons found their new defensive coordinator from an NFC South rival’s coaching staff on Friday by hiring Ryan Nielsen, the former New Orleans Saints co-defensive coordinator.

Nielsen replaces Dean Pees, 73, who retired on Jan. 9 following two seasons in charge of the defense on coach Arthur Smith’s staff.

The Falcons also announced three defensive assistants will not return next season: defensive line coach Gary Emanuel, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and secondary coach Jon Hoke.

Nielsen will be reunited with Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot, who worked 18 years with the Saints before he was hired by Atlanta in 2021.

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Yesterday at 6:16 PM CST

FILE - New Orleans Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen reacts to a call during the team's NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Nov. 7, 2021, in New Orleans. The Atlanta Falcons found their new defensive coordinator from an NFC South rival's coaching staff on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, by hiring Nielsen, the former Saints' co-defensive coordinator. Nielsen replaces Dean Pees, who retired on Jan. 9. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)

Bold trades keyed offensive jolts for 49ers, Eagles

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Bold trades keyed offensive jolts for 49ers, Eagles

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 4:14 PM CST

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers got a jolt offensively when they made the bold decision in October to trade four draft picks to add Christian McCaffrey to an already deep group of playmakers.

The Philadelphia Eagles made an aggressive trade of their own to supercharge their offense when they added game-breaking receiver A.J. Brown in a draft-day trade.

The two moves by the NFC powerhouses are big reasons why the Niners (15-4) and Eagles (15-3) are set to meet in the conference title game in Philadelphia on Sunday with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

"It’s what we expected and he’s only exceeded all our expectations,” 49ers tight end George Kittle said of the trade that brought McCaffrey to San Francisco.

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Yesterday at 4:14 PM CST

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey celebrates after scoring against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

AP Source: Tagovailoa to miss Pro Bowl, still in protocol

Alanis Thames, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

AP Source: Tagovailoa to miss Pro Bowl, still in protocol

Alanis Thames, The Associated Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 2:26 PM CST

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will not participate in the 2023 Pro Bowl, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision has not been announced officially.

Tagovailoa was diagnosed with his second concussion of the 2022 season more than a month ago, after a Dec. 25 loss to Green Bay. He missed Miami’s final three games, including a playoff loss to Buffalo.

Tagovailoa had been selected as a Pro Bowl first alternate and would have replaced either Joe Burrow or Patrick Mahomes, one of whom will play in Super Bowl LVII after Sunday’s AFC Championship game.

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Yesterday at 2:26 PM CST

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) sets up to pass during fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022 in Orchard Park, N.Y. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

Column: Six Degrees of Wilks connects dots of NFL racism

Paul Newberry, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

Column: Six Degrees of Wilks connects dots of NFL racism

Paul Newberry, The Associated Press 5 minute read Yesterday at 2:12 PM CST

Let's play Six Degrees of Steve Wilks, a quick and easy way to connect the dots of racism in the NFL head coaching ranks.

— We'll start with Kliff Kingsbury, a white coach who was fired by Texas Tech in 2018 and somehow wound up as head man of the Arizona Cardinals the very next season. He replaced Wilks, whose first NFL head coaching opportunity resulted in a single, doomed season. Kingsbury would be fired, too, but only after receiving three more years to prove himself than his Black predecessor.

— Moving on to Lovie Smith, a Black coach Wilks once worked for in Chicago. Smith was dumped after only one year coaching a Texans team that everyone knew would be awful in the wake of the Deshaun Watson debacle. That also provides a link to David Culley, a Black coach who received the same one-and-done treatment in Houston after the 2021 season.

— Which brings us to Matt Rhule, a white college coach touted as the next big thing in the NFL. Instead, he left behind a huge mess in Carolina before getting dismissed early in the 2022 season (and, of course, quickly landed another lucrative college job at Nebraska ). Wilks took over as the Panthers' interim coach for the final 12 games and did a stellar job of cleaning things up.

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Yesterday at 2:12 PM CST

Carolina Panthers head coach Steve Wilks watches during the first half an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Chiefs’ Mahomes ready for AFC title game against Bengals

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Chiefs’ Mahomes ready for AFC title game against Bengals

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 1:31 PM CST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes finished a full week of practice on his ailing right ankle Friday, and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid pronounced his All-Pro quarterback ready to go for the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mahomes sustained a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of last week's divisional-round win over Jacksonville, returning after halftime to polish off the victory. That sent the Chiefs to their fifth consecutive AFC championship game, where they will face the AFC North champions on Sunday night in a rematch of last year's overtime loss to the Bengals.

“He looks good,” Reid said. “I mean, he’s moving around good. He’s going to go out and play.”

Mahomes has had perhaps his best season, throwing for a career-high 5,250 yards with a league-leading 41 touchdown passes, and garnered 49 of 50 first-place votes in All-Pro voting. He is also among five finalists for league MVP.

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Yesterday at 1:31 PM CST

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes talks to the media before an NFL football workout Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in the AFC championship game. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

McVay, LA Rams hire former Jets OC Mike LaFleur

Greg Beacham, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

McVay, LA Rams hire former Jets OC Mike LaFleur

Greg Beacham, The Associated Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 1:40 PM CST

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams hired former New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur on Friday to join Sean McVay's quest to fix one of the least productive offenses in the league.

LaFleur spent the past two years with the Jets in his first stint as an NFL offensive coordinator, but New York struggled statistically in both years while missing the playoffs twice. He parted ways with the Jets (7-10) three days after the regular season ended.

LaFleur will follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Matt, by becoming Los Angeles' offensive coordinator under coach Sean McVay, who has called the Rams' plays and been in near-complete control of the offense throughout his six-year tenure.

McVay has publicly battled burnout exacerbated by a self-described inability to delegate during his Rams tenure, but he hasn't said whether he plans to give more responsibility to LaFleur or his other assistants as he enters his seventh season in charge.

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Yesterday at 1:40 PM CST

FILE - New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur stands on the field as players practice during the NFL football team's training camp May 6, 2022, in Florham Park, N.J. LaFleur is out as offensive coordinator of the Jets after two seasons, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The Jets and LaFleur agreed to part ways Wednesday, Jan. 11, after a few other teams inquired about the embattled offensive coordinator, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team didn’t announce the move. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

NFC title game a Philly reunion for 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

NFC title game a Philly reunion for 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 4 minute read 10:48 AM CST

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — DeMeco Ryans' influence on the NFC championship runs through both locker rooms.

Ryans finished his playing career as a linebacker for Philadelphia, earning the nickname “Mufasa” (from “The Lion King”) for the leadership skills that he taught the handful of teammates still on the Eagles that have been carried forward to today.

Ryans transitioned to coaching and has been the defensive coordinator the past two seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, where he has helped scheme the NFL's stingiest defense.

The two teams meet Sunday — the 49ers (15-4) at the Eagles (15-3) — with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.

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10:48 AM CST

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, left, celebrates with defensive end Samson Ebukam during the second half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Wilks ‘disappointed, not defeated’ over Panthers snub

Steve Reed, The Associated Press 3 minute read Preview

Wilks ‘disappointed, not defeated’ over Panthers snub

Steve Reed, The Associated Press 3 minute read Yesterday at 11:31 AM CST

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Former Carolina Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks is “disappointed, but not defeated” that he didn’t land the team’s full-time head coaching position.

The Panthers announced on Thursday they've agreed to hire Frank Reich as their coach.

“The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I,” Wilks tweeted Friday. “Many people aren’t built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.”

Wilks thanked players, coaches and staff for their dedication, saying he took pride in representing his hometown of Charlotte.

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Yesterday at 11:31 AM CST

FILE - Carolina Panthers' Steve Wilks warms up wearing a T-shirt in support of Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin before an NFL football game between the Panthers and the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. Former Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks Tweeted “disappointed, but not defeated” that he didn’t landed the team’s full-time head coaching position. The Panthers announced on Thursday, Jan. 26 they've agreed to hire Frank Reich as their new head coach.(AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)

4 of NFL’s best TEs on display in conference title games

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

4 of NFL’s best TEs on display in conference title games

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 5 minute read Yesterday at 11:13 AM CST

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes headed up the tunnel inside Arrowhead Stadium to have X-rays taken on his sprained right ankle, and Chad Henne trotted onto the field in the second quarter of their divisional playoff game against Jacksonville, it was obvious who the backup quarterback was going to target.

Not that the Jaguars could do anything about it.

Henne's first throw went to Travis Kelce. So did another. And another. And by the time the Chiefs were on the doorstep of the end zone, it was the All-Pro tight end whose short touchdown grab finished off a 98-yard scoring drive.

In that respect, Kelce was like a big, comfy security blanket for the Chiefs, who went on to win 27-20 and advance into a Sunday night rematch with the Cincinnati Bengals for the AFC title. Kelce finished with 14 catches, one off the NFL playoff record, and along the way continued his run on career statistical charts too numerous to count.

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Yesterday at 11:13 AM CST

Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst (88) leaps over Buffalo Bills safety Jaquan Johnson (4) during the third quarter of an NFL division round football game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Grey Cup hero Robbie Smith signs extension with Toronto Argonauts

The Canadian Press 2 minute read Preview

Grey Cup hero Robbie Smith signs extension with Toronto Argonauts

The Canadian Press 2 minute read Yesterday at 10:54 AM CST

TORONTO - Grey Cup hero Robbie Smith is staying put.

The Canadian defensive lineman signed a contract extension with the Toronto Argonauts on Friday. Smith was slated to become a free agent next month.

The 25-year-old from Brampton, Ont., played a pivotal role in Toronto's 24-23 Grey Cup win over the Toronto Argonauts in November. He blocked Marc Liegghio's 47-yard field goal try with 54 seconds remaining to cement the Argos' upset victory, the franchise's 18th CFL title.

The six-foot-two, 245-pound Smith registered 22 tackles, seven special-teams tackles, three sacks, an interception and forced fumble in 17 regular-season games last season. He registered four tackles and a sack in the Grey Cup game before delivering the game-deciding play.

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Yesterday at 10:54 AM CST

Edmonton Elks running back James Wilder Jr. (32) runs the ball against Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Robbie Smith (40) and Toronto Argonauts defensive back Josh Hagerty, right, during second half CFL football action in Toronto, Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Smith signed a contract extension with the Argonauts on Friday. He was slated to become a free agent next month.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Analysis: Nick Sirianni won over fans who didn’t want him

Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Analysis: Nick Sirianni won over fans who didn’t want him

Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press 4 minute read Yesterday at 5:01 AM CST

Nick Sirianni is getting his flowers figuratively instead of thrown at his face.

The chest-bumping, sideline-prancing, expletive-tossing head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles has won over a tough city that questioned his credentials and mocked his introductory news conference when he was hired two years ago.

Sirianni has the Eagles in the NFC championship game and now he’s becoming more popular than Rocky Balboa in the city of cheesesteaks and Liberty Bell.

The Eagles (15-3) will host the San Francisco 49ers (15-4) on Sunday with a chance to reach the Super Bowl for the fourth time in franchise history and second time in six seasons.

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Yesterday at 5:01 AM CST

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni calls out from the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Philadelphia, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Colts fan starts petition to stop Saturday’s coaching path

The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

Colts fan starts petition to stop Saturday’s coaching path

The Associated Press 2 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeff Saturday was a fan favorite when he played for the Indianapolis Colts.

Maybe not so much these days.

After going 1-7 as the interim coach and being brought in for a second interview to keep the job next fall, one Colts fans started an online petition to stop Saturday’s candidacy. It had received nearly 3,000 signatures by Thursday night.

“We as Colts fans will always love the memories of the SB XLI team; we love the former players and the people they’ve become, but we don’t want Jeff Saturday as the head coach of this team going forward,” the petition read. “Please hire someone with experience and save your fan base from revolting and losing interest.”

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeff Saturday was a fan favorite when he played for the Indianapolis Colts.

Maybe not so much these days.

After going 1-7 as the interim coach and being brought in for a second interview to keep the job next fall, one Colts fans started an online petition to stop Saturday’s candidacy. It had received nearly 3,000 signatures by Thursday night.

“We as Colts fans will always love the memories of the SB XLI team; we love the former players and the people they’ve become, but we don’t want Jeff Saturday as the head coach of this team going forward,” the petition read. “Please hire someone with experience and save your fan base from revolting and losing interest.”

Injured Bengals linemen Cappa, Williams miss practice again

The Associated Press 1 minute read Preview

Injured Bengals linemen Cappa, Williams miss practice again

The Associated Press 1 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

CINCINNATI (AP) — Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams didn't practice Thursday, making it more likely the Bengals will again start three backup offensive linemen in Sunday's AFC championship game against the Chiefs.

Right guard Cappa (ankle) and left tackle Williams (dislocated kneecap) haven't practiced at all this week.

Max Scharping, a free agent signed before the season, started his second game at right guard in Cincinnati's 27-10 win over Buffalo in the divisional round last week, and Jackson Carman, a converted guard, played in place of Williams.

Hakeem Adeniji, a sixth-round pick in 2020, started his third game in place of right tackle La'el Collins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a game Dec. 24.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

CINCINNATI (AP) — Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams didn't practice Thursday, making it more likely the Bengals will again start three backup offensive linemen in Sunday's AFC championship game against the Chiefs.

Right guard Cappa (ankle) and left tackle Williams (dislocated kneecap) haven't practiced at all this week.

Max Scharping, a free agent signed before the season, started his second game at right guard in Cincinnati's 27-10 win over Buffalo in the divisional round last week, and Jackson Carman, a converted guard, played in place of Williams.

Hakeem Adeniji, a sixth-round pick in 2020, started his third game in place of right tackle La'el Collins, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in a game Dec. 24.

Eagles, 49ers ride QBs Hurts, Purdy to brink of Super bowl

Dan Gelston, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

Eagles, 49ers ride QBs Hurts, Purdy to brink of Super bowl

Dan Gelston, The Associated Press 6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The late-game meltdowns stick in San Francisco.

Take the Super Bowl against Kansas City following the 2019 season. The 49ers became the third team in Super Bowl history to cough up a 10-point lead in the second half and lost to the Chiefs. Or last season’s NFC title game, when a 17-7 lead unraveled because of a dropped interception, a conservative fourth-down call and an interception on the final drive. Winner, Rams.

Another blown opportunity at a championship that's hard to forget.

“As you go back to last year, we were a couple of plays away from making it to the Super Bowl again,” wide receiver Deebo Samuel said. “What’s it really going to take for us to get there? We just have to minimize the mistakes and everybody has to be on their assignments."

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle speaks at a news conference before an NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. The 49ers are scheduled to play the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Bengals return to Kansas City for another AFC title game

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

Bengals return to Kansas City for another AFC title game

Dave Skretta, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have lost three straight games to the Cincinnati Bengals, including last year’s AFC title game, when they blew an early 21-3 lead in an overtime defeat before a sea of stunned fans inside Arrowhead Stadium.

Patrick Mahomes, who expects to lead the Chiefs against the Bengals on a sprained right ankle in Sunday night's rematch, is likewise winless against Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow, the only quarterback to have beaten him three straight times.

In other words, there's a reason the AFC North champions are imbued with a certain degree of confidence as they return to Kansas City, where the burgeoning rivals will once again determine who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl.

“Your preparation leads to confidence. That’s just what you see from Joe and all of our players,” explained the even-keeled Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who has somehow out-schemed, out-coached and gotten his team to out-execute Andy Reid and his Chiefs over the past 13 months. “So when they walk on the field on Sunday, they’re relaxed.”

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) runs against Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins (2) and defensive end Arden Key (49) during the second half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Final 4 NFL teams all feature offensive-minded head coaches

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 5 minute read Preview

Final 4 NFL teams all feature offensive-minded head coaches

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 5 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Chris Foerster had spent nearly two decades as an assistant in the NFL when he first crossed paths with Kyle Shanahan long before he became one of the NFL's most-accomplished play-callers.

Shanahan was in his third year as an offensive coordinator in the NFL when Foerster joined head coach Mike Shanahan's staff in Washington as offensive line coach in 2010 and immediately was impressed by the knowledge, creativity and teaching ability of the precocious Shanahan.

That only grew during their four years together in Washington and the past four in San Francisco where Foerster has been an assistant on Shanahan's staff.

“I’ve been amazed since I’ve worked with him and I don’t stop doing that,” Foerster said. "It’s just how he does it and it’s just his grasp on what he’s doing.”

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid talks to the media before an NFL football workout Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in the AFC championship game. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

49ers’ McCaffrey misses another practice, but vows to play

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 2 minute read Preview

49ers’ McCaffrey misses another practice, but vows to play

Josh Dubow, The Associated Press 2 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey missed his second straight practice with a calf injury but said he will be available for the NFC title game.

McCaffrey played through the calf injury during a divisional-round win over Dallas but hasn't practiced this week. When asked Thursday if there was any chance he wouldn't play on Sunday against Philadelphia, McCaffrey said “zero.”

McCaffrey said he will go through walkthroughs and go over the plays with running backs coaches Anthony Lynn and Bobby Turner even though he can't practice.

“It’s the same process for me but just lowering the physical load,” he said.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey speaks at a news conference before an NFL football practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. The 49ers are scheduled to play the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in the NFC championship game. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Rooney: Steelers’ late push led to decision to retain Canada

Will Graves, The Associated Press 4 minute read Preview

Rooney: Steelers’ late push led to decision to retain Canada

Will Graves, The Associated Press 4 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Art Rooney II wants the Pittsburgh Steelers to score more points. He's confident the partnership between offensive coordinator Matt Canada and quarterback Kenny Pickett can make it happen.

The Steelers president pointed to Pittsburgh's surge to a 9-8 finish following a 2-6 start — a surge fueled by some late-game heroics from Pickett — as proof an offense that ranked 26th in points and 23rd in yards is heading in the right direction going into 2023.

That momentum is the main reason the Steelers opted to bring Canada back for a third season.

“(Canada and Pickett) seem to work well together,” Rooney said Thursday. “You know, they built a good working relationship. To start over again with a new offensive coordinator (if we moved on), we could wind up back in the same situation again where the first half of the season you’re breaking in a new coordinator.”

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

FILE - Pittsburgh Steelers' president Art Rooney II addresses the crowd during the jersey retirement ceremony of Franco Harris during halftime of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Pittsburgh. Art Rooney II wants the Pittsburgh Steelers to score more points. He's confident the partnership between offensive coordinator Matt Canada and quarterback Kenny Pickett can make it happen. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko, File)

Roughriders re-sign American defensive back Clark to one-year contract extension

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Preview

Roughriders re-sign American defensive back Clark to one-year contract extension

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

REGINA - The Saskatchewan Roughriders re-signed American defensive back Jeremy Clark to a one-year contract extension Thursday.

Clark was slated to become a free agent Feb. 14.

The six-foot-three, 220-pound Clark had 30 tackles (one for a loss), two special-teams tackles, a forced fumble in a career-high 17 regular-season starts last year.

He appeared in five games with the club in 2021.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

B.C. Lions' Dominique Rhymes (19) has the ball drop between his hands as he fails to make the reception while Saskatchewan Roughriders' Jeremy Clark (37) defends during the second half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Friday, August 26, 2022. The Roughriders re-signed Clark to a one-year contract extension Thursday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

American defensive back Brad Muhammad signs with Calgary Stampeders

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Preview

American defensive back Brad Muhammad signs with Calgary Stampeders

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

CALGARY - American defensive back Brad Muhammad re-signed with the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday.

Muhammad, 27, was slated to become a free agent Feb. 14.

Muhammad started 16 regular-season games last year, his first with Calgary. He had 50 tackles (one for a loss), five special-teams tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

Muhammad signed with the Stampeders after playing five games with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2021.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

B.C. Lions' Bryan Burnham, front, is tackled by Calgary Stampeders' Brad Muhammad during the first half of CFL football game in Vancouver, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Muhammad re-signed with the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Edmonton Elks sign American linebacker Nyles Morgan to two-year contract extension

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Preview

Edmonton Elks sign American linebacker Nyles Morgan to two-year contract extension

The Canadian Press 1 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Elks signed American linebacker Nyles Morgan to a two-year contract extension Thursday.

Morgan had 41 tackles in just six games last season. He also registered a special-teams tackle and forced fumble.

He recorded a team-high 66 tackles with the Elks in 2021 and was a unanimous selection as Edmonton's nominee for the CFL's top rookie honour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2023.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

B.C. Lions' Jacob Scarfone, left, is hit by Edmonton Elks' Nyles Morgan and fails to make the reception during the second half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, on Friday, November 19, 2021. The Elks signed American linebacker Morgan to a two-year contract extension Thursday.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Joe Burrow, Bengals go for 4-0 vs. KC in AFC title rematch

Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press 6 minute read Preview

Joe Burrow, Bengals go for 4-0 vs. KC in AFC title rematch

Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press 6 minute read Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

The Bengals and Chiefs have become familiar foes.

When the teams face off Sunday in Kansas City to determine the AFC champion, it’ll be their fourth meeting in 393 days and a rematch of last year’s conference title game.

The No. 1 seed Chiefs (15-3) dropped all three games, including a 27-24 loss in Cincinnati on Dec. 4. That was the same score for the Bengals’ overtime victory in Kansas City in this game last season.

The Bengals (14-4) are riding a 10-game winning streak after eliminating the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round.

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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stretches during an NFL football workout Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday in the AFC championship game. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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