Bill Belichick is closing in on Don Shula.
Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, won The Associated Press 2010 NFL Coach of the Year award on Wednesday, the third time Belichick has earned the honor. Belichick, who also won in 2003 and 2007, now trails only Don Shula, a four-time winner of the award.
For leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record, the best in the league, Belichick received 30 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. That easily beat Raheem Morris, who led a turnaround in Tampa Bay and got 111/2 votes.
Belichick has overseen a transition in New England to a younger team, particularly on defense. Of course, he still has Offensive Player of the Year Tom Brady at quarterback.
“I will say the foundation of the Patriots organization, which starts with Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick, has not changed since the day I arrived,” Brady said. “They have and will always do what is in the best interest of the team, and they will continue to find selfless players that love to work hard, compete and strive to be the best they can possibly be.”
REDSKINS OWNER SUES NEWSPAPER
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has sued Washington City Paper over a column he says defamed him and had anti-Semitic references.
The story entitled “The Crazy Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder,” has an altered photo of the owner with horns and a beard. The suit claims the weekly newspaper used “lies, half-truths, innuendo and anti-Semitic imagery to smear, malign, defame and slander” Snyder.
The Titans received permission to talk with Mike Mularkey, Gregg Williams and Perry Fewell as coaching candidates to replace Jeff Fisher, a source said.
Mularkey is Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, Williams is the defensive coordinator at New Orleans and Fewell, an African-American, is the Giants’ defensive coordinator. The Titans would satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule of considering a minority by interviewing Fewell, who interviewed with Cleveland and Denver earlier this year.
After the Titans received permission to talk with Williams, he later withdrew his name from consideration.
An outside labor lawyer for the NFL says the league’s owners are as single-minded right now as NHL owners were when that sport lost an entire season to a lockout. “The only other time I’ve seen owners this unified ... was in 2004-05, in hockey, where there was also complete unity,” said Bob Batterman, who worked for the NHL during its labor dispute with players. ... Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey sat out practice but still expects to play in the Super Bowl. The Steelers aren’t as optimistic about defensive end Aaron Smith. He dressed for the nearly two-hour practice but was still limited by a torn triceps. ... Juan Castillo, who spent 13 seasons as an Eagles offensive line coach and has been with the organization for 16 years, will switch over to the defensive side of the ball, and replace Sean McDermott, who was fired as defensive coordinator on Jan. 15. The team also added former Seahawks aide Howard Mudd as offensive line coach.