Shanahan to coach Redskins

Mike Shanahan agreed Tuesday to become the coach of the Washington Redskins, the latest step in a major overhaul of a troubled franchise.

Shanahan’s decision to join the team was confirmed to The Associated Press by an official within the NFL. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the team was not commenting on its coaching search.

The Redskins announced they would hold a news conference today but did not say why.

The deal with Shanahan is for five years, the Denver Post reported on its Web site. The hire comes less than 48 hours after the Redskins fired Jim Zorn – and less than three weeks after front-office chief Vinny Cerrato resigned and quickly was replaced by general manager Bruce Allen.

All of which means that, within a month, the Redskins have gone from an organization that revolved primarily around owner Dan Snyder and yes-man Cerrato to one that includes two powerful decision-makers who are sure to wield much clout.

Allen – son of Hall of Famer and former Redskins coach George Allen – became the first person to hold the title of GM in Snyder’s decade-plus of ownership, while Shanahan is known to demand a heavy say-so in personnel decisions. He’ll have the final authority on football decisions, according to

Cushing named top rookie

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing easily won The Associated Press 2009 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league.

Cushing, the 15th overall draft choice out of Southern California, received 39 votes Tuesday, easily beating Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, who had six.

Extra points

The Chicago Bears are bringing back head coach Lovie Smith back for his seventh season. But they fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner and five other coaches on that side of the ball: Pep Hamilton (quarterbacks), Rob Boras (tight ends), Harry Hiestand (line), and assistants Luke Butkus and Charles London. … Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, one of 25 semifinalists this year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is retiring. … Buffalo Bills special-teams coordinator Bobby April has opted out of the final two years of his contract. … The New Orleans Saints put starting defensive end Charles Grant on injured reserve, ending his season. The eight-year veteran has a triceps injury. … Starting defensive end Thaddeus Gibson will pass up his final year at Ohio State to enter the NFL draft. … Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks will forgo his senior season and enter the draft.