Football

Zorn will be gone today, source says

The Washington Redskins plan to fire coach Jim Zorn today, an official within the NFL told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The Redskins planned to make the move on the day after the end of a disappointing regular season. Washington struggled early despite a weak schedule and finished 4-12 after losing 23-20 in Sunday’s finale against the San Diego Chargers.

The dismissal of Zorn, the former Seattle Seahawks quarterback and assistant coach, has been expected for months. The front office stripped him of his play-calling duties in late October, and owner Dan Snyder has interviewed assistant coach Jerry Gray for the job, according to the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which monitors minority hiring in the NFL.

Gray’s interview was an effort to comply with the Rooney Rule, which requires that teams consider a minority candidate for the head coaching position. With the Rooney Rule satisfied, the Redskins are free to act quickly to hire a replacement for Zorn. Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is considered the favorite.

Zorn’s replacement will be Washington’s seventh coach since Snyder bought the team in 1999. Playing a substantial part in the decision will be Bruce Allen, who was hired as the general manager last month.

Zorn started 6-2 as a rookie head coach last season, but the team struggled later and finished 8-8.

Goodell: NFL looking at Colts situation

Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL will consider offering incentives to teams playing late-season games to discourage them from resting their starters for the playoffs.

Goodell said the league was sensitive to criticism of the Indianapolis Colts’ decision to use backups a week ago in a game they lost, ending their bid for a perfect season.

“It is something we’ll look at,” Goodell said Sunday. “We heard the fans loud and clear. It’s something our competition committee has looked at in the past, but we’re going to ask our competition committee to look at it again in the future. We want every game to be competitive.”

The league’s position has been that playoff-bound teams enjoy the right to rest their starters to prepare for the postseason. Goodell said he didn’t blame the Colts for their decision.

Extra points

Initial tests show that New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker tore both his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his left knee in Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans, but he is scheduled to undergo more testing today, a source told ESPN. … Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Pat White was carted off the field with a head injury Sunday after a chilling helmet-to-helmet collision with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. White moved his arms and legs and was talking before leaving the field to go to a hospital for examination. … The NFL is testing helmets and mouthpieces and is considering offseason rule changes to protect players from concussions. David Halstead of the Southern Impact Research Center is scheduled to testify at a congressional hearing today, the House Judiciary Committee’s second look at football head injuries. Witnesses also include former player Kyle Turley and Ira Casson, former co-chairman of the NFL’s concussion committee. … With his fifth catch Sunday, Indianapolis’ Dallas Clark joined Tony Gonzalez as the NFL tight ends with a 100-catch season. Clark hit the milestone making all five catches for 53 yards during the Colts’ second possession against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Gonzalez had 102 catches with Kansas City in 2004. … San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis scored his 13th touchdown with a 73-yard reception from Alex Smith. Davis, a Pro Bowl player for the first time in his career, tied Antonio Gates’ NFL record for touchdown catches by a tight end. … Buffalo receiver Terrell Owens passed Tim Brown for third on the NFL’s career yards receiving list. Owens hit 14,936 career yards receiving, 2 more than Brown had during his 17-year career.

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