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Rams Organization Fires Head Coach Spagnuolo, GM Devaney

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Following a 34-27 loss to San Francisco today in their final game of the season, the Rams organization have decided to fire head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney after the team finished the 2011-12 NFL season with a 2-14 record, including a 0-6 record in the NFC West.

Devaney addresses the media during a press conference. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

 

 

Devaney started off with the organization back in 2008 when he served as vice president of pro personnel and was promoted to general manager late in the year. He would make the decision to hire Steve Spagnuolo as head coach, bringing him over from the New York Giants, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2007-08. Spagnuolo decided to take the job with the Rams after having time to consider offers from the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

 

 

This was only the beginning of the changes coming to the Rams front office during Devaney’s time there, which includes the controversial decision of hiring former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator, who was formerly served in that position for the New England Patriots. He would also hire Ken Flajole as defensive coordinator.

 

 

Spagnuolo’s first season as head coach during the 2009-2010 season would not be a successful one, finishing the season 1-15. The team didn’t perform well, as the team was in rebuilding and there were several players out with injuries, including running back Steven Jackson and defensive end Chris Long. This would give the Rams the very first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, in which they drafted quarterback Sam Bradford from the University of Oklahoma.

 

 

Spagnuolo coaching the Rams during a practice session. (Image via Wikipedia)

After some wise playmaking from Spagnuolo and staff, the Rams would be in the race to win the NFC West divisional berth with only seven wins, but would fall short of the 2010-11 NFL postseason after losing to the Seattle Seahawks, who also finished the regular season at 7-9. Bradford would become Offensive Rookie Of The Year for the season, finishing with a 60% completion percentage, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

 

 

The 2011-12 season would not turn out well, as Bradford was out with hand and ankle injuries for most of the season, as Kellen Clemens and A.J. Feeley swapped QB duties for the majority of the season. Bradford would only complete 191 passes for 2,164 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. With an offensive that appears confused and Jackson carrying most of the offensive load with some assistance from Danario Alexander and Cadillac Williams and a defense standing flat in their tracks like a deer in the headlights, the Rams couldn’t win a single game in the NFC West.

 

 

Spagnuolo will leave the Rams with a 10-38 record, while the rumors swirl around on what further fallout will come forth, whether or not McDaniels and other staff will be fired and who will be head coach for the 2012-13 season and where they sit at on their draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Perhaps this is a changing of the guard that could turn the organization around and once again become a playoff contender? Only time can tell.

 

UPDATE 10:24 AM 1/2/2012: The Rams have released their press release confirming the firings of Spagnuolo and Devaney. The search for a new head coach and general manager are underway, while the Rams have the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

 

UPDATE 4:49 PM 1/2/2012: There was a press conference held by the Rams at 3:30 PM CST, with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff addressing the firings of Spagnuolo and Devaney to the press. Former coach Dick Vermeil and former running back Marshall Faulk have been brought in as consultants in the search for a new head coach, one of which includes former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. Demoff stated that all coaching personnel, except offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, will have their contracts honored until February.

NEWS

Raiders’ Antonio Brown Threatens ESPN’s Ryan Clark

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Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown doesn’t appreciate the constant comments made by former Steelers teammate and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, and is threatening to handle it physically should he sees him.

Brown made his threat public, directed towards Clark on Twitter.

Brown is no stranger to making threats, and stirring up drama, especially on social media, and FOX Sports host Skip Bayless added his own hot take to the fire.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill Not Facing Child Abuse Charges

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Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, or his fiancee will not face charges, as the Johnson County (Kansas) District Attorney’s office has declined charges against the pair, according to ESPN.

However, there is a wrinkle as District Attorney Stephen M. Howe said that although he believes that a crime occurred, the evidence in the case doesn’t clearly establish who committed the crime.

Back on March 14th, Overland Park, Kansas officers were called to Hill’s home to investigate an alleged battery in which a juvenile was a victim, police reports indicated.

While Hill was not listed in the report, his fiancee Crystal Espinal was listed under “others involved.”

The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been investigating the alleged battery.

“This office has reviewed all the evidence compiled by these agencies and has declined to file charges against Tyreek Hill and Crystal Espinal,” Howe said on Wednesday during a news conference.

“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question. We believe a crime has occurred. However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.”

This wasn’t the first incident involving the Hill residence as officers were called to the home on March 5th to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect.

In that situation, Hill was named on the police report, but the Overland Park police closed the case three days later when prosecution was declined.

Hill could still face discipline from the NFL, such as a fine and/or suspension.

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Denver Broncos

Broncos’ Von Miller Avoids Charges for Bloody Shark Photo on Instagram

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Denver Broncos superstar linebacker Von Miller will not face charges for catching and posing with a bloody hammerhead shark back in 2018, according to documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (h/t Deadspin).

Miller came under fire for a controversial photo posted on his Instagram story last year showing him with the bloody shark.

According to Florida Law, catching and releasing in this particular scenario would be fine, as long as the shark was “immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed.”

Per TMZ Sports, Miller and the group pushed the shark back overboard after catching it, and the compilation of Miller’s Instagram story shows that process as well as the shark swimming away.

Despite that, and as Deadspin’s story points out, the picture doesn’t exactly 100% convince that the shark was “unharmed”.

According to USA Today, the boat Miller was on was called ‘Spellbound’ and the owner and operator of the boat were not as fortunate as Miller in regards to the investigation.

“Owner and operator were charged under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for fishing for sharks without the proper permit and for failure to release a shark in the manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival. A $2,000 NOVA was issued.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies hammerhead sharks as a Group 3 shark, and harvesting them in state waters can be met with a second degree misdemeanor.

In the state of Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, as determined by a judge.

Miller defended himself following the post, claiming that the shark didn’t die; “Everybody knows that I hunt and fish. It’s what I do” Miller said (h/t ESPN).

“But I also believe in conservation. I’m not just out there going crazy. We followed the rules. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

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