Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen remains "optimistic" that quarterback Alex Smith can play again.

Smith made his first public appearance on Monday since he was carted off the field in November with a frightening leg injury.

The 34-year-old, who was seen in a suite at the Washington Wizards' home game against the Detroit Pistons sporting a brace and crutches, suffered the season-ending injury after he was sacked during the Redskins' game against the Houston Texans.

He underwent surgery on his tibia and fibula, but developed an infection from the procedure and remained in hospital for several weeks.

It is unclear if the Redskins quarterback will be able to return in time for next season and reports have said Smith may not even play again, but Smith is holding out hope.

"He's moving around and well on his way to a recovery," Allen told reporters at the Senior Bowl practice.

"It's a tough thing for him and his family. All the love and care has helped him quite a bit.

"We'll see how it goes. We're optimistic. If anyone can come back, it's Alex. I'm sure he wanted to shoot hoops at the game yesterday, but we'll see."

Allen did not say if the team were moving on and looking to add another quarterback, or whether Smith would need any other surgeries.

"We prioritise every position on the team," Allen said. "And we'll see what we get in free agency and the draft."

He added: "He's going to follow the doctor's advice and his wife's advice and we'll see what happens."

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick believes Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald is "pretty much unblockable".

The Patriots will face the Rams in the Super Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3, and Donald is expected to be a major factor in the game.

Asked what impressed him about Donald, Belichick told reporters: "Everything. He's pretty much unblockable."

Donald, a five-time Pro Bowl player and the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, tallied 59 total tackles and a league-leading 20.5 sacks in 16 regular-season games in 2018. He also forced four fumbles.

Belichick also praised the Rams' defensive line as a whole as well as the team's veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

"They're really good," Belichick said. "They've got great inside power and quickness and they've got a great edge rush. They've got a lot of good players, a lot of guys that are hard to block.

"They do a really good job. Wade always does. He's an excellent coach and he does such a great job with all of those guys there. They have a variety of players and they're all a problem."

 

Two days after losing the AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs have fired defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.

The Chiefs were beaten 37-31 in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday as Tom Brady guided the Pats to a third straight Super Bowl and their fourth in five years.

Despite entering the playoffs as the AFC's number one seed, the Chiefs' defense was statistically one of the worst in the league, ranking last in passing yards surrendered and last in average yards per rush.

On Sunday against the Patriots, Kansas City's defense allowed 524 yards from scrimmage and 36 first downs and on Tuesday it was confirmed that Sutton had been relieved of his duties.

"Bob is a good football coach and a great person," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said in a statement. "He played an integral role in the success of our team over the last six seasons.

"I've said before that change can be a good thing, for both parties, and I believe that is the case here for the Chiefs and Bob.

"This was not an easy decision, but one I feel is in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs moving forward."

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay is planning to give Todd Gurley more touches against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

The star running back received just four carries and totalled 10 yards on the ground in the Rams' 26-23 overtime win over the Saints in the NFC championship game in New Orleans on Sunday.

McVay said Gurley's playing time was not limited because of an injury.

"I for sure should've done a better job of getting Todd more involved," McVay told reporters. "Todd's healthy. He's feeling good … I've got to get him more opportunities."

Gurley said after the game he was "sorry" he did not make more of an impact.

"The whole team did its thing," Gurley said, via NFL.com. "Everybody kept me up during the game. That's why it's a team sport. This is the greatest team sport in America. It takes everybody, everybody on the team and that's what we did."

McVay said Gurley will be on the field more against New England on February 3.

"He didn't have a lot of opportunities to play much better," McVay said. "I think that's where I've got ownership in that as well and the great thing about it is he'll get a chance to make a big-time contribution and have a big-time role in our game against the Patriots."

C.J. Anderson, Gurley's backup, tallied a game-high 16 carries and 44 rushing yards in the victory over the Saints.

Gurley finished 2018 with 1,251 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He missed the last two games of the regular season because of a knee injury.

New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson will "aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies" in the wake of the infamous no-call that likely cost her team the NFC championship game.

Benson released a statement on the team's website addressing the 26-23 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

"Yesterday's result is still difficult to accept for all of us," Benson wrote. "I am thoroughly disappointed by the events that led to the outcome of yesterday's game. Getting to the Super Bowl is incredibly difficult to do and takes such an unbelievable commitment from a team and support from its fans. No team should ever be denied the opportunity to reach the title game [or simply win a game] based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field. 

"As is clear to all who watched the game, it is undeniable that our team and fans were unfairly deprived of that opportunity yesterday. I have been in touch with the NFL regarding yesterday's events and will aggressively pursue changes in NFL policies to ensure no team and fan base is ever put in a similar position again. It is a disservice to our coaches, players, employees and, most importantly, the fans who make our game possible. The NFL must always commit to providing the most basic of expectations – fairness and integrity."

New Orleans were on the wrong end of a no-call in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in their NFC Championship contest against Los Angeles.

Quarterback Drew Brees threw the ball down the sideline to wide receiver Tommylee Lewis with the score tied at 20 and the ball in the red zone. But, Lewis was knocked down by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and failed to catch the pass. Had pass interference been called, the Saints would have been able to either score a TD or run out the clock and attempt a short game-winning field goal.

The no-call sparked criticism online and a prompt phone call from coach Sean Payton to the league office immediately following the game.

"We'll probably never get over it," Payton said on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Rams will return to London next season, potentially as defending Super Bowl champions.

Drew Brees' season may be over but the veteran New Orleans Saints quarterback is not ready to throw in the towel on his 18-year career.

New England Patriots star Tom Brady was left stunned after guiding his team to a third consecutive NFL Super Bowl appearance.

There was no "arctic blast" to freeze the field at Arrowhead Stadium, but two quarterbacks nearly 20 years apart tore up the gridiron for an exciting matchup to close out Championship Sunday.

United States president Donald Trump congratulated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on advancing to the NFL Super Bowl.

Patriots superstar Brady, 41, led New England to a third consecutive Super Bowl following Sunday's thrilling 37-31 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Pats – who lost last year's decider to the Philadelphia Eagles – will contest their fourth Super Bowl in five seasons against the Los Angeles Rams on February 3.

Trump wrote via Twitter: "Congratulations to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire New England Patriots team on a great game and season.

"Will be a fantastic Super Bowl!"

Five-time Super Bowl champion Brady completed 30 of 46 passes for 348 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions away to the Chiefs in the AFC championship game.

Tom Brady led the New England Patriots into a fourth Super Bowl in five seasons after a 37-31 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said Todd Gurley's reduced role was due to the game's "flow" in the team's NFC championship victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman admitted he committed a penalty against the New Orleans Saints in their controversial 26-23 NFC championship victory.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said the NFL admitted they "blew the call" in Sunday's controversial NFC championship defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.

Jared Goff played like a veteran, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh were almost unstoppable, but in the end, the biggest play in the NFC championship game was an official's no-call.

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