The Pittsburgh Steelers want Ben Roethlisberger back next season and the star quarterback is "happy to creatively adjust his contract", according to his agent Ryan Tollner.

Roethlisberger revealed in January that he is planning to return for an 18th NFL season, ideally with the Steelers.

The 38-year-old's current deal would see him count for $41.25million against the salary cap in Pittsburgh.

As question marks remain over the two-time Super Bowl champion, Tollner provided an update on Tuesday.

"They want Ben back and will contact me soon to address his cap situation," Tollner NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala.

"As we've shared since the season ended, we are happy to creatively adjust his contract to help them build the best team possible. A year ago, Ben wasn't sure if he could throw again, but he battled back to get 12 wins and the eighth division title of his career.

"They lost steam down the stretch and that doesn't sit well for him, so the fire burns strong and there is plenty of gas in the tank."

Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2020, helping the Steelers finish the regular season with a 12-4 record that was enough to win the AFC North.  

However, after reaching 11-0 at one stage, Pittsburgh suffered a late-season slump that continued into the playoffs, as the Steelers lost 48-37 to divisional rivals the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round.  

A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Roethlisberger threw four touchdowns and 501 yards but was also picked off four times in the defeat to the Browns on January 10. 

When the Indianapolis Colts were eliminated by the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, they did not look like a team ready to take on a reclamation project.

The seventh-seeded Colts pushed a Bills team that reached the AFC Championship Game all the way before falling to a 27-24 defeat. 

Yet that exit, combined with Philip Rivers' retirement after one season, left the Colts in the empty void of quarterback purgatory, without a solution on the roster and not in a position in either free agency or the draft to find a long-term solution.

The Colts' answer to their quarterback problem was to take a chance on a player most in the NFL appeared reluctant to consider, putting faith in their head coach Frank Reich to return Carson Wentz to his MVP-calibre form of 2017.

Indianapolis sent a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional second, which can become a first if Wentz plays 75 per cent of the offensive snaps or if he plays 70 per cent of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs, to the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire the former second overall pick.

They may not have given up too much in terms of premium draft capital, yet the gamble on a quarterback who was one of the worst in football last year was one few would have advised them taking.

Is their belief in the ability of Reich, who was Wentz's offensive coordinator with the Eagles in 2017, to turn the much-maligned signal-caller's career around justified? We looked at the Stats Perform data in an attempt to answer that question.

The scale of the challenge

Eventually benched for Jalen Hurts as his relationship with then-head coach Doug Pederson reportedly deteriorated, Wentz endured the worst season of his career in 2020.

His completion percentage of 57.4 was the second-worst in the NFL among qualifying quarterbacks, Wentz drastically underperforming an expected completion percentage of 61.5.

Only Sam Darnold had a lower passer rating than Wentz's 72.8, while his adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A) average of 3.98 was last in the league.

The disparity between Wentz's numbers in that regard and those of Rivers, who was 10th with an ANY/A of 7.18, helps underline the scale of the challenge facing Reich and his staff in rehabilitating a quarterback who once looked like the future of the league.

Further illustrating the difference between Wentz and Rivers last season was their performances against the blitz. Wentz ranked 34th of 36 quarterbacks to have 50 passes against the blitz in passer rating, with Rivers in ninth.

Sacked a league-high 50 times in 2020, Wentz had 27 completions of 20 yards or more compared to 56 for Rivers, whose significant edge in big plays came despite Wentz boasting a slightly superior passer rating on throws of 21 air yards or more (70.8 to Rivers' 67.1), pointing to the large gap in explosive passes being a product of Indianapolis having superior protection, receiver performances and play-calling.

Reich's record

Before tearing his ACL in Week 13, Wentz thrived under Reich to the extent that he still finished the year second in passing touchdowns (33) and touchdown to interception ratio (4.71).

Reich's success in getting the best out of his quarterbacks has largely continued in Indianapolis since he stepped in after Josh McDaniels went back on his agreement to take over as coach.

Andrew Luck's sole season with Reich at the helm in 2018 saw him throw 39 touchdowns, second only to Patrick Mahomes, while he was fifth in red zone passer rating among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts inside the 20 and 11th in ANY/A.

Though Jacoby Brissett did not come close to replicating that kind of production after Luck's shock retirement in the 2019 preseason, the combination of Rivers and Reich produced a bounce-back year in 2020.

Rivers was ninth in red zone passer rating, throwing 17 touchdowns to just one interception, and outperformed his expected completion percentage of 66.3 by connecting on 68 per cent of his passes.

In short, when Reich has been paired with a quarterback with the skill set to challenge the league's upper echelon, success has followed.

And, though Rivers was a substantially better quarterback than Wentz in 2020, the ceiling of the Colts' offense will be higher if the partnership that produced such remarkable results in 2017 delivers the desired impact for the Colts.

The possible pay-off

While Wentz has never recaptured the magic of 2017, he has consistently been more aggressive with the football than any of the quarterbacks Reich has worked with during his time with the Colts. 

Since 2017, Wentz's air yards per attempt average has only once dipped below eight yards. That was in a 2018 campaign defined by injury issues and Wentz still had a narrow edge over Luck. Wentz (7.75) was 19th in the NFL with Luck (7.63) ending the year 20th.

Even in the low point that was last season, Wentz was fifth in air yards per attempt, Rivers was 26th.

His willingness to push the ball further downfield and the play-calling acumen of Reich resulted in Wentz finishing 2017 sixth in ANY/A, providing a clear indication of how that mix could elevate Indianapolis' attack.

Wentz also provides greater rushing upside than any of the quarterbacks Reich has had at his disposal as a head coach. Indeed, since entering the league in 2016, Wentz's 1,061 rushing yards have him sitting 11th among quarterbacks with a minimum of 500 attempts, a total that surely would have been higher had he played more than two full 16-game seasons during that span.

Of course, for Wentz's reunion with Reich to pay dividends, his accuracy must improve. In two of his three seasons in charge, Reich has had two quarterbacks who had a well-thrown percentage above 80, meaning fewer than 20 per cent of their passes were poorly thrown.

Luck had a well-thrown percentage of 82.1 in 2018 and Rivers finished 2020 on 84.2 per cent.

Wentz has only surpassed 80 per cent once in his career, marginally outdoing Luck in 2018, when he ended the year on 82.5.

However, poor throws were a common feature of Wentz's game in 2020, as evidenced by his well-thrown percentage of 68.8.

Yet the fact he delivered slightly fewer poor throws than Luck in the former number one overall pick's Comeback Player of the Year season is testament to the talent Wentz possesses and the level of play of which he is capable.

Reich has had the most success at harnessing Wentz's best. If he can do so again in 2020, it would give the Colts a more dynamic downfield attack and potentially a more diverse offense that emphasises what Wentz can do with his legs.

For a Colts team that was on the cusp of knocking off an AFC heavyweight, the price they paid for a quarterback who represented extremely damaged goods will prove a bargain should Reich's repair job whip Wentz back into 2017 shape.

Carson Wentz is heading to the Indianapolis Colts after the team struck a deal to trade for him from the Philadelphia Eagles.

The quarterback, who was benched for Jalen Hurts towards the end of a miserable 4-11-1 season for the Eagles, is poised to join the Colts, according to widespread reports.

Indianapolis will give the Eagles a 2021 third-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 selection in exchange.

The pick in 2022 is provisionally a second-rounder, but can increase to a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75 per cent of the snaps next season.

It could also convert to a first if Wentz leads the Colts to the playoffs while playing in 70 per cent of snaps.

Wentz will be reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who spent the QB's first two years in the NFL as the Eagles' Offensive Coordinator, with impressive results.

The 2017 season, Wentz's second in the NFL, saw him produce MVP-calibre form and throw for a franchise record 33 TDs before going down with injury and famously being replaced by Nick Foles, who took the team to Super Bowl glory.

Wentz signed a four-year, $128 million contract ahead of the 2019 season.

But he has struggled to replicate his early career form, culminating in the Eagles drafting Hurts in the second-round last year and benching Wentz after Week 13.

The 28-year-old averaged 218.3 yards per game last season, the lowest mark of his career, and threw a career-high 15 interceptions in 12 games.

Philip Rivers' retirement had left the Colts seeking a new QB to lead a roster that appears ready to contend in the postseason.

They narrowly lost to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round in 2020 after going 11-5.

Wentz is the latest domino to fall in what is proving to be another dramatic offseason on the QB market.

Jared Goff was the number one overall pick in 2016 - one spot ahead of Wentz - but was recently traded by the Los Angeles Rams to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford and draft picks.

Question marks remain over the future of Deshaun Watson with the Houston Texans and Dak Prescott is still unsigned by the Dallas Cowboys. 

Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence – billed as a generational talent – leads a star-studded crop of QBs in the draft.

There are suggestions Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields could go 1-2-3 in the draft.

Wentz had also been connected with the Chicago Bears, who now continue their search for a 2021 starter.

Ben Roethlisberger may want to carry on playing but it remains unclear if the veteran quarterback will be back with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

Roethlisberger revealed in January that he is planning to return for an 18th NFL season, ideally with the Steelers. Such is his desire to stay with the franchise, the 38-year-old confirmed a willingness to restructure his contract.  

That current deal would see him count for $41.25million against the salary cap – a number that may be too high for Pittsburgh's taste. 

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, general manager Kevin Colbert said Roethlisberger could yet continue with the franchise, though stopped short of making any commitment to a player they selected with the 11th pick in the 2004 draft. 

"As we sit here today, Ben is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers," Colbert said, according to ESPN reporter Brooke Pryor. 

"He reiterated to us that he wants to continue to play. We told him we have to look at this current situation." 

Roethlisberger threw for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2020, helping the Steelers finish the regular season with a 12-4 record that was enough to win the AFC North.  

However, after reaching 11-0 at one stage, they suffered a late-season slump that continued into the playoffs, as they lost 48-37 to divisional rivals the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round.  

"Ben Roethlisberger did a lot of really good things last year. We anticipate that he could still do really good things going forward," Colbert continued.  

"Hopefully we can figure out how to do what's best for the organisation and for Ben. Hopefully he'll be able to see that." 

Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin had said it was "reasonable to assume there is a chance" of Roethlisberger returning for another campaign following the surprising postseason exit.  

A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Roethlisberger threw four touchdowns and 501 yards but was also picked off four times in the defeat to the Browns on January 10. 

Former San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Vincent Jackson has died aged 38.

Jackson – a three-time NFL Pro Bowler – was found dead in a Tampa-area hotel room on Monday, according to local authorities.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the 38-year-old Jackson had been staying at the Homewood Suites since checking into the hotel in Brandon, Florida on January 11 before being found dead at approximately 11:30 (local time) Monday.

The sheriff's office had just spoken with Jackson at the hotel on February 12. one day after his family filed a formal missing person's report. The authorities cancelled the report after assessing Jackson's well-being.

Jackson was found by a housekeeper, and there were no signs of trauma, according to the sheriff's office.

"My heart aches for the many loved ones Vincent Jackson leaves behind, from his wife and children to the Buccaneers nation that adored him," Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement.

"Mr. Jackson was a devoted man who put his family and community above everything else. Football aside, he touched countless lives through his Jackson In Action 83 Foundation.

"We shared a passion for supporting military families, and three years ago, Jackson was even made an honorary deputy by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to recognise his dedication to the community.

"He will be sorely missed by not only football fans across the country, but also the people here in Hillsborough County who reaped the benefits of his generous contributions."

Jackson spent 12 seasons in the NFL from 2005-16, playing his first seven with the Chargers before enjoying his final five with the Buccaneers.

He earned trips to the Pro Bowl in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and finished his career with 9,080 receiving yards and 57 touchdowns.

Jackson ranks fourth in Buccaneers franchise history with 4,326 receiving yards and 10th on the all-time Chargers list with 4,754 yards receiving.

The Chargers said: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by news of Vincent Jackson's sudden passing. Vincent was a fan favourite not only for his Pro Bowl play on the field but for the impact he made on the community off of it.

"The work he has done on behalf of military families through his foundation in the years since his retirement has been an inspiration to all of us.

"We simply cannot believe he's gone, and our hearts go out to his wife, Lindsey, their children, his parents, former team-mates and everyone whose lives were touched by having known Vincent."

Trevor Lawrence is confident the timeline for his recovery from surgery on a torn labrum will allow him to be back in time for his first NFL training camp.

Lawrence had a pro day at Clemson on Friday in which he threw for NFL teams ahead of April's draft, in which he is considered a lock to go number one to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He put himself through that workout, attended by Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer, despite a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Lawrence is now set to have surgery to correct that issue, but the prospect who is viewed by many as the best quarterback to come out of college since Andrew Luck in 2012 appears to have no concerns about being ready for training camp in July.

"Obviously, I've got to still continue talking to the doctors and see how the rehab goes, but I think I can throw in six-to-eight weeks after the surgery," he told ESPN. 

"And then looking at a four-to-five-month full clearance. But obviously, I'll be able to do stuff before then.

"But I'm just glad it's my non-throwing shoulder, so shouldn't be too bad. Just got to rehab really hard and work hard to get back.

"But I'm just excited to get that fixed and start that road to getting healthy."

Asked for his thoughts on his pro day, Lawrence replied: "I was pretty pleased with it.

"Obviously, like anything, you have some throws that you wish you could go back and hit a little bit better. But as a whole, I think it was a good day."

Cal McNair still expects Deshaun Watson to remain the Houston Texans' quarterback despite continued talk over a potential blockbuster trade.

The Texans have been steadfast in their desire not to grant Watson's trade request, which came about as a result of frustration at the direction of the franchise and his lack of input in their search for a new head coach. David Culley eventually replaced Bill O'Brien.

However, the speculation has not died down and on Friday came reports that Watson has a list of teams by which he is intrigued.

The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos are said to be on that list, along with the Miami Dolphins.

These latest reports came on the day that the Texans released three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, whom CEO McNair described as "unlike any player in our franchise’s history".

Asked about Watson by ESPN's Adam Schefter, McNair said: "There is a lot of misinformation out there, I'll leave it at that."

He added: "Today we want to focus on J.J. Deshaun. He is our quarterback, he is a Texan, and we expect him to remain a Texan. We'll leave it at that."

Watson, the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft, led the league in passing yards last season with 4,823.

He also averaged a league-high 8.9 yards-per-pass attempt, throwing a career-high 33 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

J.J. Watt's brilliant 10-year run with the Houston Texans has come to an end after the team released the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Friday. 

The decision came at Watt's request and continues an offseason of tremendous turmoil and upheaval for the Texans franchise.

The star defensive lineman, who turns 32 in March, had one year remaining on his contract and did not wish to be part of an extensive rebuild coming to a team that finished 4-12 in 2020. 

"The connection I have with the people of Houston is special, and I will never take that for granted because I know how rare it is. I just want you to know to know that I love you and I appreciate you," Watt told Texans fans in a social media message.

"I want to thank the McNair family for drafting me and giving me my first opportunity in the NFL.

"Thank you, Houston."

Watt had spent his entire NFL career with Houston after being selected by the Texans with the 10th overall pick of the 2011 draft, and his 101 sacks and 172 tackles for loss are far and away the most in team history. 

"Simply put, there has been no person in the past decade who has made a greater impact on the Texans organisation than J.J. Watt," Texans co-founder and Senior Chair Janice S. McNair said in a statement. "J.J.'s dominance on the field was unprecedented and resulted in countless moments that will go down in Texans history."

Watt earned his first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in his second season after recording a league-leading 20.5 sacks in 2012. He matched that total in 2014 while being named the NFL's top defender that season as well, then repeated the honour in 2015 after again leading the league with 17.5 sacks.

Injuries have lessened Watt's impact in recent years, however. He was limited to three games in 2016 by a herniated disc that required back surgery, and five in 2017 by a fractured left leg. The five-time first team All-Pro rebounded the following season with 16 sacks in 16 games, but missed eight games in 2019 after tearing his pectoral muscle.

Watt returned to play in all 16 games this past season and logged 52 tackles, five sacks and one interception.

The Wisconsin native is also renowned and lauded for his extensive charitable efforts in the Houston community. Watt was named the NFL's Man of the Year in 2017 after he raised over $40million through a social media fundraising effort to assist the city after it was struck by Hurricane Harvey.  

"Change is never easy, especially when it involves the ones you love. J.J.'s impact on not only our organisation, but the entire Houston community, is unlike any player in our franchise's history," Texans CEO Cal McNair said.

"I told J.J. earlier this week that we will forever consider him a Texan. We take solace in knowing that this is not a goodbye but a 'see you soon'." 

Change has been rampant within the Texans' ranks ever since McNair fired coach and general manager Bill O'Brien in October following an 0-4 start. 

Houston hired former Patriots executive Nick Caserio to fill the GM role in January and tabbed ex-Ravens assistant David Culley to be their new head coach, though both moves were not without controversy. 

Deshaun Watson's lack of involvement in the hiring processes prompted the star quarterback to issue a trade request, and longtime team president Jamey Rootes resigned earlier this week to pursue outside opportunities.  

Matthew Stafford is excited to join the Los Angeles Rams, but he expected to end up playing with the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers or Washington Football Team in 2021.

The 33-year-old quarterback left the Detroit Lions in a trade after representing the team for 12 years, with the Rams sending QB Jared Goff and a package of draft picks that contained two first-round selections in the other direction.

Stafford and the Lions agreed it was the best move as the team embarked on a rebuild after firing head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn towards the end of a 5-11 season in 2020.

The number one overall pick in 2009, Stafford leaves the Lions without having won a playoff game.

He hopes the chance to represent the Rams, who were in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2018 season, will give him a chance to play in the biggest NFL games.

Stafford should upgrade the QB position for Rams coach Sean McVay, but he was not expecting to join the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey in LA when his offseason began.

"I've always wanted to play in those big games," Stafford said to the Detroit Free Press. "I feel like I will excel in those situations. I wanted to shoot my shot.

"I thought [I would go to] all the places that everybody else thought. Indianapolis. San Francisco - although you didn't know what was gonna happen with Jimmy [Garoppolo] - Washington.

"But we obviously didn't know what was gonna happen there. I just didn't know how they [the Rams] would ever be able to [pull it off]. You know, I'm not a salary cap guru. It kind of got to a point where I'm like, 'OK, I can't sit there and go crazy'. I just tried to let it happen and LA aggressively jumped into it.

"I'm excited about their roster, their coaching staff, what they can bring to the table and their recent success."

Stafford initially thought he would never leave Detroit, but he came to realise a rebuild could be on the cards if the 2020 season did not meet expectations as the pressure grew on Patricia.

"To be honest, [my wife] Kelly and I probably started talking about it before last season," he said. "It was one of those where we were hoping, 'Golly, let's go, I hope this thing takes off and we play great'.

"But if it doesn't, you just knew what was going to happen. They were going to tear it down and rebuild.

"Anytime you switch GMs and a head coach, you know that they're going to want to bring their own people in, and that's going to take time. Frankly, I didn't feel like I was the appropriate person to oversee that time."

Stafford thought his ability would hinder the Lions' rebuild as he would win too many games to prevent them from topping the draft order.

He leaves with 45,109 passing yards, 282 touchdowns, 144 interceptions and 74 wins – all franchise QB records.

Stafford finishes with a record of 74-90-1, though, and with no NFC North titles after enduring three consecutive losing seasons between 2018 and 2020.

He added: "Sometimes it's not the perfect storybook ending in the same place, but I can leave here knowing that I gave this team every damn thing I had."

Taylor Heinicke has re-signed with Washington for two years after the stand-in quarterback impressed in the team's losing playoff bid.

The 27-year-old has penned an extension worth a reported $8.75 million, marking a remarkable turnaround for a man whose NFL career looked to be heading for an early finish.

Heinicke stepped in after Alex Smith, who steered Washington to the divisional title in Week 17, failed to overcome a calf injury in time to start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He threw for 306 yards and a touchdown, as well as rushing for 46 yards and a further score, in a 31-23 playoff defeat for the NFC East champions to the Bucs.

Having been set for restricted free agency, Heinicke was delighted to be given a new lease of life.

"It's a good feeling," Heinicke, who is studying for an engineering degree, told Washington's website.

"Everyone knows I was at home taking math classes...so for this contact to come, it's a big sigh of relief.

"I'm really excited. This is the place I wanted to be, so everything came together pretty smoothly, and I'm really excited to be back."

It's no secret that Super Bowl windows in the NFL can be notoriously short. Teams that appear poised for a prolonged stay in the ranks of contenders are frequently dismantled and can fall back to the pack within a blink.

In no offseason has the fleeting nature of the opportunities to contend for a championship loomed larger than in the one the 32 teams are about to experience.

The economic pressures of a season in which the in-person audience for most games consisted of coaching staffs, officials and cardboard cut-outs mean NFL franchises will not have the same level of financial flexibility they have experienced in previous years.

With the year-on-year rise in the salary cap, which is expected to drop from $198.2million to around $180m, grinding to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, front offices around the league will have more complex calculations to make when it comes to re-signing their own free agents and attempting to lure others.

Considering those mitigating circumstances, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' successful gamble to go all-in with a talented roster and bring in Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown - all of whom were responsible for scores in their 31-9 demolition of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, looks increasingly astute.

The Bucs have the luxury of having the championship grace period. Their job, in respect of ending an 18-year wait for a second Super Bowl, is done, and the challenge of immediately winning a third may be complicated by the amount of pending free agents they have on their roster.

Star edge rusher Shaquil Barrett is set to hit the open market, as is linebacker Lavonte David and wide receiver Chris Godwin. They may also have to reconcile themselves with losing one of Gronkowski, Fournette or Brown.

Tampa have just over $38m in available cap space, and head coach Bruce Arians is confident general manager Jason Licht can keep the core together.

"I'm very, very confident," he told reporters on Monday. "I have all the trust in the world in Jason and what he will do. "These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved, but I think this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don't matter.

"But we're going to do everything we can to get the dollars right, too, because they earned it."

Even if Licht succeeds in doing so, the 2021 season looks likely to be the last in which the Bucs have the bulk of their championship roster and the coaching staff.

Both offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles thrust themselves into the spotlight as potential head coach candidates with excellent gameplans for which the Chiefs had no answers.

Leftwich, who came into the league as a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars three years after Brady, has taken time to get on the same page as the now seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.

Yet the precision and efficiency with which Brady moved the ball against the Chiefs was illustrative of an offensive plan perfectly suited to the signal-caller, with Arians heaping praise on Leftwich in Monday's media conference.

"I thought Byron had a great plan, I can't give him enough credit. Byron is a superstar," said Arians. "He had a great plan, we were going to run the football and we were going to max protect and get into one-on-ones. Tom did a great job of getting out of bad plays and getting some good plays. Can't say enough about the gameplan.

"All three phases, Byron, Todd, Keith [Tandy, defensive assistant] they all did such a great job, but Byron's gameplan was outstanding."

It was a plan that enabled Brady to avoid a single turnover for just the second time in 10 Super Bowl appearances, the other coming in his first experience of the grandest stage - Super Bowl XXXVI in the 2001 season.

Leftwich's offense was especially effective in the congested area inside the Chiefs' 20-yard line. The Buccaneers scored on three of their five red-zone trips, while the Chiefs did not find the endzone on any of their three visits inside the Bucs' 20-yard line.

Brady and Leftwich were aided by the brilliance of Bowles' defense, which brutally exposed the deficiencies of an injury-hit Chiefs offensive line to the tune of 33 total pressures.

Bowles was unsuccessful in his first spell as a head coach, which came with the New York Jets.

However, the manner in which he and his defense tore apart the Chiefs' best-laid plans on offense with pressure from the front four and intelligently crafted blitzes should have him in the mix for a second chance.

The Bucs are fortunate that all head coach vacancies for this hiring cycle have been filled but, should Tampa Bay follow up their 2020 glory with another strong season in 2021, both Leftwich and Bowles could be targets for rival franchises.

Arians could avoid a scenario in which the Bucs lose both next year by stepping aside and allowing one to take his place at the end of the 2021 season. Yet retirement does not appear to be in Arians' immediate plans and, though the pressure to end a championship drought has been relieved, the potential future departures of Leftwich and Bowles increase the onus on Licht to ensure this specific staff can have one more run with the Bucs' championship core.

Marty Schottenheimer, the coach with the eighth highest number of wins in NFL history, has died at died at the age of 77.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, and died on Monday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, his family said in a statement.

Known for his passionate pre-game speeches and a smash-mouth brand of football that spawned the term 'Martyball', Schottenheimer went 200-126-1 in regular-season games from 1984 to 2006 while coaching the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, and the then Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers.

Current Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said: "My heart goes out to the Schottenheimer family. Marty was a friend and someone I admired greatly.

"He was an outstanding mentor to me as a young football coach, and one of the most passionate coaches I've ever been around. He did things the right way. He was great for the league and really revived this franchise during his time here. I'm honoured I had a chance to get to know him and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time."

Schottenheimer's coaching career began in Cleveland in 1984, and two seasons later he led the franchise to the first of back-to-back appearances in the AFC Championship Game. Both times, however, they lost to the Denver Broncos, and both times in heartbreaking fashion.

Postseason shortcomings will forever be associated with Schottenheimer, who was just 5-13 in the playoffs.

After mutually agreeing to leave the Browns following the 1988 season, he coached the Chiefs from 1989-98 and led Kansas City to six consecutive playoff berths from 1990-95, but his teams only won postseason games in two of those seasons.

He then spent one season with the team now known as the Washington Football Team, going 8-8 in 2001, before coaching the Chargers from 2002-06, where he once again enjoyed some regular-season success without a single playoff win to show for it.

In 2006, his Chargers were 14-2 and had the AFC’s top seed but lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 24-21 in the divisional round. A month after that defeat he was fired.

In his 21 seasons as coach, his teams won 10 or more games 11 times – including five seasons with 12 or more victories – but he never made it to the Super Bowl.

LeBron James was inspired by Tom Brady's latest Super Bowl achievement, but the Los Angeles Lakers star has no timetable regarding how much longer he plans to play in the NBA.

At the age of 43, Brady – considered by many as the greatest of all time – won a seventh ring after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV glory against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It means the superstar quarterback now has more rings than any NFL franchise and was particularly impressive given it was his first season with Tampa after a golden era playing for the New England Patriots.

James himself continues to dominate in the twilight years of his NBA career, and recorded a sublime triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers earned a 119-112 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

Asked about Brady and his own career, James replied: "I mean he's one of the GOATs. 

"I've been watching him my whole life, or it seems like my whole life. I've been watching him 20 years now or however long he's been in the NFL. 

"I watched him when he was in Michigan, watched him quite a while now, just to see him go out and see the things he's done in his career, for him to win another one in the fashion that he won it was pretty cool. 

"It was very inspiring for a guy like myself. But it's two different sports, two different positions. I don't know how long I'll play the game, how much more I'll be able to give to the game. 

"But the way I feel right now, we'll see what happens. I have no timetable on it. I don't have no year of 30-this or 40-that. The game will let me know, we'll figure it out then."

The Lakers' win over the Thunder came just two days after the double-overtime triumph over the Detroit Pistons, following which James joked "my heart's not sustainable for two overtimes".

"It needed overtime in order for us to win this game," James added. "We did enough things to close in regulation but they forced us to take another five minutes. 

"I'm good with one! I get home a little earlier, my heart don't feel as bad it did the other night."

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