The Carolina Panthers have reached an agreement with Frank Reich to take over as their new head coach.

Reich, a former Panthers quarterback who started the first three games of the franchise’s inaugural season in 1995, spent four seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts before being fired nine games into the 2022 campaign.

The 61-year-old becomes the sixth permanent head coach in Panthers history and the first with an offensive background, a likely selling point for an organisation that has been marred by instability at quarterback since it last reached the playoffs in 2017.

Reich compiled a 40-33 regular-season record with Indianapolis and reached the playoffs in 2018 and 2020.

The Colts finished 9-8 in 2021 but failed to make the postseason after a stunning loss to a 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars team in the finale, and got off to a 3-5-1 start this season when Reich was dismissed on November 7.

Prior to taking over the Colts, Reich served as the offensive coordinator during the Philadelphia Eagles' 2017 championship season and was instrumental in the development of quarterback Carson Wentz, who finished third in MVP voting after throwing for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns in his second NFL campaign.

The Panthers own the number nine pick in this year's draft and are expected to strongly consider taking a young quarterback after finishing 27th in the NFL in passer rating while starting three players (Baker Mayfield, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold) at the position.

Mayfield was ultimately released in December and Darnold is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Reich fills a void created when Matt Ruhle was fired five games into the season after going 11-27 in two-plus years.

Interim coach Steve Wilks, who went 6-6 after Ruhle's ousting to move Carolina within one game of NFC South champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reportedly was a finalist for the permanent job before team owner David Tepper decided on Reich.

According to, Wilks is expected to pursue other opportunities and will not remain on staff.

The Panthers are the first of five teams that let go of head coaches during or after the 2022 season to name a replacement. The Colts, the Arizona Cardinals, the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans are still looking to fill vacancies. 

The Dallas Cowboys have confirmed the exit of six members of their staff roster, including assistant head coach Rob Davis and offensive line coach Joe Philbin.

The Texas franchise saw their NFL season come to a close in a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional round last weekend.

That has signalled the start of an offseason shuffle among head coach Mike McCarthy's ranks, with half-a-dozen faces among those who will depart the team.

Alongside Davis and Philbin, running backs coach Skip Peete, defensive assistant George Edwards, analytics coach Kyle Valero and assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett are also leaving.

"We thank these men for their hard work, dedication and contributions to the Cowboys," McCarthy issued in a statement.

"Each of them represented our team and organisation at a high, professional level with class and commitment to making our team better.

"These were difficult decisions to make because of the great respect I have for each of them as a coach and person of character, combined with the experiences we've all gone through together.

"This is the hardest part of the business, and we wish them nothing but the best."

With a 12-5 winning record in the regular season, the Cowboys finished second in the NFC East behind the Philadelphia Eagles.

They defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a resounding 31-14 Wild Card round victory to start their postseason campaign, but will now continue their wait for a first Super Bowl appearance since the 1995 season.

Former Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has been hired as the new offensive coordinator for the New York Jets.

The experienced 43-year-old, who previously worked with Jets head coach Robert Saleh at the Jacksonville Jaguars, struggled in his maiden year in Colorado.

That saw him relieved of his duties before the close of the campaign.

Now though, Hackett will head back to New York, where he will reunite with Saleh after the Jets limped to a miserable end in his sophomore season.

The Jets went 5-2 across their first seven games of 2022, but then lost all but one of their final eight to post a 7-10 losing record for the campaign.

Hackett will bring him a storied career that has seen him help lead teams to three Conference Championship games in his role as an offensive coordinator (Jaguars in 2017, Green Bay Packers in 2019 and 2020).

The move also sees him follow in the footsteps of his father Paul, who spent a stint between 2001 and 2004 with the Jets under Herm Edwards.

Under Hackett's watch as OC, the Packers led the NFL in scoring in 2020 with a 31.8 points per game average, while his 2017 Jaguars offense led for rushing yards per game at 141.

His arrival comes alongside the announcement that Keith Carter will also join the Jets as their offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

Former New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien has rejoined the team over a decade after his previous stint.

The ex-Houston Texans head coach spent five seasons as part of Bill Belichick's staff between 2007 and 2011.

During that time, he helped the Patriots to a winning record in each campaign, plus two AFC Conference Championship crowns.

Following a dismal 2022 season that saw the Patriots miss out on the playoffs with an 8-9 record, Belichick is delighted to have O'Brien back on-board.

"I am looking forward to working with Bill again," New England's head coach said. "He is an outstanding coach and an asset to our staff."

The return of O'Brien to the Patriots' staff will raise question marks over the future of Joe Judge, who succeeded Josh McDaniels following his move to the Las Vegas Raiders last year.

O'Brien joined the Patriots in 2007 as a coaching assistant, before holding various positions such as wide receivers coach and quarterbacks coach.

The 53-year-old also spent seven seasons in charge of the Texans, earning four AFC South titles during his tenure.

He also spent time with Penn State, and most recently worked as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with Alabama under Nick Saban.

Star San Francisco 49ers' running backs Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell sat out Wednesday's practice session while Deebo Samuel was limited ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCaffrey was absent with a calf contusion while Mitchell missed out with a groin issue. Samuel was set to sit out the session with an ankle injury but participated in individual drills and was later listed as limited.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said there were no guarantees that the trio would be available for Sunday's game, although he expressed confidence.

"I expect them to but there's no guarantees, especially with it being the NFC Championship Game," Shanahan told reporters.

"I think there's a better chance they'll be ready since there's nothing guaranteed after this. So, hopefully. We'll keep our fingers crossed."

On Samuel's ankle injury, Shanahan added: "It's been there for a little bit. I think it'll be alright but it concerned us enough to not let him go today."

All-Pro receiver Samuel, who had two receiving touchdowns from 56 receptions for 632 yards along with three rushing touchdowns in the regular season, was bullish that he would be available to play.

"It's just kind of sore," Samuel said. "We're just being cautious and just trying to get ready for Sunday."

Shanahan also said defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was in line to play despite his arrest on suspicion of misdemeanour domestic violence on Monday.

"We're letting the legal process take care of itself so if he's healthy, he'll play this week," Shanahan said.

The Niners take on the Eagles in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Two days after Andy Reid said Patrick Mahomes would play in Sunday's AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback reiterated his coach's sentiment.

'"AFC championship week," Mahomes said Wednesday. '"I'm ready to go."

Mahomes confirmed he would play four days after sustaining a high ankle sprain while being tackled by two Jacksonville Jaguars defenders towards the end of the first quarter of Kansas City's 27-20 divisional-round win.

He sat out Saturday's second quarter but after X-rays during the game came back negative, he returned in the second half to lead the Chiefs to a fifth straight AFC title game.

An MRI on Sunday showed no structural damage, and Mahomes said the right ankle is doing much better.

"It's doing good," he said. "I've done a few days of treatment, a few days of rehab. I'm excited to get on the practice field and kind of test it out and see where I'm at. But it's feeling good so far."

Wednesday marked the first of three practices for the Chiefs in preparation for the Bengals. Reid said Mahomes would go through a full practice without any limitations, so it appears the team is not too concerned with the injury.

Before practice, Mahomes was named a finalist for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.

The 2018 NFL MVP led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes while helping the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record.

Three of the four quarterbacks who have led their teams to their conference's championship game have been named finalists for the NFL's Most Valuable Player Award.

Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts and Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow are among the five finalists announced on Wednesday.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson were also tabbed as finalists.

Mahomes, the current betting favourite to win the honour for the second time in his career, Hurts and Jefferson are also finalists for Offensive Player of the Year along with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

The 2018 NFL MVP led the league with 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdown passes while helping the Chiefs to an AFC-best 14-3 record. Top-seeded Kansas City will host Burrow's Bengals in the conference title game on Sunday.

Hurts compiled 3,701 passing yards, 760 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 14-3 record and the NFC's No. 1 seed. Philadelphia will host a San Francisco 49ers team guided by quarterback Brock Purdy, one of three finalists for Offensive Rookie of the Year, in Sunday's conference championship.

Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 draft who has gone 7-0 since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, is joined by Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker and New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson as finalists.

San Francisco's stout defence was also represented with end Nick Bosa one of three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year. Dallas Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons, the runner-up for the award last season, and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones are also up for the honour.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was also named a finalist for NFL Coach of the Year along with the New York Giants' Brian Daboll and Jacksonville Jaguars' Doug Pederson, both of whom directed their teams to playoff appearances in their first seasons.

San Francisco garnered two other award finalists in running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. McCaffrey joins Giants running Saquon Barkley and Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith as candidates for Comeback Player of the Year, while Ryans is a finalist for Assistant Coach of the Year.

Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson are the other Assistant Coach of the Year finalists.

The Defensive Rookie of the Year award will go to either Jets cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson or Seahawks corner Tariq Woolen.

All of this season's winners will be announced at the NFL Honors event in Phoenix on February 9, three days before Super Bowl LVII will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizozna.

Voting was conducted before the start of the playoffs by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Charles Omenihu was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanour domestic violence on Monday only days out from Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The San Jose Police Department confirmed the arrest after an incident on Monday where officers were called after a woman reported her boyfriend, Omenihu, pushed her to the ground during an argument.

Omenihu was booked at the Santa Clara County jail and served with a restraining order. The 25-year-old was released after posting bail.

"Officers did not observe any visible physical injuries to the survivor, she did, however, have a complaint of pain to her arm," investigators said.

Omenihu, who played 15 snaps in Sunday's 19-12 Divisional Round Game win over the Dallas Cowboys, has been a key part of the 49ers' defensive unit in 2022, with 4.5 sacks this season – the third-most on the team.

"We are aware of the matter involving Charles Omenihu and are in the process of gathering further information," the 49ers said in a statement.

Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers says talk of him being traded by the Green Bay Packers is "all conjecture" as speculation swirls about his future.

Rodgers, 39, is mulling over his future with the Packers, who missed the 2022 playoffs.

The QB signed a three-year, $150million extension in March, but endured a difficult season where he registered the lowest QBR of his career, 39.3.

That has led to speculation he could be traded by the Packers, who will cop a $31.6m cap hit if he plays on in 2023, while Rodgers has not shut down retirement talk entirely either.

"The other ideas about trade and whatnot, that's all conjecture until I decide what I want to do going forward for myself," Rodgers told the Pat McAfee Show.

"You never know… change is a part of this business, it’s a part of life. And I think being open to it and embracing whatever that change looks like is an important part of coming to peace with whatever decision lies ahead of you.

"That’s the most important kind of peace I want to get to.

"If it means hanging it up and do that, having the peace to do that. And if I want to keep going, understanding all possibilities that are involved."

Rodgers has $59.5m guaranteed in 2023 as part his three-year extension signed in March which would make any potential trade difficult, but the quarterback said he was open to re-working his deal.

"There's a lot of teams, because of COVID, that are strapped, and you're seeing with a lot of different contracts, they're pushing more money out in deals," Rodgers said.

"They're creating void years to allow for an easier cap hit, so there would have to be some adjustments."

Rodgers threw for 3,695 yards in the 2022 season, the fewest in any of his full seasons during his career, while he had 12 interceptions, the most by him since 2008.

Carl Cheffers will lead the team of officials for Super Bowl LVII.

Cheffers is set to take charge of his third Super Bowl, having also overseen the 2016 and 2020 season finales.

Side judge Eugene Hall and back judge Dino Paganelli joined Cheffers in officiating the latter of those Super Bowls. The duo will also be overseeing their third such game.

Jeff Bergman, the line judge, previously officiated in the 2018 Super Bowl, having first officiated in the 1996 event.

Umpire Roy Ellison will also be partaking in his third Super Bowl.

Down judge Jerod Phillips, field judge John Jenkins and Mark Butterworth, the replay official, are all set to make their Super Bowl debuts.

The Kansas City Chiefs are vying with the Cincinnati Bengals for a place in the showpiece match from the AFC. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers will go up against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cheffers has history when it comes to Kansas City. In the Super Bowl two years ago, he awarded eight penalties and enforced 95 yards on the Chiefs in the first half, which were both NFL records for a Super Bowl.

The New York Giants hope to keep quarterback Daniel Jones at the franchise, general manager Joe Schoen has confirmed.

The 25-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and was non-committal when questioned by the media after the Giants' Divisional Round loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.

Jones was sacked five times in Philadelphia, but had a solid regular season, throwing 15 touchdowns and rushing for another seven in 16 games, while overall he completed a career-best 67.2 per cent of his pass attempts (317 out of 472).

Regarding his contract, Jones said on Saturday: "We will cross that bridge when we get there. I really enjoyed playing here... We will figure out where that goes, but I have nothing but love and respect for this organisation and the group of guys in the locker room."

Speaking at an end-of-season press conference on Monday, Schoen said: "We'd like Daniel to be here. He said it, there is a business side to it. But we feel like Daniel played well this season. He's done everything we've asked him to... We would like to have Daniel Jones back.

"Hopefully we can get something done with his representatives. That would be the goal, to build a team around him where he could lead us to win a Super Bowl."

Having turned down the chance to exercise the fifth-year option on Jones' rookie contract, it seems the Giants feel he has proven himself worthy and Schoen is eager to get to the negotiating table.

"It takes two. Both sides are going to have that conversation," he said. "We haven't crossed that bridge yet. There are tools at our disposal."

Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs defended his actions on Twitter after his cantankerous display towards quarterback Josh Allen in the final minutes of Sunday's 27-10 elimination loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Diggs led both teams with a game-high nine targets, but they resulted in only four catches for 35 yards – his second-lowest yardage in a game this season.

The Allen-Diggs combination is viewed as one of the league's best as Diggs finished fifth in the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards, while his 11 receiving touchdowns tied for the third-most.

Despite how well he has been fed by his quarterback this season – also enjoying the fifth-most targets (154) – Diggs was animated and demonstrative on the sideline as the Bills' season slipped away.

When asked how he felt about Diggs' actions in the heat of battle, Allen was forgiving but said sometimes the opposition defense can dictate the action.

"Guys are competitive, we don't want to lose," he said. "It's not fun losing, and it's not fun losing that way.

"It's all understood. At the end of the day, we've got to be there for each other and continue to keep pushing forward.

"I feel like sometimes there weren't that many opportunities, and again, defenses can game-plan and try to take away your number one receiver, that's just a fact of it. Those guys on the other side of the ball get paid, too.

"It's just about continuing to find a way to get [Diggs] the ball."

He added: "I've got a lot more to learn, a lot more to grow from, and I've got a long way to go."

Hours after Allen's media availability on Monday, Diggs sent out a series of tweets defending his behaviour.

"Want me to be okay with losing? Nah," he wrote. "Want me to be okay with our level of play when it's not up to the standard? Nah.

"It's easy to criticise my reaction more than the result."

Allen will be 27 by the time the 2023 season begins, and he will enter the first year of his six-year, $258million contract extension.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Diggs will not begin his four-year, $96m extension until the 2024 season, meaning they are both tied to the franchise until at least 2027 unless one is cut or traded.

Josh Allen confirmed he will not undergo offseason surgery on his troublesome elbow as he reflected on the Buffalo Bills' season after crashing out of the playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Allen suffered his elbow injury in the Bills' Week 9 loss to the New York Jets in early November, and despite trying to tough his way through it, it clearly affected his play.

The month of November was easily his worst of the season, throwing only four touchdowns with five interceptions over four games while also sporting a passer rating of 75.9 – far below the 98.8 figure he either reached or eclipsed in September, October, December and January.

Although his stats rebounded in the lead-up to and during the playoffs, Allen still appeared to be struggling with his elbow on certain throws, and he could only lead the Bills to one touchdown in the 27-10 elimination loss at home to the Bengals.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Allen acknowledged the pain in his elbow messed with his throwing mechanics but said the rehabilitation plan is simple.

"Rest and recovery is going to be really good for it," he said. "I mean, there was a period, obviously, right after, for a few weeks, where it was pretty bothersome – but again, it didn't affect me all that much.

"I just felt like maybe I was trying to throw it a little differently mechanically, had to change a few things and got away a little bit from how I'm used to throwing the ball. That's just a by-product of that.

"I think, really, two weeks ago is when I felt like I got back to mechanically what I like. Being the rotational thrower, it's very elbow prevalent, and maybe I got a little bit to more of a linear-type deal because I just couldn't really use all that much force and flicking it out there, but, again, just adapting."

When asked about what will stick with him from the 2022 season, Allen said he was proud of how his team came together during a string of traumatic events – including a deadly blizzard in Buffalo and the cardiac arrest of safety Damar Hamlin.

"The adversity that this team [has] overcome," he said. "There's a lot of stuff that happened to a football team that I don't know if it's ever happened before. 

"Just battling through that with the guys in this locker room and us trusting each other. Obviously, we want to win, make no mistake about it. But I'm proud of how this team was able to fight through some of the stuff that we went through."

That sentiment was echoed by defensive leader Von Miller, who said: "It's an honour to be a Buffalo Bill. I've never been on a team that handled as much adversity in a season."

Patrick Mahomes is set on playing in the AFC Championship Game despite his ankle injury, says Andy Reid.

Mahomes sat out the second quarter on Saturday as the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional round.

He sustained a right ankle injury while being tackled by two Jaguars defenders towards the end of the first quarter.

The MVP favourite was listed as questionable but returned for the second half and, despite struggling to move freely, helped Kansas City win 27-20 and reach the conference title game for a fifth successive season.

Mahomes said after the game he would be "good to go" when the Chiefs face the Cincinnati Bengals.

And coach Reid told reporters on Monday the 27-year-old had done "amazing things with limited time" as he looks to ensure he can feature.

"He's worked hard in the treatment and is doing okay," Reid told reporters.

"He told you guys. He mentioned to you that he's going to play. That's his mindset. Then we'll just take it day by day and see how he does.

"As far as the reps, I'll have to see how he feels as we get ready for practice."

Reid also suggested the injury is not as serious as that Mahomes suffered at the start of the 2019 season, also against the Jaguars.

Tony Pollard's exit from Sunday's Divisional playoff against the San Francisco 49ers cost the Dallas Cowboys dear.

Pollard was carted off in the closing stages of the second quarter with a low-scoring game tied at 6-6 at Levi's Stadium.

The running back did not return, and the 49ers claimed a 19-12 win as the Cowboys looked lost on offense in the second half.

Initial reports detailed a high ankle sprain for Pollard, but it has since emerged he also sustained a fracture to his left fibula that will require surgery.

Pollard would therefore have been unavailable for the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles even if the Cowboys had scraped through.

That never appeared likely without Pollard on the field at the end of a career year, however.

The 25-year-old finished the regular season with 1,007 rushing yards, the most on a Dallas team who ran on 45 per cent of plays – the seventh-highest rate in the NFL.

Pollard had nine rushing touchdowns and added a further three receiving scores from 39 catches for 371 yards.

In the Wild Card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pollard ran for 77 yards at an average of 5.1, well ahead of team-mate Ezekiel Elliott's 2.1 yards per carry.

Elliott, who had a comparatively difficult season, could not carry the load in Pollard's absence in San Francisco, finishing with the same number of yards from scrimmage (33) as the injured star despite playing the full game.

Quarterback Dak Prescott acknowledged afterwards Pollard's injury "hurt us", but the first-time Pro Bowler must now hope the serious nature of the problem is not the source of more hurt.

Pollard will become an unrestricted free agent in March, at which point he will still be rehabilitating his left leg.

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