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Dallas Cowboys hire Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator

NFL REPORT

Monte Kiffin, 72, returns to the NFL after working for his son Lane Kiffin at USC. His Tampa Bay defenses were among NFL's best, but his USC units struggled.

January 11, 2013|Wire reports
  • Monte Kiffin earned about $1.5 million in total compensation from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
Monte Kiffin earned about $1.5 million in total compensation from July… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

The Dallas Cowboys hired former USC defensive coach Monte Kiffin as the replacement for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on Friday.

The team announced the move on its website a day after the 72-year-old former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator was at Cowboys headquarters to interview with Coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones.

Kiffin hasn't coached in the NFL since ending a 13-year run in Tampa in 2008. He spent the intervening years coaching in college with his son, Lane Kiffin, at Tennessee and USC, where he was assistant head coach for defense. He left that job after the Trojans' loss to Georgia Tech in the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl ended a disappointing 7-6 season in which the much-criticized USC defense ranked 60th in the nation, allowing 394 yards a game.

At Tampa Bay, Kiffin's defenses frequently were among the league's best, and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl with him after the 2002 season. That unit was the first in the league since the champion Chicago Bears in 1985 to lead the NFL in total defense, points allowed and interceptions.

Eagles to interview Jay Gruden

The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to meet with Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday, continuing their slow search to replace coach Andy Reid.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie, General Manager Howie Roseman and President Don Smolenski already have interviewed seven candidates since firing Reid on Dec. 31.

Gruden, younger brother of ESPN analyst and former NFL coach Jon Gruden, just finished his second season in Cincinnati. He previously served as an offensive assistant on his brother's staff in Tampa Bay from 2002-08.

Jon Gruden, who led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory in 2002, has been on top of the fans' wish list since long before Reid was fired. Former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil said this week Jon Gruden would be his choice if the decision was his, but the team hasn't expressed any interest in him or former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.

Hall of Fame finalists

Single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan is one of four first-year eligible players among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Strahan, who had 221/2 sacks in 2001 and 1411/2 in his 15-year his career with the New York Giants, is joined by offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of the Ravens, guard-tackle Larry Allen of the Cowboys and 49ers, and defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the Buccaneers and Raiders.

The other modern-era finalists are running back Jerome Bettis; receivers Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed; linebacker-defensive ends Charles Haley and Kevin Greene; guard Will Shields; defensive back Aeneas Williams; coach Bill Parcells, and former owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. of the 49ers and the late Art Modell of the Browns, who moved to Baltimore in 1996 to become the Ravens.

Etc.

Reid, hired as coach in Kansas City after his firing in Philadelphia, hired Eagles coach Doug Pederson as offensive coordinator and longtime Jets assistant Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator.

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The NFL Players Assn. said it does not plan a formal investigation into how the Washington Redskins medical staff handled quarterback Robert Griffin III's knee injury suffered during Sunday's wild-card loss to Seattle.

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Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has a sprained foot but is expected to play Sunday against Atlanta, the team said.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler Christopher Rainey's girlfriend says she was not assaulted and the state of Florida should drop the battery charge against him, according to Rainey's lawyer, Huntley Johnson.

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