*Lovie Smith has reached an agreement to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, sources told ESPN.
The former Chicago Bears coach will replace the booted Greg Schiano on a four-year deal, with an option for a fifth, according to sources.
Smith met with the Glazer family Tuesday and was offered the job, according to sources. Talks for a contract extended until Wednesday when a deal was reached in the evening.
*It’s “black Monday” in the NFL, the day after the season’s final game when mass firings take place. This morning, it was announced that Chicago’s Lovie Smith and Kansas City’s Romeo Crennel were among the coaches who received pink slips.
The Bears fired Smith after a 10-6 season, Tribune sources have confirmed. They started 7-1 but fell apart down the stretch, mostly because they couldn’t score.
Since Smith took over in 2004, the Bears have ranked higher than 23rd in offense only once. They have ranked 28th or lower four times.
The Kansas City Chiefs fire Crennel after a 2-14 season marked by blowout losses, fan rebellion and a murder-suicide involving one of his players.
His removal after one full season as head coach comes one day after Kansas City lost 38-3 to the Denver Broncos to match the fewest wins in franchise history.
The Chiefs’ only victories came against New Orleans and Carolina, the latter coming one day after linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend to death and then drove to the team’s practice facility and turned the gun on himself as Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli looked on.
Other “black Monday” firings include Philadelphia’s Andy Reid after 14 seasons, Buffalo’s Chan Gailey and Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur. There are also reports that San Diego are preparing to fire its coach Norv Turner.
*New Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall is denying published reports that he punched a woman in the face at a NY nightclub, reports the New York Post.
According to the paper, Marshall was outside of a Chelsea, NY club at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning when he began arguing with a group of people. He allegedly threw a punch that hit 24-year-old Christin Myles.
It’s unclear if Marshall intended to strike the woman, or if she was just in the way as Brandon was trying to hit someone else. Myles says she suffered a black eye and filed a police report the next day. She told the NY Post she was nervous about filing because of Brandon’s high profile status.
Marshall’s lawyer says the 6’4″, 230-pound athlete did not strike Myles, however, he claims Brandon’s wife was injured in a different brawl that went down at the club.
Attorney Harvey Steinberg explains, “While attempting to leave to avoid the melee, [Marshall’s wife] was struck in the face by a thrown bottle. She suffered serious injury.” He continued, “The mayhem continued outside.’’
Marshall was traded Tuesday from the Miami Dolphins to the Chicago Bears this week.
“Both the Bears and Dolphins were aware of what occurred over the weekend,” Bears General Manager Phil Emery said in a statement released by the team. “We decided to move forward with the trade. We have high expectations for Brandon as a Bear.”
*Chicago Bears wide receiver Sam Hurd is being held today on federal drug charges after allegedly attempting to purchase over a pound of cocaine from an undercover agent, and is alleged to be one of the top drug dealers in the Chicago area, reports ABC News.
Police are also reportedly in possession of a list of NFL players who were allegedly supplied with illegal drugs by Hurd. If released on bond today he will be sent to Texas, where the criminal complaint was filed, according to The Associated Press.
The list of players that Hurd allegedly supplied is “in the double-digits,” a source told Chicago’s 670 The Score.
“Sam intends to fight these charges, and we intend to defend him fully. We have complete confidence in him,” said prominent attorney David Kenner, who successfully defended rapper Snoop Dogg against a murder charge.
According to the criminal complaint, Hurd, 26, met with an undercover agent at Morton’s restaurant in Rosemont, Ill., and told the agent that he was interested in buying five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana weekly to distribute across the Chicago area. As the agent and Hurd dined on $300 worth of filet mignon, the wide receiver allegedly said that he and another person were already distributing approximately four kilos of cocaine weekly in Chicago, but needed a new supplier that could meet their demand.
Hurd allegedly told the agent that while his partner handled most of their drug deals, he was responsible for the “higher-end deals.”
Read/learn more at ABC News.
Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles is pursued by Stephen Paea #92 of the Chicago Bears at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia
*First a loss to the Chicago Bears on national television, now this.
RadarOnline.com is reporting that a woman claiming to have a “full frontal” picture of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is attempting to sell it to the highest bidder.
Vick, who has been engaged to the mother of his two children, Kijafa Frink for several years, has yet to deny that the photo exists. His rep Rick French would only say that his famous client has “better things to worry about.”
Kijafa Frink and Michael Vick
Speaking to Radar before last night’s Monday Night Football matchup, Frink said: “The only thing Mike has on his mind is his date with the Chicago Bears this evening. The rest of what this woman is claiming isn’t worth dignifying.”
The photo was taken in a Dallas hotel less than a year ago, according to the unnamed woman.
*It’s always surprising to learn about superstars who’ve flaunted in public the image of a hero, but turn out being monsters behind closed doors.
According to a new book “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton,” the Chicago Bears legendary running back abused painkillers in his retirement, eventually becoming suicidal.
According to the book, written by Jeff Pearlman, Payton mixed Tylenol and Vicodin and kept tanks of nitrous oxide in his garage. At one point he got a hold of Ritalin from a friend whose son was prescribed the drug.
An excerpt of “Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton,” by Jeff Pearlman, will appear in the Oct. 3 issue of Sports Illustrated, and describes the Hall of Famer as suicidal, abusing pain medication and dealing with a crumbling family situation.
Payton, who retired after the 1987 season as the then-all-time leading rusher in NFL history, was depressed and suicidal in the mid-1990s. Pearlman cites a letter from Payton to a friend, in which Payton said he imagined himself killing those around him and then turning a gun on himself.
The book further delves into the details of his extramarital affairs. During his induction into the Hall of Fame, both his wife and mistress attended, obligating Payton’s personal assistant, Ginny Quirk, to baby sit the grown women and keep them from basically killing each other.
The football player’s life came to an abrupt halt when he became deathly ill from a rare liver disease and bile duct cancer. He died in 1999.
“Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton” will be released Oct. 4.