Around the Nation (Jan. 22): Browns name three assistants

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

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Browns name three assistants

CLEVELAND -- New Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has hired Joe Cullen as his defensive line coach, Louie Cioffi to coach the defensive backs and Shane Steichen as offensive quality control coach.

Cullen spent the past three seasons with Jacksonville. Before joining the Jaguars, Cullen was at Idaho State and spent three seasons (2006-08) with the Detroit Lions.

Cioffi, who has 18 years of NFL experience to the Browns staff, was with Arizona the past two seasons. He played a pivotal role in the development of cornerback Patrick Peterson, a first-round pick in 2011 who had seven interceptions and led the league with five fumble recoveries last season.

Steichen joins the Browns after spending two seasons as a defensive assistant in San Diego.

Patriots' Martin victim of home invasion

AURORA, Colo. -- Police haven't identified any suspects yet in the home invasion robbery at the Colorado home of New England Patriots defensive back Derrick Martin.

Two masked men forced their way into Martin's home in the Denver suburb of Aurora on Sunday night when he was with the team at the AFC championship game.

Police spokeswoman Cassidee Carlson said Tuesday that the men held an adult woman and some children at gunpoint but wouldn't confirm whether they were members of Martin's family.

Police don't have good descriptions of the two men and aren't sure yet whether Martin was targeted.

Carlson said the men took some valuables but left other items behind. She wouldn't describe what was taken.

Martin attended Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School and played football at the University of Wyoming.

First-down line could be coming to stadiums

BALTIMORE -- Fans watching NFL games on television have grown accustomed to the imaginary yellow line that runs across the field in accord with the first-down marker.

That first-down line could become part of the in-game experience at all 32 NFL stadiums.

Alan Amron, with financial backing from former NFL player and broadcaster Pat Summerall, has developed the First Down Laser System. Amron says the system projects a first-down line across the field that can be seen in the stadium and on TV.

Amron, an entrepreneur and concept promoter, first met with the NFL in 2003 and again in 2009. There may be future meetings soon.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says, "We have not been convinced that it would work for us, but we are open to further discussion after the season."

NFL hopes to decide Pro Bowl future by April

HONOLULU -- The NFL is hoping to decide the fate of the Pro Bowl by the time it releases next season's schedule in April. And the fate of the league's all-star game will largely depend on how much effort this year's Pro Bowlers put into the game.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that the league expects players to play with the same intensity that made them Pro Bowl selections in the first place.

Commissioner Roger Goodell nearly canceled the game after uninspiring play last year, but it will be held Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu after discussions between the league and the player's union.

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman says players need to balance playing hard with avoiding injury.

Arrest in Atlanta's Georgia Dome stabbing

ATLANTA -- A 46-year-old man has been arrested in a stabbing near the Georgia Dome following the Falcons' NFC Championship game loss.

Georgia Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey says James Lewis McCoy of Villa Rica was arrested Tuesday by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority Police Department. Information on McCoy's charges was not immediately available.

Kirksey says the stabbing may have been over an argument about food during a tailgate party outside the Georgia Dome Sunday. Some initial reports indicated it came from a dispute between football fans. But Kirksey said neither McCoy nor the person stabbed attended the game.

The stabbing happened around 6:40 p.m. in a parking lot.

The 35-year-old person who was stabbed has not been identified. Authorities say he is in stable condition at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Jets' Ryan uninjured in three-car accident

NEW YORK -- Jets coach Rex Ryan was uninjured in a three-car accident in eastern Pennsylvania on Jan. 14, the team has confirmed.

Ryan was issued a warning and no citation, a team spokesman says Tuesday. No one in the other two cars was injured in the accident that occurred in Bethlehem, Pa., located about 45 minutes from the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J.

Ryan is in Mobile, Ala., for Senior Bowl practices with several members of the Jets' front office, including new general manager John Idzik, and did not comment.

The accident was first reported by Deadspin.com, which cited a source in the Bethlehem police department as saying Ryan was in his red Mustang around 6:14 p.m. when he collided with another car, which smacked into a third.

NFL lifts suspension of Saints coach Payton

NEW YORK -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton following a season-long suspension for his role in the team's bounty scandal.

The announcement comes Tuesday, a day after Payton met with Goodell. At the meeting, Payton took responsibility for the actions of his coaching staff.

Goodell says Payton has "fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension."

Payton says in a statement that he recognized mistakes were made "which led to league violations," and adds he's "excited to be back as head coach of the New Orleans Saints."

Payton, along with several coaches, the general manager and four players, was suspended in connection with the league's bounty investigation that found the club had a performance pool offering cash rewards for key plays, including big hits.

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Woman in Te'o hoax photo speaks out

NEW YORK -- The woman whose photo was used as the "face" of the Twitter account of Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend says the man allegedly behind the hoax confessed and apologized to her.

Diane O'Meara told NBC's "Today" show Tuesday that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used pictures of her without her knowledge in creating a fake woman called Lennay Kekua. Te'o asserts he was tricked into an online romance with Kekua and, until last week, did not understand he was being hoaxed.

O'Meara went to high school in California with Tuiasosopo, but she says they're not close. He called to apologize Jan. 16, the day Deadspin.com broke the hoax story, she said.

"I don't think there's anything he could say to me that would fix this," said O'Meara, a 23-year-old marketing executive in Los Angeles.

O'Meara said she had never had any contact with Te'o, and that for five years, Tuiasosopo "has literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos."

Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since the news broke. His family has said they may speak out this week.

Te'o did an off camera interview with ESPN last week and is scheduled to appear on appear with his parents on Katie Couric's syndicated talk show Thursday.

Mountain West adds football title game

DENVER -- The Mountain West will add a football championship game next season when it expands to the requisite dozen schools, which will be split into two divisions.

The league is adding Utah State and San Jose State next season.

The new football alignments will feature Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming in the Mountain Division and Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV in the West Division.

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