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AFC North and NFL Roundup: Week of Dec. 31-Jan. 4


Friday, Jan. 4

!Haley Granted Permission To Interview In Arizona Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley has been granted permission to interview with the Arizona Cardinals about their head coaching vacancy. Haley has spent one year in Pittsburgh after working as the Kansas City Chiefs head coach.  [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Kelly Wants To Move Quickly**
Oregon Coach Chip Kelly has drawn interest from a number of NFL teams about head coach opening, and he announced after last night's Fiesta Bowl victory that he wants the process to get "wrapped up quickly." Kelly has talked with the Browns and is reportedly the team's top candidate.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Green-Ellis Ready To Carry Workload
Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis says that he's ready to carry the workload heading into the postseason.  The veteran running back is no stranger to the playoffs from his time with the New England Patriots, and he's taking that experience with him into this year's postseason. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**O'Brien Stayinig At Penn State**
Penn State Head Coach Bill O'Brien has decided to stay at Penn State, despite fielding interest from a number of suitors for NFL head coaching vacancies. The former New England offensive coordinator interviewed with the Cleveland Browns this week, but ultimately decided to remain at Penn State. [] Thursday, Jan. 3

!Lewis Wants Starter Money Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he's hoping to get a contract worth "starter money" on the market. He established himself as a starting cornerback this season and he's expecting that the pay off for him as a free agent.  [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Browns Interview Whisenhunt**
The Cleveland Browns are conducting their coaching search, and Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner reportedly interviewed former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt yesterday. Whisenhunt was a former assistant coach for the Browns in 1999 and also was an offensive coordinator for three years with the Steelers. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Must Improve Run Defense 
A priority for the Cincinnati Bengals under Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer is to first and foremost stop the run. In the Bengals last two playoff games, that's exactly what hasn't happened for Cincinnati. As the Bengals prepare for the Texans this week, stopping the run is once again a priority and something the Bengals will have to do to come out with a win. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Chiefs Interviewing Reid For Job**
The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for a new head coach, and one of the candidates they are considering is former Eagles coach Andy Reid. He is one of the top coaching candidates on the market this offseason, and is drawing interest from a number of suitors. [] Wednesday, Jan. 2

!Tomlin Backs LeBeau The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up the season last week and in his end-of-the-year press conference, Head Coach Mike Tomlin backed longtime Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Steelers defense did not perform up to task down the stretch, but Tomlin said that LeBeau's job wasn't on the line. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Browns Reportedly Want Chip Kelly**
The Browns are in the process of another coaching search, and the new ownership reportedly has its sights set on Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. The offensive guru is expected to draw interest from a number of NFL teams, and the Browns are reportedly going to make a hard push for him. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Hope Green-Ellis Can Play 
The Cincinnati Bengals are hopefully that running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is healthy enough to play and be effective when the Bengals take on the Houston Texans in a wild-card game this weekend. The veteran running back tweaked his hamstring during pregame warm-ups for Sunday's game against the Ravens and sat out that contest.  [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Vick Blasts Eagles After Reid Fired**
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick criticized his teammates after the Eagles parted ways with longtime Head Coach Andy Reid this week. Vick said it's frustrated to play with a group of players who don't try to improve themselves week after week. [] Monday, Dec. 30

!Steelers Finish Season On Winning Note The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up the regular season with a 24-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, bringing their record to 8-8 on the year. The Steelers missed the playoffs, but they avoided their first losing season in nine years. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

!**Browns Fire Shurmur, Heckert**
The Cleveland Browns have parted ways with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert. Both men were fired Monday morning after the Browns lost to the Steelers Sunday, bringing them to 5-11 on the season. The Browns are expected to immediately begin a search for a new head coach and GM.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Bengals Top Ravens In Finale 
The Cincinnati Bengals topped the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, ending a streak of four straight losses to the division rival. The Ravens rested their starters in the contest, while the Bengals kept their starting defense on the field for most of the contest.  [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Peterson Carries Vikings To Victory**
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson carried his team to a win over the Green Bay Packers, which put the Vikings in the playoffs. The dynamic running back finished with 199 rushing yards on the day, which put him just nine yards behind Eric Dickerson for the single season rushing record.  []

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