AFC North and NFL Roundup: Week of Jan. 14-20


Friday, Jan. 18

!Roster Shake-Up Coming
The Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to shake up the roster this offseason, and General Manager Kevin Colbert will begin making those changes soon. As part of the changes veterans will be released and free agents will leave without offers. Overall, the roster could have a much different feel next season. [Pittsburgh Tribune]

!**Lombardi Hired As Browns VP of Player Personnel**
The Browns have hired NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi as the Browns top personnel executive, the team announced Friday. Lombardi worked  with the Browns previously and also worked with Browns CEO Joe Banner in Philadelphia to help run the draft. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Whitworth To Make First Pro Bowl Trip
Cincinnati Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth has developed into one of the best offensive linemen in the game, and he will be rewarded with his first trip to the Pro Bowl next weekend. He was added to the  AFC roster this week, replacing Denver's Ryan Clady who has to pull out of the game due to injury. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Vilma's Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed**
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma had his defamation lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dismissed Thursday. U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan in New Orleans ruled in favor of Goodell's motion to dismiss Vilma's complaint, which related to him getting suspended for the Saints Bountygate scandal. [] Tuesday, Jan. 15

!Line Expected To Be Rebuilt
One area the Pittsburgh Steelers will look to address in the offseason is the offensive line, which struggled at times during the season. Pittsburgh did spend their top two draft picks on the line last year, but those picks on David DeCastro and Mike Adams failed to pay dividends as both dealt with injury. [Pittsburgh Tribune]

!**Browns Sell Stadium Naming Rights**
The Cleveland Browns sold the naming right to their stadium to FirstEnergy Corp., a local energy company based in Akron, Ohio. Since the Browns returned in 1999, the team's stadium has not had a corporate sponsor and has been called Cleveland Browns Stadium. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Jackson Interviews For Panthers OC Job
Cincinnati Bengals Assistant Coach Hue Jackson has interviewed with the Carolina Panthers for their open offensive coordinator job, according to reports. The spot opened up when Rob Chudzkinski left Carolina to take the Browns head coaching job. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**McCoy In As Chargers Head Coach**
The Atlanta Falcons blew a late lead, but were still able to take down the Seahawks 30-28 to The San Diego Chargers have hired Denver Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy to be their new head coach. He will replace Norv Turner, who went 7-9 this season and missed the playoffs  for the third straight season.  [] Monday, Jan. 14

!Bettis A Hall of Fame Finalist
Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis is once again a finalist for the Hall of Fame. This is the third consecutive season that Bettis had been among the 15 finalists, as he has made this point each year since he was eligible. [Pittsburgh Tribune]

!**Chudzinski Targeting Pagano**
New Cleveland Browns Head Coach Rob Chudzinski is reportedly targeting Chargers Defensive Coordinator John Pagano for the same position in Cleveland. Chudzinski already has interest in Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator, and now he's hoping to Pagano in Cleveland as well. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

!Gruden Meeting With More Teams
Jay Gruden's cross-country tour of interviewing for head coaching jobs continued through the weekend. The Bengals offensive coordinator has reportedly met with the Jaguars, Chargers, Cardinals and Eagles. Gruden is one of the hottest names to land one of the head coaching vacancies this offseason. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

!**Falcons, 49ers To Meet In NFC Championship**
The Atlanta Falcons blew a late lead, but were still able to take down the Seahawks 30-28 to advance to the NFC championship. The 49ers also took down the Green Bay Packers, setting up an NFC championship next Sunday in Atlanta. []

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