January 01, 2009|By From Sun news services

Dolphins' Pennington wins comeback award


For the second time in three years, quarterback Chad Pennington won the Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. The Miami Dolphins standout is the first player in the 11 seasons of the award to win it twice. "It's pretty special," he said yesterday. This time, Pennington was coming back from being benched by the Jets last season, then discarded this past summer when New York acquired Brett Favre. Two years ago, Pennington returned from two rotator cuff operations in eight months and led the Jets to the playoffs to grab comeback honors. The Dolphins, who improved from 1-15 last season to 11-5 this season, needed to lean on Pennington not only as a passer, but also as a leader. It resulted in an AFC East championship, Miami's first since 2000. The Dolphins will host the Ravens on Sunday. Pennington received 19 of 50 votes from a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. For voting results, see For the Record below.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: : Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo was a nearly unanimous choice for the AP award, earning 49 of 50 votes. He led was the outstanding performer, leading the team in tackles, on a linebacking corps that often struggled during New England's 11-5 season. For voting results, see For the Record below.

Browns:: Owner Randy Lerner interviewed Scott Pioli, the Patriots' vice president of player personnel, to be his general manager. It is not known whether Lerner offered the job to Pioli, who has been coach Bill Belichick's right-hand man with New England for the past nine years. On Tuesday, Lerner met with fired Jets coach Eric Mangini in the New York area about his coaching vacancy. Picking up the pieces of a 4-12 season that ended with the firings of coach Romeo Crennel and GM Phil Savage, Lerner spent the final hours of 2008 meeting with the men who might take over his team. Lerner has also set up interviews with Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (Mount St. Joseph) and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Broncos: : They were best friends as much as employee and boss. Nothing told that story better than the tears in the eyes of Pat Bowlen and Mike Shanahan as they talked about their sad farewell. "This is as tough as it gets," Bowlen, the team's owner, said, his eyes moist, as he explained his day-old decision to fire the coach who finally brought the Super Bowl trophy to Denver. "These are tough decisions, but that's what leaders do," Shanahan said, also trying to choke back tears. They held separate news conferences, back-to-back. Bowlen said he fired Shanahan after 14 seasons because he believed it was time for a change.

Et cetera:: 49ers coach Mike Singletary, a former Ravens assistant, announced the firings of quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner and running backs coach Tony Nathan, also a former Ravens assistant. Singletary dismissed offensive coordinator Mike Martz on Tuesday. ... The Cowboys fired special teams coach Bruce Read, making him the first assistant ousted in the wake of a disappointing 9-7 season. ... The Lions are interested in speaking to Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for their vacant coaching job, Minnesota coach Brad Childress confirmed.

Reliever Fuentes agrees to 2-year deal with Angels


Free-agent reliever Brian Fuentes and the Los Angeles Angels reached agreement on a two-year, $17.5 million deal, giving the American League West champions a replacement for closer Francisco Rodriguez. Fuentes will get $8.5 million next season and $9 million in 2010. There's a club option for $9 million in 2011. "He should solidify the back part of our bullpen," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. Fuentes, a left-hander, 33, was a three-time National League All-Star who went 1-5 with 30 saves in 34 chances and a 2.73 ERA for the Colorado Rockies this past season. Rodriguez had 62 saves for the Angels this season to break Bobby Thigpen's single-season record of 57. Rodriguez signed a three-year, $37 million contract with the New York Mets three weeks ago.

Indians-Cubs: : Cleveland acquired infielder Mark DeRosa in a trade that sent three minor leaguers to Chicago. The Indians traded pitchers Jeff Stevens, Chris Archer and John Gaub for DeRosa, who will likely slide into Cleveland's opening at third base. DeRosa, 33, hit a career-high 21 homers and drove in 87 runs last season in 149 games while playing six positions for the NL Central champions.

More Cubs: : The team and infielder Aaron Miles agreed on a two-year, $4.9 million contract. Miles, a switch-hitter, batted .317 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 134 games for the Cardinals last season.

Paterno plans to coach from press box today

col. football

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.