Chiefs hire Pats' Pioli to be general manager


Scott Pioli, who helped build and lead a dynasty in New England, is now in charge of a Kansas City franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 14 years. Pioli, 43, will be introduced today as Chiefs general manager, replacing Carl Peterson. "He will have complete charge of football operations," said Ryan Petkoff, an assistant to Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt. "He will report only to Clark." The fate of coach Herm Edwards and his staff was not known. Pioli became vice president of player personnel for the Patriots in 2002 and spent nine years working with coach Bill Belichick. He inherits a young team coming off a 2-14 season.

Broncos: : Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan agreed to become Denver's fourth defensive coordinator in four years. Nolan is a former Ravens defensive coordinator.

Colts: : Associate head coach Jim Caldwell, 53, was introduced as head coach Tony Dungy's replacement. Caldwell has a four-year deal, but team owner Jim Irsay would not disclose the financial details.

Giants: : A civil trial is scheduled to begin today in Pennsylvania to determine how much receiver Plaxico Burress will have to pay in damages for a car he leased before it was impounded by New York City police. Court papers say Burress leased a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche worth more than $36,000 from a Lebanon County car dealer in exchange for promises to appear at publicity events. But the civil complaint filed by car dealer Frederick Laurenzo says Burress didn't return the car or show up to sign autographs.

Et cetera:: A federal judge upheld a jury award of $28.1 million to retired football players who sued the NFL Players' Association for allegedly failing to properly market their images. ... Bears coach Lovie Smith will take over defensive play-calling responsibilities from defensive coordinator Bob Babich next season. ... The Lions interviewed Miami defensive backs coach Todd Bowles for their vacant head coaching job. ... Houston promoted Frank Bush, the team's senior defensive assistant, to defensive coordinator.

Crabtree, Maybin to enter NFL draft

col. football

Two-time All-America receiver Michael Crabtree is leaving Texas Tech to catch passes in the NFL next season. Crabtree announced his decision at a news conference, with teammate and Big 12 sack leader Brandon Williams also announcing his plans to turn pro. Crabtree is expected to be a top 10 draft pick. In two years, he has 231 catches for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.

More NFL draft: : Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin returned to his alma matter, Mount Hebron, to announce that he will enter the draft. Maybin, a redshirt sophomore who led the Big Ten with 12 sacks this season, has earned his degree in communications and art. He has been projected as high as a No. 4 pick. SANDRA MCKEE ... Also entering the draft is Ball State quarterback Nate Davis. ... Taylor Mays, an All-America safety, has decided to return to Southern California for his senior season.

Boston College: : Frank Spaziani is the Eagles' new coach, promoted after spending 12 seasons as an assistant with Boston College. Spaziani takes over for Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired after interviewing with the Jets.

Et cetera: : Two assistant coaches apparently wrestling with each other fell through a hotel window and fell four stories to a concrete sidewalk, leaving one seriously injured. The American Football Coaches Association is holding its annual convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Scott Coy, the co-offensive coordinator at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., was in critical condition and having surgery at Vanderbilt University. Darren DeMeio, the running backs coach, was in fair condition but remained in the hospital. ... Former Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh said he plans to stay put coaching at Stanford. There has been speculation in recent weeks that Harbaugh, the brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, might interview for NFL openings.

Wizards' Thomas injured, is out indefinitely


Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas has a torn ligament in his left knee, the latest setback for a last-place team already without Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. The Wizards said Thomas will be sidelined indefinitely and will be reevaluated in two weeks. Thomas, who missed all of last season while recovering from open heart surgery, has been on and off the bench, playing in 26 of 37 games with seven starts. He is averaging 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.8 minutes for the Wizards, who are 7-30.

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