Bruce DeHaven

NFC Notes: Fitzgerald, DeHaven, Lions, Redskins

Larry Fitzgerald recently signed an extension with the Cardinals that would take him through the 2017 season. However, when asked if he’d retire before completing the contract, the veteran wideout dodged the question.

“That’s kind of self explanatory, right?” Fitzgerald told Kent Somers of “I hope so. We’ve got a good thing going right now. We’ve got a really good football team. But not only that, management, Steve Keim (General Manager), Coach (Bruce) Arians, Michael Bidwill. We’ve done a great job in all phases of organization football, and it’s been fun to be around here the last couple years.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Panthers special teams coach Bruce DeHaven is taking a leave of absence to resume cancer treatments, writes Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer. The coordinator title has been handed to assistant Thomas McGaughey, and former NFL linebacker Chase Blackburn will slide into the assistant role. DeHaven, who has been coaching for 46 years, is hoping to return for the team’s Week 2 game against the 49ers. In the meantime, he’ll serve as the Panthers’ senior special teams advisor.
  • Lions rookie running back Zach Zenner got a longer look during the team’s preseason opener than veteran Stevan Ridley. The two backs have been splitting reps in practice, and’s Michael Rothstein believes both players will ultimately make the roster. However, the writer notes that if Zenner continues to get playing time over Ridley, the veteran could find himself on the “roster bubble.”
  • Rich Tandler of writes that the Redskins were expected to only carry a pair of quarterbacks on their roster (Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy) with the hope that rookie Nate Sudfeld would end up on the practice squad. However, Tandler writes that the signal-caller is making a case to make the roster.
  • Tandler notes that cornerback Greg Toler‘s play has led to some tough decisions for the Redskins coaching staff. If the former fourth-rounder ended up on the team, the organization would either cut Quinton Dunbar or Dashaun Phillips, although the team’s lack of safeties makes the latter unlikely.

NFC Notes: Cards, Washington, Bears

While John Carlson‘s retirement announcement today came as a surprise to many observers, the Cardinals‘ football people weren’t shocked by the news, per Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (Twitter links). However, Somers notes that the team wasn’t aware of Carlson’s plan prior to the draft, so it’s fair to wonder if Arizona might’ve taken a tight end a little earlier — the team selected Louisville’s Gerald Christian with the 256th and final pick in this year’s draft, making him 2015’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • After selecting running back Matt Jones in the draft last week, Washington is no longer in the market for veteran free agent Pierre Thomas, tweets’s John Keim.
  • Following the 2015 draft, the Bears’ front office is undergoing some major changes under new general manager Ryan Pace. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune details, college scouting director Marty Barrett won’t have his contract renewed after 18 years with the franchise. Meanwhile, Adam Caplan of tweets that Jay Muraco is out as Chicago’s East Coast scout, confirming a report from Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague (Twitter link). A source tells Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (Twitter link) that Barrett figures to land with the Jets, while Caplan tweets that Muraco may resurface with the Falcons.
  • Speaking to Jeff Dickerson of, Pace explained why the Bears decided not to use one of their six picks on a quarterback during the draft.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap takes a closer look at the specific numbers in Jameis Winston‘s rookie contract with the Buccaneers, and how they reflect the changes in the overall rookie salary pool. So far, Winston is the only rookie reported to have officially signed his contract.
  • Panthers special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven is taking a medical leave of absence to deal with a “serious health situation,” and will be replaced in the interim by Russ Purnell, writes Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.

South Notes: Jones, Blackmon, LeBeau

News out of the AFC and NFC South..

  • Some have concluded that since Julio Jones has one year left on his contract and is on the verge of getting a lucrative extension that new Falcons coach Dan Quinn would prefer to trade him for extra draft picks. However, his comments during a Tuesday news conference indicate that Jones is a part of Quinn’s gameplan going forward. “Absolutely — I can’t wait (to meet him). Just a chance to go through the process with him. … We love great players. We’re trying to celebrate all the good guys. We’re trying to collect more great players, not the other way around,” Quinn said, according to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The odds are against guys like Josh Gordon and Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon making it back to the NFL, opines Jason La Canfora of (on Twitter). Both have lots of work ahead of them in the league substance abuse program and have spent a good deal of time away from the team structure.
  • Dick LeBeau might have several former players who could be available to join him with the Titans, as Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Safety Troy Polamalu, defensive end Brett Keisel, linebacker James Harrison, and cornerback Ike Taylor could all be available and interested in a reunion with the 77-year-old coach. Polamalu currently has two years left on his deal with Pittsburgh but it’s conceivable that they could part ways. Taylor was considering retirement but recently decided that he would return to football.
  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera reassigned special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers, sources told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Carolina’s special teams finished at or near the bottom in a number of major special teams categories this past season. Rivera will promote Rodgers’ assistant Bruce DeHaven to fill that role.