Lake Dawson

AFC Notes: Pats, Broncos, Texans, Bills

In an interview Wednesday with Charlie Rose of CBS, Gisele Bundchen, wife of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, said that the five-time Super Bowl winner “had a concussion last year” and “has concussions” that they don’t talk about (Twitter link). If Brady actually has dealt with head injuries and the Patriots have been aware of them, they could face discipline from the NFL. After all, the Pats have never listed Brady’s alleged concussions on the injury report. For its part, the league issued a statement Wednesday (via Doug Kyed of NESN) indicating that it’s now looking into the matter, saying: “There are no records that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms. Today we have been in contact with the NFLPA and will work together to gather more information from the club’s medical staff and Mr. Brady. The health and safety of our players is our foremost priority and we want to ensure that all our players have and continue to receive the best care possible.”

More from the AFC:

  • Running back Jamaal Charles, one of the Broncos’ highest-profile pickups this offseason, only has a 50-50 shot to make their roster, opines Mike Klis of 9News. While the 30-year-old Charles averaged a whopping 5.5 yards per carry with AFC West rival Kansas City from 2008-16, knee injuries limited him to a combined eight games over the past two seasons. Combining Charles’ recent health issues with, as Klis notes, his low-money contract and the presences of fellow runners C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker and rookie De’Angelo Henderson, Charles might not play a down for Denver.
  • As expected, the Texans have added ex-Colts executive Jimmy Raye III to their front office. Raye will serve as the Texans’ vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager, Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com was among those to report. He’s replacing Brian Gaine, who left Houston for Buffalo earlier this week. Additionally, the club has tabbed Rob Kisiel as its director of pro personnel and Mike Martin as its assistant director of college scouting.
  • The Bills, continuing to reshuffle their front office, have announced the hiring of Lake Dawson as their assistant director of college scouting. Formerly with the Titans and Browns, Dawson joins Gaine, Joe Schoen and Malik Boyd as additions the Bills have made to their front office since naming Brandon Beane their general manager last week. Dawson was a wide receiver with the Chiefs from 1994-97.

South Notes: Titans, Panthers, Falcons, Saints

The Titans have parted ways with vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, the team announced on Twitter. “This was not an easy decision and I want to thank Lake for his time with the team,” general manager Ruston Webster said. “This new structure will help us streamline things from both the college and pro perspectives. We will move forward without a VP of Player Personnel and the college and pro sides will report directly to me.” It’s a bit surprising that Tennessee would fire Dawson, who’s been with the club since 2007, as he’s been in high demand around the league — he had interviewed for the GM posts in Miami, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Chicago.

Let’s look at some more notes from the South divisions:

  • Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis is looking forward to seeing what GM Dave Gettleman and the front office can do this offseason to improve Carolina’s roster, as he tells Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Gettleman recently said the Panthers would be moving out of the “dollar store” this winter, and Davis was “very encouraged” by those comments. “It’s going to be interesting to see how things go this offseason,” Davis said. “We’ve had two offseasons where we didn’t do a whole lot in free agency. But we’ll see what happens this year.”
  • With a new head coach set to be introduced next week and a front office that has undergone some changes this month, it’s not entirely clear who will have the final say on certain football decisions in Atlanta. Speaking to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, Falcons owner Arthur Blank repeatedly stressed that he expects most football matters to be collaboratively decided by Dan Quinn, Thomas Dimitroff, and Scott Pioli. Quinn and Dimitroff will report separately to Blank, while Pioli will report to Dimitroff.
  • Asked today on The Jim Rome Show about what went wrong for the Saints in 2014 and how it can be addressed for 2015, quarterback Drew Brees pointed to an unusual amount of roster turnover, particularly involving core players: “It’s about getting back to building our organization and framework from the ground up again and make sure we are on the same page” (link via NewOrleansSaints.com).

Extra Points: Shanahan, Trestman, Ryan

Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will consider leaving the Browns, even for a lateral move, because of friction within the organization, writes Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. Shanahan is aiming to become a head coach somewhere (perhaps in Buffalo) but he’d also like to reunite with his father, Mike Shanahan. The 49ers, Raiders, and Bills are have interest in hiring Mike as a head coach with Kyle as the offensive coordinator. More from around the NFL..

  • Washington interviewed Rod Graves on Monday for their GM position, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com (on Twitter). By interviewing Graves, Washington has satisfied the Rooney Rule, so that is not a roadblock in their talks with Scot McCloughan.
  • Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman will interview for the Jaguars‘ offensive coordinator position, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Trestman has already interviewed with the Buccaneers.
  • Rex Ryan will be meeting with CBS executives tomorrow to discuss a possible TV role if he doesn’t land a head coaching job, a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).
  • The Eagles have requested permission to interview recently promoted Packers exec Eliot Wolf for their personnel opening, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Wolf was recently promoted by Green Bay, ostensibly to keep him in-house as the heir apparent to their own GM job.
  • The Eagles requested GM interviews with Chris Grier (Dolphins), Chris Polian (Jaguars), and Brian Gaine (Texans), sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Texans might have interest in former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, according to Dan Pompei of Sports On Earth (on Twitter).
  • Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson is scheduled to interview with the Jaguars for their offensive coordinator position on Thursday, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • Gaine and Lake Dawson, the Titans‘ vice president of player personnel, completed their interviews with the Bears for their GM opening, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis says that the team will take linebacker Junior Galette‘s arrest “very seriously,” as Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes. “If at some point we deem it necessary for the club to take some action, we’ll do that,” Loomis said.
  • Loomis feels that the Saints are in better shape financially, Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune (on Twitter). “I would say we’re in a better situation than we were a year ago — on pure salary cap.” He also scoffed at a recent report indicating that he will move into a new role with the team (link).

Front Office Notes: Jets, Saints, Bears

As the first full week of 2015 gets underway, we have updates on two teams hunting for a new general manager, as well as a pair of clubs whose front offices may be undergoing some changes. Here’s the latest:

  • Although the Jets would like to speak to Saints executive Ryan Pace about their general manager position, it’s unlikely that Pace will elect to interview for the opening, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). As Rapoport explains (Twitter link), Pace – a favorite of Sean Payton – assumed more day-to-day duties with the Saints in 2014 as GM Mickey Loomis worked more with the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Rapoport adds that Pace’s role will only increase, and that he could be in line for a promotion.
  • A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Loomis “remains entrenched” as the Saints‘ GM, with no need to elevate anyone in the front office to handle any of his duties. However, Florio agrees that it appears as if Pace will stay put in New Orleans for now.
  • Texans director of scouting Mike Maccagnan will have his interview with the Jets for their GM vacancy today, tweets Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
  • Speaking to one veteran front office executive who called the head coach/GM marriage “the most underrated dynamic in the business,” Mehta writes in a Daily News piece that the Jets should ensure they create an equal partnership when they hire a new coach and GM.
  • Within the same piece, Mehta reports, via sources, that Seahawks personnel executive Trent Kirchner likely won’t be paired with Dan Quinn as a GM/head coach duo, since Quinn’s preference would be to work with a “more seasoned” front office executive.
  • The Bears will interview Titans executive Lake Dawson on Tuesday and Chiefs exec Chris Ballard on Wednesday this week, says Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
  • Washington has reached out to personnel man Scot McCloughan about becoming a top executive in the team’s front office, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). McCloughan, a former 49ers general manager, most recently worked for the Seahawks.

Extra Points: Allen, Wayne, Eagles, Bears

Washington GM Bruce Allen held his year-end press conference today and was put in a position where he more or less had to defend his job, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. At the presser, Allen defended the signing of free agent defensive end Jason Hatcher and putting the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo was given the franchise tag despite a serious injury history and Hatcher was given a lucrative deal despite mild production prior to his walk year. Here’s more from around the league in our New Year’s Eve edition of Extra Points..

  • If pressed for a decision, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne says he’d come back for 2015, ESPN.com’s Mike Wells writes. “If I had to answer that question today, I’d say I’ll be back… as long as the Colts would have me,” he said on his weekly radio show on WNDE-1260 AM in Indianapolis on Tuesday.
  • The Eagles released Tom Gamble, their vice president of player personnel, earlier today. The move adds weight to speculation that coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman have not seen eye to eye over the last year, ESPN.com’s Phil Sheridan writes.
  • The Bears have requested to interview five GM candidates, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter): Chris Ballard (Chiefs), Lake Dawson (Titans), Eric DeCosta (Ravens), Brian Gaine (Texans), and Ryan Pace (Saints).
  • Colts backup Matt Hasselbeck isn’t under contract for 2015, but he’s also not thinking about retirement, writes Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Neither he nor the Colts have discussed a return just yet, but he sounds very open to the idea.
  • The Buccaneers like Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but they could have competition for his services, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. A source says that Koetter is held in high regard by two other head coaching candidates: Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and San Francisco defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap looked ahead at what’s in store for the Titans this offseason.
  • Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson declined a plea bargain on an October arrest, as Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press writes. Johnson becomes a free agent in early March and has said that he will seek a multi-year deal.

Latest On Jets, Bears GM Searches

Of the five teams hunting for new head coaches, two have an even more daunting task ahead of them, as the Bears and Jets are also on the lookout for new general managers to head their football operations departments. The Jets have tasked two consultants, Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf, with identifying potential candidates, while the Bears hired former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi as an advisor for their search.

Heading into today, we’d heard Seahawks director of pro personnel Trent Kirchner and Vikings assistant GM George Paton linked to the Jets’ opening, while things had been relatively quiet on the Bears’ front so far. More rumors and rumblings on both positions are starting to surface though, so let’s round up the latest updates:

  • The Jets intend to interview their current senior director of football administration Rod Graves for their GM opening, a source tells Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Mehta, confirming the report, tweets that it’s a “courtesy” on the Jets’ part.
  • Costello adds (via Twitter) that the Jets have also asked the Browns permission to interview personnel executive Bill Kuharich.

Earlier updates:

  • The Jets are interested in interviewing Texans director of college scouting Mike Maccagnan for their GM vacancy, tweets Brian Costello of the New York Post. A source confirms to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link) that the Jets have indeed asked Houston for permission to speak to Maccagnan.
  • Mehta also reports (via Twitter) that the Jets have requested permission to interview Eagles director of pro personnel Rick Mueller. Mueller has previously worked for the Jaguars and Saints as well.
  • The Jets are expected to make a strong push for Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, as Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links) points out, DeCosta is contractually designated as Baltimore’s GM-in-waiting behind Ozzie Newsome — he’s a strong GM candidate for rival clubs, but is in a good situation with the Ravens and is “highly valued” by the organization. For now, the Jets have asked for permission to interview him, tweets Mehta.
  • Four interview targets have emerged for the Bears‘ general manager opening, according to Rapoport, who lists the following candidate (via Twitter): Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross, Titans VP of player personnel Lake Dawson, and Ravens director of pro personnel Vince Newsome.

La Canfora’s Latest: Texans, Browns, Harbaugh

Let’s check out the latest from CBS Sports scribe Jason La Canfora:

  • The Texans are expected to make a change at general manager during the offseason, with current GM Rick Smith shifting into a new role that doesn’t involve football operations. Head coach Bill O’Brien will have significant input on who is hired to fill the position, and sources tell La Canfora that the club already has several candidates in mind. Patriots executive Nick Caserio would likely be O’Brien’s top choice, as the two worked together in New England. Other external options include the Eagles’ Tom Gamble and the Pats’ Jon Robinson, while internal candidates could include scouting director Mike Maccagnan and director of pro personnel Brian Gaine. Texans vice chariman Cal McNair has denied La Canfora’s report, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Meanwhile, changes could also be coming in Buffalo and Tennessee, writes La Canfora. Bills GM Doug Whaley doesn’t have a great relationship with head coach Doug Marrone, and given that the current Buffalo front office was responsible for the selection of E.J. Manuel, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the club completely overhaul its management team. Meanwhile, the Titans could opt to fire general manager Ruston Webster, and replace him with executive Lake Dawson.
  • The Browns are growing increasingly frustrated with both Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel, sources tell La Canfora. Gordon, who was suspended for today’s game after missing a walkthrough on Saturday, will file a grievance against the team in order to maintain his free agent status after 2015. But Cleveland officials say Gordon “has to go,” although La Canfora says it’s unclear whether owner Jimmy Haslam is willing to trade the talented wideout. For his part, Manziel was also absent yesterday, and team security was forced to go to his house to retrieve him. The rookie quarterback reportedly threw a team party Friday night (which led to several Browns being late on Saturday), the latest questionable decision by a player who recently vowed to take the game more seriously.
  • Five clubs — the Raiders, Jets, 49ers, Falcons, and Bears — are expected to make coaching changes in the coming days. The Raiders still have their eye on Jim Harbaugh, but if he takes the Michigan job as expected, the club could bring in Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. And while the 49ers are expected to look at some of the younger offensive coaches during their search, the Jets, Falcons, and Bears are looking to hire an established head coach, per La Canfora. Rex Ryan is an option in Atlanta, though if the Falcons lose today and miss the playoffs, general manger Thomas Dimitroff could be axed there. In Chicago, the club could look to reunite Mike Shanahan with Jay Cutler.
  • The Raiders will indeed attempt to make their pitch to Harbaugh, and would even engage in trade talks with the 49ers if possible. La Canfora notes (via Twitter) that NFL executives won’t believe Harbaugh has a deal with Michigan until it’s officially signed.
  • Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is a name to watch regarding head-coaching vacancies. La Canfora says sources have compared Autin’s rise to that of Mike Tomlin, who went from an unknown position coach to leading the Steelers in rapid time. Austin is expected to garner several interviews, including one with the Falcons.

Dolphins Hire Dennis Hickey As GM

4:43pm: The Dolphins have issued a statement on the hire on their team website.

4:14pm: The Dolphins will introduce Hickey at a press conference on Tuesday, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).

10:24am: The Dolphins have finally settled on a new general manager, hiring former Tampa Bay director of player personnel Dennis Hickey, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins’ search for a GM has been widely-discussed among national and local writers, particularly after Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio turned down the job earlier this week. James Walker, who covers the Dolphins for ESPN.com, tweeted yesterday that Miami completely botched the GM search, and he tweeted today that Hickey was probably not even the Dolphins’ fifth or sixth choice when this process began.

Walker may well be correct in his assessment. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that, not long before they hired Hickey, the Dolphins offered the job to Titans Vice President of Football Operations Lake Dawson. Dawson turned down the job as well, and Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that Dawson released a statement saying that Miami was not an “ideal fit” and that “details of the offer didn’t align with my vision.” Adding to the curiosity of the situation is that the Buccaneers, who recently hired Jason Licht as their GM, did not even interview Hickey for that role.

Hickey worked for the Buccaneers for 18 years, and served as the director of player personnel for the last three seasons. He was an important part of Tampa Bay’s major splashes over the past couple of years, as the team signed Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson and traded for All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis before the 2013 season and signed Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson prior to the 2012 season. The 2012 draft may have been the highlight of Hickey’s career with the Bucs. That year’s class included highly-regarded players like safety Mark Barron, running back Doug Martin, and linebacker Lavonte David.

Hickey takes over for Jeff Ireland, who had been the Dolphins’ GM since 2008. Ireland and the Dolphins “mutually agreed” to part ways several weeks ago, setting off Miami’s unusual search for a replacement that culminated with Hickey’s acceptance earlier today. Hickey does not inherit a bare cupboard by any means, as the Dolphins narrowly missed the playoffs this season and have solid talent on both sides of the ball. Nonetheless, the fact that at least two candidates turned down such a high-profile position does lead to speculation regarding the stability of the front office. Attempting to read between the lines of Dawson’s rejection, Volin tweeted simply, “that place is a mess.”

More On Dolphins’ GM Saga

New Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey will have complete control over roster decisions, a team source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. This news comes amid reports that several Miami GM candidates opted against taking the position due to lack of clarity regarding personnel management.

Salguero also reports that Titans VP of Football Operations Lake Dawson and Patriots VP of Player Personnel Nick Caserio turned down the job due to potential conflicts with Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Dawson reportedly would have been agreeable to keeping Philbin on for one season before wanting to clean house and hire a new coach. Caserio, however, wanted to install a new regime immediately upon his arrival. Neither approach was acceptable to Dolphins ownership, as they wanted a GM who would continue to work with Philbin as the head coach.

Hickey presumably agreed to keeping Philbin on staff, and will likely have no say in coaching matters. Hickey will report directly to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Vice president of football operations Dawn Aponte, rumored to be gaining power behind the scenes, will report to Hickey on all matters, not just the salary cap, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

Latest On Dolphins’ GM Search

Browns executive Ray Farmer, who had been considered a frontrunner for the Dolphins’ general manager job, will forgo a second interview with Miami to remain in Cleveland, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. After initially reporting (via Twitter) that Farmer had decided to stay with the Browns, La Canfora added that John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance urged Farmer to reconsider and take a second interview to work through some of his reservations about the position (Twitter links). However, it doesn’t appear as if Farmer will heed that recommendation, as the Browns’ front office confirmed today that the assistant GM will continue on with the club (Twitter link via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal).

By pulling his named out of contention, Farmer becomes the latest in a string of GM candidates to come off the board for the Dolphins. Most recently, Jason Licht, another strong contender for Miami’s opening, reached an agreement with the Buccaneers to become the new GM in Tampa Bay.

La Canfora reported (Twitter links) last night that Omar Kahn of the Steelers, Lake Dawson of the Titans, and Brian Xanders of the Lions weren’t considered finalists, leaving Dennis Hickey of the Bucs and internal candidate Brian Gaine as contenders for the job. According to a tweet from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport though, Dawson will receive a third interview this week with the Dolphins, so perhaps the removal of Farmer from the mix prompted the Dolphins to reconsider Dawson’s candidacy.

The Dolphins are expected to hire a GM next week, according to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.