Sheldon White

AFC North Notes: Conklin, Hunt, Steelers

Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin missed quite a bit of time during his second year in Cleveland, seeing two separate trips to the injured reserve. He spent three weeks on injured reserve after an elbow injury sidelined him in early November. In his first game back from injury, Conklin tore his patellar tendon and promptly returned to injured reserve for the rest of the season.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of, Conklin’s recovery is coming along quite well. While he remains off the field in OTAs, rehabbing on his own, and likely will be held off the field in mandatory minicamp, as well, Conklin is expected to be ready to practice at the start of training camp. He will likely be limited as camp opens up, but Conklin is expected to be ready to start once the Browns roll into Charlotte this September to open their season.

Here are a few more notes out of the AFC North, starting with another note from The Land:

  • The Browns have a fairly full running backs room. Nick Chubb is the premier back with D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton serving complimentary roles and fifth-round draft pick Jerome Ford joining John Kelly in reserve roles for the position. Despite the wealth of potential contributors and the lack of certainty concerning his future going into a contract year, Kareem Hunt is viewed a valuable member of the Browns’ offense going into the season. According to Mary Kay Cabot, Hunt “is still very much in the Browns’ plans for this season” with no ideas of dealing or releasing the 26-year-old due to a lack of substantive extension discussions.
  • Omar Khan was recently promoted to the role of general manager of the Steelers. He doesn’t have a strong background in personnel, but is well-versed on the way Pittsburgh operates. It appears that Khan had a plan in place to address that weaker section of his resume. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Khan pushed for his hiring to be a sort of package deal including his good friend Andy Weidl, who served previously as the vice president of player personnel for the Eagles. Bringing in Weidl and pairing him with director of pro scouting Sheldon White, who has extensive league experience in player personnel, creates a strong trio of executives to start a new era in the Steel City.

NFL Staff Notes: Steelers, Browns, Broncos, Bears, Panthers, Buccaneers

The Steelers recently promoted former vice president of football & business administration Omar Khan to replace former general manager Kevin Colbert. We also knew that Khan was bringing in Eagles former vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl and Commanders former college scout Sheldon White. We now know that Weidl will serve as assistant general manager and White will be in the role of director of pro scouting.

Additionally, according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, Khan has promoted existing staffer Dan Colbert, the son of the former general manager. The younger Colbert had served as a veteran college and pro scout and will now be elevated to a senior-level position.

Pryor also provides an additional note that Khan will continue the Steelers’ player personnel tradition of not conducting contract negotiations during the NFL season.

Here are a few other staff hires from around the NFL, starting with another hire in the AFC North:

  • The Browns have also made an addition to the player personnel staff, according to Neil Stratton of Inside the League. Cleveland will bring in Eagles scout Shawn Heinlen. Heinlen was assigned by Philadelphia to cover the Southwest area for the last four seasons and is expected to play a similar role in Cleveland. Before his time with the Eagles, Heinlen spent 16 years in Buffalo.
  • Denver announced some title changes to existing staff in their scouting department. 16-year Broncos staffer Eugene Armstrong will go from Southwest area scout to covering the Southeast area in his 17th season in Denver. Area scout Deon Randall will change areas, too, going from the Northeast area to the Southwest area in his sixth season with the Broncos. Chaz McKenzie spent last season as a Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellow for the Broncos and will take over for Randall as the Northeast area scout.
  • The Bears are adding a former NFL player and scout in Reese Hicks, according the Stratton of Inside the League. After playing offensive line for the Texans, Bengals, Broncos, and Chargers, Hicks branched out into the scouting world. He has spent the last three seasons as a pro scout for the Falcons. Hicks will serve as the Bears West Coast area scout.
  • Carolina is also adding a former NFL player, hiring Michael Coe to become their New England area scout, according to Stratton once again. Coe spent seven seasons in the NFL as a cornerback for the Cowboys, Jaguars, Dolphins, Giants, and Colts. Since his time in the NFL, Coe has worked in the role of Director of Football Operations for the Senior Bowl.
  • According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Tampa Bay has added two new scouting assistants. Emmett Clifford is joining the Buccaneers after spending the last two years as a film analyst in Cleveland. The other new scouting assistant, Korey Finnie, was last a student manager and assistant with Tulane football.

Latest On Steelers’ Front Office

Tuesday brought about an end to the lengthy search conducted by the Steelers to find their new general manager. With Omar Khan being promoted to the role, other moves are forthcoming as well. 

[RELATED: Khan To Become Next Steelers’ GM]

Veteran NFL reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala tweets that Pittsburgh is set to hire Sheldon White as an addition to their player personnel department, creating an overlap in duties with Andy Weidl. The latter was announced as the Steelers’ new assistant GM just before the Khan news came out.

White began his front office career with the Lions in 1997. The bulk of his tenure with the team was spent in their personnel department, where he worked from 2000 to 2015. The 57-year-old took over as interim GM after Martin Mayhew was fired midseason, but that year was his last in Detroit. He departed not long after the team selected Bob Quinn as its new GM, working in Washington as a scout this past season. White’s son, Colby, has worked in the Steelers’ front office for the past two years.

Kinkhabwala also reports, however, that Brandon Hunt could be on the move soon. The other internal candidate to be given consideration for Pittsburgh’s GM job, Hunt has received interest from both the Bills and Eagles this offseason. Not surprisingly given yesterday’s developments, then, Kinkhabwala states that Hunt “could be in line for a VP spot” in Philadelphia. Such a hire would mark a significant addition for the Eagles, but it would create another notable vacancy in the Steelers’ new-look front office.

Lions Part Ways With Sheldon White

New Lions general manager Bob Quinn continues to make changes in Detroit’s front office, and the latest executive to leave the team is the one Quinn replaced in the GM role. According to Justin Rogers of, the Lions have parted ways with longtime director of pro personnel Sheldon White, who served as the team’s interim GM following Martin Mayhew‘s mid-season dismissal.Sheldon White

White was one of several candidates to interview for the Lions’ permanent general manager position, but when the team ultimately decided on Quinn, White’s future in Detroit became uncertain. The new GM said nearly a month ago that he wasn’t sure whether or not White would be back with the team.

At the time, I noted that White had been with the franchise for nearly two decades, in several roles and under multiple regimes, meaning it would be a bit of a surprise if he went anywhere. While White joined the Lions as a scout in 1997, he has spent most of his tenure with the club as the director of pro personnel, having been promoted to that role under former GM Matt Millen in 2000.

It’s not clear yet whether White’s departure was solely Quinn’s decision, or whether the two sides came to a more mutual agreement. Either way though, it figures to be just a matter of time before a seasoned executive like White lands with another team — that may happen sometime after this year’s draft, with teams like the Eagles looking to make front office changes at that point.

As for the Lions, they hired Jaguars director of college scouting Kyle O’Brien last month to head their pro and college scouting departments, and added former Patriots director of player development Kevin Anderson last week, to head their football operations department. The team figure to make another front office hire at some point to help replace White.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Decision Yet On Lions HC Jim Caldwell

The Lions introduced new general manager Bob Quinn today at an afternoon press conference, but the team has yet to make a decision on head coach Jim Caldwell, who remains in limbo. While Quinn initially said during today’s presser that he met with Caldwell today, he later acknowledged that it was more of an introduction than a meeting — it only lasted about 30 seconds (Twitter links via Tim Twentyman of and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

Quinn doesn’t expect to meet again with Caldwell today, and doesn’t have a timetable for his decision on the head coach, but he’d like to make that call sooner rather than later (Twitter links via Birkett and Twentyman). Still, the former Patriots executive won’t rush the decision, and would like to get to know Caldwell. Quinn added today that he expects to meet with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson before announcing anything on Caldwell (Twitter link via Birkett).

As Quinn deliberates on Caldwell, we’ve got a few more items to pass along out of Detroit, so let’s dive in and round them up…

  • Although Quinn is going into his meeting with Caldwell with an open mind, he has other potential head coaching candidates at the ready, tweets Jason La Canfora of La Canfora (Twitter link) would be surprised if the Lions end up targeting Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia as Caldwell’s potential replacement, though Quinn did praise both Pats assistants today, suggesting they’re both ready and willing to become head coaches (Twitter link via Birkett).
  • Quinn not only got the general manager title in Detroit — he also was named executive VP and received a five-year contract, tweets Adam Caplan of As Caplan observes, it’s an impressive package for a first-time GM.
  • Quinn will report directly to owner Martha Ford, tweets Michael Rothstein of Meanwhile, the new GM said today that he’s not sure the old interim GM – Sheldon White – will be back with the club, per Twentyman (Twitter link). White has been with the franchise for nearly two decades, in several roles and under multiple regimes, so it would be a little surprising if he went anywhere.
  • Quinn will have “zero tolerance” when it comes to guns and domestic violence with his players, according to Birkett (Twitter link).

Extra Points: Lions, Colts, Broncos, J. Smith

Now that the Lions have hired Bob Quinn as their new general manager, Detroit coaches are wondering if they still have a job, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press writes. Obviously, there will be some turnover as a new regime takes over, but two Lions coaches told Birkett they have not been updated as to the status of their employment.

However, the club’s head coach, Jim Caldwell, might be one of the lucky ones, as a Patriots insider tells Mike O’Hara of that Quinn is likely to retain Caldwell for 2016. Detroit’s upper management has been adamant that the new GM would get to decide Caldwell’s fate, and while we’ll have to wait for official word, at least one source thinks Caldwell will get to stay.

Meanwhile, while interim GM Sheldon White was thanked in a team statement, there’s been no indication as to whether he’ll revert back to his old position of director of player personnel, tweets Paula Pasche of the Oakland Press.

More from around the league…

  • Though the Colts retained some level of stability by keeping both GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano, the club’s roster figures to see an overhaul, per Mike Chappell of CBS4, who singles out Andre Johnson and Trent Cole as players who are likely to be cut this offseason.
  • By being selected second-team All-Pro instead of first-team, Broncos corner Chris Harris missed out on an extra $500K, according to Mike Klis of 9News. First-team recognition would have bumped up Harris’ 2016 salary from $6.9MM to $7.4MM.
  • Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith‘s surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL “went about as well as it possibly could have,” a source tells Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated. Smith was expected to a be top-10 selection in this year’s draft, but that stock will obviously be affected by this major injury.
  • Had Hue Jackson been offered the opportunity to return as Raiders head coach for a second season in 2012, he planned to make a change at defensive coordinator. His No. 1 choice? Jack Del Rio, who is now ironically Oakland’s head coach himself. “I had him locked in and everything,” Jackson told Mike Silver of “I think we would have worked really well together.”

Lions Rumors: GM Search, Polian, Megatron

The latest from Detroit:

  • Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press identifies Texans executive Brian Gaine and Jaguars exec Chris Polian as two names to watch for the Lions’ general manager job, along with interim GM Sheldon White. Gaine has been mentioned as a candidate for a promotion in Houston as well.
  • The Lions are scheduling a GM interview with Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, league sources tell Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). Kirchner interviewed with the Jets last year.
  • Calvin Johnson faces some uncertainty this offseason with the Lions,’s Michael Rothstein writes. Johnson will have a $24MM cap hit with a $15.95MM cash value in 2016 and the team could save $11.1MM on the cap by letting him go.
  • The Lions have requested to interview Cowboys assistant director of player personnel Will McClay for their GM job, but he decided to stay put, a source told Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). McClay said he recently re-did his contract in Dallas and didn’t want to leave, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets.
  • Vikings exec George Paton will be declining GM interviews, as well, Birkett tweets. The Lions haven’t formally requested an interview, but he is well respected and seemed like a probable candidate for the job.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Coaching/GM Notes: Pagano, Browns, Fins, Cowboys, Lions

The latest news on various teams’ coaching and front office situations as Black Monday approaches:

  • Colts owner Jim Irsay will meet with Chuck Pagano on Monday to discuss the head coach’s future, writes Mike Wells of After helping lead the Colts to playoff berths in his first three years with the team, Pagano’s club missed out this season during an injury-riddled, tumultuous campaign, going 8-8. As a result, the Colts are expected to let go of Pagano, whose contract is up, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).
  • With Ray Farmer out as the Browns’ general manager, the franchise might turn its football operations over to executive vice president/general counsel Sashi Brown, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports (Twitter link).
  • Adam Gase, Jim Mora Jr., Mike Shanahan, Teryl Austin, Mike Smith, Dirk Koetter and Doug Marrone are all currently connected to the Dolphins’ head coaching job, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Not surprisingly, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Sunday that Jason Garrett will return in 2016 for his seventh season as the team’s head coach. “Let me be real clear: There’s no thought of replacing Jason. At all,” Jones said, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Jones acknowledged that Garrett’s staff could change, though, as four assistant coaches’ contracts expire (Twitter link via Williams). Whether those changes happen will be up to Garrett, who Jones says is “the ultimate-decision maker” when it comes to the coaching staff (Twitter link via Fox Sports’ Matt Mosley).
  • Lions president Rod Wood says the club’s search for a new general manager will begin in earnest Monday, tweets Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. Interim GM Sheldon White will be among those interviewed, according to Wood (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press), and Greg Gabriel of reports the Lions will also talk to Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams (via Twitter). Another Giants executive, Marc Ross, could also get a look, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo.

Ernie Accorsi To Consult On Lions’ GM Search

The Lions have selected former NFL general manager Ernie Accorsi to help guide them through the process of finding a new GM of their own, the team announced today in a press release. Accorsi, who previously served as the general manager of the Colts, Browns, Giants, will act as a consultant for Detroit as the team attempts to identify a permanent GM to replace Martin Mayhew.

“We are most pleased that Ernie Accorsi will serve as consultant for our GM search,” new Lions president Rod Wood said in a statement. “Ernie’s reputation is impeccable. Not only did he succeed as a general manager in the NFL, but his work as a consultant with teams like Chicago and Carolina is well documented.”

Less than a year ago, Accorsi acted as a consultant when the Bears were looking to replace former GM Phil Emery, eventually helping to identify Saints executive Ryan Pace as the man for the job. As Wood notes, Accorsi also took part in the Panthers’ search for a GM, which saw the team land on Dave Gettleman.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Wood said today that Accorsi has pledged exclusivity to the Lions during this winter’s hiring cycle, meaning he won’t be consulting for any other teams that may have a position open up in the front office in the coming weeks or months.

Wood reiterated today that interim general manager Sheldon White remains a candidate for the permanent job in Detroit. When asked if the coach and the GM could end up being the same person, Wood said that’s not the team’s plan at the moment (Twitter links via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).

NFC Notes: Rams, Hardy, Lions

Rams wideout Tavon Austin will be returning to his hometown of Baltimore to take on the Ravens this weekend. The former West Virginia University standout is happy playing in St. Louis, but he did tell Joe Lyons of that the Ravens did check up on him during the 2013 draft.

“They were definitely staying in touch,’’ the receiver said. “I had a great meeting with them. The GM (Ozzie Newsome) is an awesome guy. I thought they were going to pull the trigger, but Coach Fisher did. I’m proud he did and I’m happy to be a Ram.’’

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

  • The Cowboys have shown that they’re willing to deal with all of Greg Hardy‘s on and off the field issues, leading Jon Machota of to predict that the defensive end will play in Dallas next season. The 27-year-old appears to like the organization, and the writer believes Hardy would willingly return, assuming Dallas offers him close to what he wants.
  • Following news that Lions interim general manager Sheldon White would be a candidate for the full-time gig, the executive acknowledged that his team needs to win if he wants to keep the job. “Obviously if we don’t then, I won’t be a candidate,” White told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “But if we win these games and we find ways to get better and improve our roster, maybe I will be.”
  • New Lions president Rod Wood is confident that his team isn’t far away from contention, and with that mindset, Birkett believes quarterback Matthew Stafford could be sticking around. However, Wood did acknowledge that the decision would be up to the general manager. “I’m going to leave that to the general manager, but they’re great players,” Wood said, adding, “Matthew is my quarterback on my fantasy team if that means anything.”