Bills fire Jauron after 3-6 start
Dick Jauron was fired by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, when the coach ran out of time to build a contender or come up with a way to fix an offense that sputtered even with the addition of Terrell Owens. Bills owner Ralph Wilson announced Jauron's dismissal, saying he made the decision "for the best interest of his team." The move came two days after the Bills (3-6) fell further out of contention following a 41-17 loss at Tennessee.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was named the Bills' interim head coach. Wilson credited Fewell for "demonstrating excellent leadership skills," while noting the players have plenty of "confidence in him."
Jauron leaves with a 24-33 record over three-plus seasons. He went 5-14 in his past 19.
"I really don't have anything to say," was all Jauron would say when reached on his cell phone by The Associated Press.
Johnson gets new start with Bengals
Larry Johnson might have his career up-and-running sooner than expected. The running back who was banished from Kansas City for bad behavior signed on for a backup role with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday, giving the AFC North leaders depth for the rest of this season. He might not be watching for long.
A day after Coach Marvin Lewis referred to Johnson as an insurance policy in case of injury, he said it's possible the running back could play in some form Sunday in Oakland if starter Cedric Benson is still limited by a strained hip.
"I'm not saying that it can't happen, I'm not saying that it will happen, but stay tuned," Lewis said, with Johnson sitting by his side. "He'd like to play, I know that. And we'll see what happens as we go through the week, as I said earlier, regarding Cedric with his injury."
Johnson has his own goal for getting on the field: Dec. 27, when the Bengals play the Chiefs at Paul Brown Stadium. That could set up the second get-even game for a Bengals running back this season. Benson was carrying a grudge when he ran for a career-high 189 yards against his former Bears team on Oct. 25.
Johnson is toting one, too.
"I'd be lying if I said I ain't looking at that game as a game I want to definitely play in, but we take it a game at a time, one situation at a time," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to get on the field as of right now. If that happens, it'd be the best Christmas gift I can get."
The Bengals waived defensive tackle Orien Harris to open a roster spot for Johnson, who knew he'd be listed fourth on the depth chart to start.
"I have to work my way back up," Johnson said. "You have to earn your stripes, literally, in the situation I'm in."
The signing came eight days after the Chiefs let him go as he was set to return from his second suspension in the past 12 months. The Bengals are taking little financial risk by bringing Johnson in for the rest of the season — he could be released if he becomes a problem.
"He knows what's at stake and at risk," Lewis said. "He gets an opportunity to start anew, just like anyone would. He has paid a price for what's gone on, things he's said and done, and it came to a finality in Kansas City. And now it's a new start."
■ The Bengals released tight end Ben Utecht and receiver Antonio Chatman, both of whom were out for the season with injuries. Utecht suffered a major concussion during training camp at Georgetown College. Chatman suffered a severe ankle injury during practice and went on injured reserve on Sept. 5. The Bengals signed safety Brannon Condren to their practice squad.
Chiefs' Bowe gets 4-game suspension
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL's policy against performance-enhancing substances. Bowe's agent, Todd France, said his client was guilty only of taking a weight-loss supplement. Neither the Chiefs nor the league would make further comment.
■ Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown will miss Thursday night's game at Carolina because of an injured right foot, and his status for the rest of the regular season is uncertain. Ricky Williams will replace Brown and start for the first time this season.
■ The Ravens cut kicker Steve Hauschka, who missed a 36-yard field goal and had an extra-point attempt blocked in Monday night's 16-0 win over Cleveland. No replacement was immediately announced. Former Jets kicker Mike Nugent and former Cowboys kicker Billy Cundiff worked out for the team last week.
■ The Steelers apparently won't be without injured safety Troy Polamalu for more than one game. Polamalu hasn't been ruled out of Sunday's game at Kansas City despite injuring his left knee for the second time this season. However, it seems more likely he will miss one game and attempt to return for an AFC North game at Baltimore on Nov. 29. Polamalu is "questionable at best" for the Chiefs (2-7), according to Coach Mike Tomlin.
■ Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will visit two concussion specialists in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Westbrook sustained his second concussion in three weeks during Philadelphia's 31-23 loss at San Diego on Sunday.
■ The Pittsburgh-Baltimore matchup Nov. 29 will remain the Sunday night game. NBC declined its option to pick another contest. The NFL said Tuesday that the Arizona-Tennessee game that day will start at 4:15 p.m. EST instead of 1 p.m.
Kearney Hill's Benassi named Kentucky's PGA pro of the year
Carmello Benassi, the golf pro at Kearney Hill Links for six years, has been named Kentucky's PGA professional of the year.
Benassi said he has been nominated for the award several times but never won, "so I was totally shocked when I did win this time."
Irvine native Keith Ohr, pro at Wildwood Country Club in Louisville, was named Kentucky PGA player of the year. Brent Edmister of Greenbrier was selected merchandiser of the year.
Shanahan ends 21-year NHL career
Brendan Shanahan is retiring from the NHL after 21 seasons and an almost certain Hall of Fame career. The 40-year-old forward announced Tuesday that he wouldn't play again. Shanahan, who scored 656 career goals, left the New Jersey Devils before the season after he was told there was no spot for him on the team's top three lines. He has not played this season.
Shanahan ranks 11th on the league's career goals list and is the only player with 600 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. The eight-time All-Star also played for St. Louis, Hartford, Detroit and the New York Rangers. He won three Stanley Cup titles with Detroit.
■ Alex Ovechkin scored in his return from injury to lift the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Ovechkin missed six games because of an upper body injury, said to be a strained left shoulder, but he came back with a flourish. He netted his NHL-leading 15th goal in his 15th game.
■ Andy Roddick withdrew from the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals because of a left knee injury. The No. 6-ranked Roddick hurt his knee at last month's Shanghai Masters. The ATP said that French Open runner-up Robin Soderling, No. 9 in the rankings, will take Roddick's spot in the eight-man field. The draw for the tournament is Wednesday, and play starts Sunday. The other participants: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko and Fernando Verdasco.
The last word
The Cincinnati Bengals victory at Pittsburgh on Sunday gave the team its first sweep of both the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens in the same season. Linebacker Brandon Johnson said after the game:
"Very sweet! I'm almost diabetic right now, it's so sweet."