Bears sign Cutler to 7-year deal
The 30-year-old thrived under first-year coach Marc Trestman. Terms were not disclosed, but Cutler's deal reportedly is worth nearly $18 million a year over the first three years and includes at least $50 million guaranteed. Cutler, who joined the Bears in 2009, produced his career-best passer rating of 89.2 in 2013, although he played in just 11 games because of ankle and groin injuries. He completed 224 of 355 passes for 2,621 yards and 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
The Bears also signed cornerback Tim Jennings, who has led the team in interceptions in each of the last two seasons, and guard Matt Slauson to four-year deals. Like Cutler, they were scheduled to become free agents.
Smith joins Bucs
Smith was Dungy's linebackers coach with the Bucs from 1996 to 2000. The 55-year-old coach replaces Greg Schiano, who was fired Monday after a 4-12 finish. The Bucs also dismissed general manager Mark Dominik, and the search for his successor continues.
Giants' Gilbride retires
Kevin Gilbride, 62, retired as offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. The 39-year coaching veteran said he wants to devote more time to his family.
Gilbride spent the last decade with the Giants, winning two Super Bowls, but was under pressure this season for New York's inconsistent performance on offense.
He was the head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1997-98, going 6-16 before being fired six games into the '98 season. Gilbride also was an assistant with the Houston Oilers, Jacksonville (under Tom Coughlin), Pittsburgh, and Buffalo.
The already-big television audiences for the NFL on Sunday afternoons grew even bigger.
The NFC package on Fox matched its highest rating in the network's 20 seasons of broadcasting the league, and the AFC package had its best rating since 1994.
The NFC games on Fox averaged a 12.5 rating, equaling the record of 1995 and up 6 percent from last year. The AFC games on CBS averaged an 11.1 rating, up 4 percent. Ratings measure the percentage of homes with TVs tuned in to a program.
Punter lashes out at coach
Former Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe says his special-teams coordinator made anti-gay comments while Kluwe was with the Vikings.
On the website Deadspin, Kluwe wrote that coach Mike Priefer made several anti-gay comments in objection to Kluwe's outspoken support of a gay marriage amendment in Minnesota.
Kluwe also said former Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and current general manager Rick Spielman encouraged him to tone down his rhetoric to reduce distractions to the team. At the same time, Kluwe said, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf expressed support for Kluwe's championing of gay rights.
Kluwe called Priefer "a bigot" and Spielman and Frazier "two cowards" for releasing him in May after eight seasons with the Vikings.
Priefer denied the allegations. The Vikings said they were reviewing the matter.
Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was arrested again for drunken driving after a one-car crash that heavily damaged the sports utility vehicle he was driving Wednesday in Chanhassen, Minn.
The 27-year-old Henderson, who finished second on the team in tackles this season, was not injured. He also was arrested Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie on suspicion of DWI and drug possession. He has one season left on his contract.
- Associated Press