NFL notes: St. Louis Rams hire coach Jeff Fisher
St. Louis • Almost two weeks after they put away the helmets and shoulder pads, the St. Louis Rams picked up their third win of a dismal season.
The Rams prevailed in a high-stakes head-to-head competition with the Miami Dolphins and landed Jeff Fisher for their vacant head coaching job. The team said Friday it was finalizing a deal to hire the veteran coach who sat out the 2011 season after 17 years in Tennessee.
The 53-year-old Fisher interviewed twice with the Rams, once in Denver with owner Stan Kroenke and again in St. Louis when he toured facilities and met with quarterback Sam Bradford.
Fisher is widely considered the top prize in this winter's coaching-search sweepstakes.
His long stint in Tennessee included a Super Bowl matchup against the Rams in 2000 in which Tennessee fell 1 yard shy of forcing overtime in a 23-16 loss. The Titans won three division titles and made six playoff appearances under Fisher, who stepped down a year ago as the league's longest-tenured coach, saying he needed a break.
St. Louis' offer may have trumped Miami's for several reasons. Bradford was the No. 1 overall pick in 2010 and is considered a franchise-type player despite an injury-plagued, unproductive 2011. The Rams have the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft and a favorable salary-cap situation.
St. Louis opted for an experienced hand after failing with Steve Spagnuolo, a former defensive coordinator who was just 10-38 in three seasons.
Rejected by Fisher, the Dolphins plan to interview several more candidates before hiring a coach, owner Stephen Ross said Friday.
Around the league
Broncos • Denver signed longtime long snapper David Binn on Friday after Lonie Paxton was ruled out of the divisional playoff game against New England so he could continue dealing with a family issue. Binn, who turns 40 next month, spent 17 seasons with the division rival San Diego Chargers from 1994-2010, appearing in 256 regular season games, a dozen playoff games and one Pro Bowl.
Patriots • Starting safety Patrick Chung is back on the injury report. Chung has a knee problem and was among 13 players listed Friday as questionable for the Patriots' playoff game Saturday night against the Denver Broncos. He was limited in practice after participating fully Thursday.
Bills • David Lee has agreed to become Buffalo's quarterbacks coach. Lee has 37 years of coaching experience and spent last season as Mississippi's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He's spent seven seasons in the NFL, including a three-year stint, from 2008-10, as the Miami Dolphins' quarterbacks coach.
Jets • Coach Rex Ryan says embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez has the support of the organization, and he vows to clean up a team that was in turmoil late in the season.
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