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For the second time in three years, Chad Pennington is The Associated Press 2008 NFL comeback player of the year. The Miami quarterback became the first player in the 11 seasons of the award to win it twice.
"This time last year, I'm getting ready to watch the ball drop in Times Square. No playoffs, no starting job, no anything," Pennington said, reflecting on the end of his 2007 season with the New York Jets. "Now here we are playing in a wild-card playoff game with a team that was 1-15 the year before."
Pennington, who won the award in 2006 as a Jet, received 19 of 50 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Quarterbacks Kerry Collins of Tennessee and Jake Delhomme of Carolina had six votes each.
COWBOYS FIRE SPECIAL-TEAMS COACHDallas fired special-teams coach Bruce Read after two seasons with the Cowboys. Sources told ESPN that the Cowboys could hire Joe DeCamillis, who has been an NFL special-teams coach for 16 seasons, the past two with the Jaguars.
'A LOT OF RESENTMENT' AROUND FAVREIf Brett Favre wants to play another year with the Jets, he'll have to work a lot harder to win over his teammates. "There was a lot of resentment in the room about him," an anonymous Jet told Newsday. ... The Jets received permission to speak with Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for their vacant coaching job.
ELSEWHEREBrowns owner Randy Lerner interviewed Scott Pioli, New England's vice president of player personnel, to be Cleveland's general manager. Pioli has been Bill Belichick's right-hand man with the Patriots for nine years. ... A year after pushing his injured knee too hard in practice and then paying for it during the AFC championship game, San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson is being more cautious about his groin injury before Saturday's playoff against Indianapolis. He sat out practice Wednesday and plans to take it easy today. ... Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's concussion was described as "mild" or "low-grade," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He is likely to start Pittsburgh's first playoff game, according to the report. ... After sitting out the last two games with a shoulder injury, Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin said he felt fine and would play against Atlanta. ... 49ers coach Mike Singletary fired quarterbacks coach Ted Tollner and running-backs coach Tony Nathan. ... The NFL gave the Vikings and Cardinals extensions to sell more tickets and avoid local TV blackouts of their playoff games.