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Cowboys End the Guessing, Fire Gailey After Two Years

From Associated Press

Chan Gailey was fired as coach of the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday, two days after the team was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

“This decision I had to make is about football,” owner Jerry Jones said in Irving, Texas. “It wasn’t about egos. It wasn’t about contentiousness.”

Jones did not give a specific reason for firing Gailey, 48, but said it would take too much time and energy to get “everyone on the same page” for next season. Quarterback Troy Aikman reportedly was frustrated with Gailey’s offense.

Gailey, who came to Dallas after being the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, led the Cowboys to an 18-14 record in two regular seasons, but the team was eliminated from the playoffs in the first round both years.

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Gailey, the fourth coach in the team’s 40-year history and the third that Jones has hired, leaves with the dubious distinction of being the first without a Super Bowl victory. His tenure also was the shortest.

There was no immediate word on a replacement. Washington Coach Norv Turner, a former Dallas offensive coordinator, is beloved by many players--especially Aikman--but he is under contract with the Redskins.

Jones is likely to seek an offensive-minded coach. Other possibilities include St. Louis Ram offensive coordinator Mike Martz and Denver’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Gary Kubiak.

Gailey, believed to be among the NFL’s lowest-paid coaches at $500,000 a season, has three years left on his contract.

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The NFL issued a record $154,000 in fines to 23 players after a melee during Saturday’s Redskin-Detroit Lion playoff game.

Redskin guard Tre’ Johnson, who struck an official after order had been restored, received the biggest punishment: a $50,000 fine and a one-game suspension for the first game of next season.

Johnson, however, will be allowed to play in the Redskins’ playoff game Saturday at Tampa Bay.

The melee started when Redskin quarterback Brad Johnson wrestled with Lion defensive end Robert Porcher over what he called a “cheap shot’ after an interception.

Johnson was fined $12,500 for fighting. Porcher was fined $10,000 for fighting. Five other players were fined $7,500 for fighting.

Four Redskins were fined $5,000 for coming off the bench. Others were fined $3,000 or $1,500 for “unnecessarily entering a fight area.”

The fines surpassed the $145,500 issued to 35 Pittsburgh and Houston players for a fight at Three Rivers Stadium on Nov. 16, 1996.

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Quarterback Mark Brunell of the Jacksonville Jaguars practiced for the first time since spraining his knee Dec. 26. Brunell said the knee was at about 95% and he expects to play Saturday against the Miami Dolphins. . . . Bruce DeHaven was fired as Buffalo’s special-teams coach, three days after his unit gave up the controversial game-winning kickoff return for a touchdown in the Bills’ playoff loss to Tennessee. . . . Jevon Kearse, the Tennessee Titan defensive end who had a rookie record of 14 1/2 sacks, earned all but one vote as Associated Press defensive rookie of the year from a nationwide panel of 50 media members. Washington cornerback Champ Bailey received the other vote. . . . Green Bay Packer receivers Antonio Freeman and Charles Jordan were charged with misdemeanor obstruction for allegedly lying to police about a traffic accident that injured a female passenger. They each face up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted. Freeman had told officers he was not driving during the Dec. 22 accident, but after a witness came forward, the players acknowledged that Freeman, and not Jordan, was behind the wheel.


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