The Carolina Panthers announced the dismissal of Coach John Fox on Friday, signaling the end of a nine-year run in which he led the franchise to its only Super Bowl. Owner Jerry Richardson said the contracts of Fox and the rest of his staff wouldn't be renewed after Sunday's game at Atlanta.
Fox said he expected the firing. "It's not new," he said. "It's something I've been preparing for actually for a couple of years."
Fox was first denied a contract extension after the 2008 season. He entered the last year of his deal this fall after the Panthers began a youth movement that's left them an NFL-worst 2-13.
A rift had developed between Richardson and Fox since Carolina's 33-13 loss to Arizona in the team's last playoff game in January 2009. Fox was more vocal this season in showing displeasure for several personnel moves that left the Panthers short on experience and talent.
Fox, 55, who is making more than $6 million this season, is 78-73 in Carolina, which includes the franchise's only Super Bowl appearance after the 2003 season. But the Panthers have never had consecutive winning seasons under Fox, who inherited a 1-15 team from George Seifert in 2002.
Kubiak expected to keep job
Gary Kubiak is expected to coach the Houston Texans for a sixth season in 2011 after leading the team to a 5-10 record so far this season, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Texans owner Bob McNair thinks the offense, which averages 379 yards per game, is on the right track under Kubiak and expects to hire a big-name defensive coordinator this off-season, the Chronicle said. The Houston defense has given up 29.2 points per game, third most in the league. The team hasn't reached the playoffs in Kubiak's five seasons as coach.
McNair would like the defensive coordinator to be Wade Phillips, the Chronicle said. Phillips was fired as coach of the Dallas Cowboys in November. To make room for Phillips, McNair is expected to fire defensive coordinator Frank Bush, according to the Chronicle.
Mangini, Holmgren to discuss future
The Browns end the season Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mangini's Browns are 5-10, and the team went 5-11 last season, Mangini's first in Cleveland after being fired as coach of the New York Jets.
Weis may be Miami-bound
Kansas City Chiefs Coach Todd Haley said he had no knowledge of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis possibly taking a similar job with the University of Florida. Various media reports said Weis might leave the Chiefs for Florida after this season.
Favre doubtful for finale
The Minnesota Vikings declared Brett Favre doubtful to play at Detroit because of lingering effects of a concussion.
Favre wore his red quarterback jersey, but he didn't have a helmet on and didn't participate in drills during Friday's practice. Interim Coach Leslie Frazier declined to address whether Favre has passed the post-concussion testing required by the league to return to action.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (knee) was listed as probable, but wide receiver Sidney Rice hadn't passed post-concussion tests and was listed as doubtful to face Detroit.
Vick unlikely for Sunday
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is unlikely to play against the Dallas Cowboys after he missed a second straight day of practice.
The Eagles listed Vick as questionable on their official injury report. Sunday's home game has no significance to Philadelphia's playoff status. Kevin Kolb, who has started four games, would start if Vick can't go.
Sanchez will start
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez took it easy in practice and might do the same against the Buffalo Bills. Sanchez was limited Friday with a sore right shoulder, but will start Sunday. Coach Rex Ryan said Sanchez probably wouldn't play for long. …
Jon Kitna is listed as questionable for the Dallas Cowboys' season finale. … Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was limited in practice Friday in his first work of the week, leaving open the possibility he could play Sunday against St. Louis. … Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco will miss the Bengals' final game because of a bad left ankle that needs surgery. … Texans receiver Andre Johnson will miss Houston's season finale against Jacksonville and will have arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle next week. … New York Giants Pro Bowl center Shaun O'Hara (foot), receiver Hakeem Nicks ( toe) and defensive lineman Dave Tollefson (knee) will not play Sunday. … Detroit placed linebacker Landon Johnson on injured reserve with a concussion. … Darren McFadden (toe) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) are questionable for Oakland's game at Kansas City. … Miami placed linebacker Karlos Dansby (toe) on injured reserve and ruled out tight end Anthony Fasano (knee) and tackle Lydon Murtha ( head injury) for Sunday's game at New England. … The Green Bay Packers ruled out defensive end Cullen Jenkins (calf) and linebacker Frank Zombo (knee) for Sunday. … Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not play in the team's finale at Houston because of a knee injury. Coach Jack Del Rio also ruled out linebacker Justin Durant (groin) and tight end Zach Miller (concussion). … Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu practiced for the first time in three weeks, leaving his status for Pittsburgh's game in Cleveland uncertain. Polamalu missed the last two games with a right Achilles' tendon injury. The team's medical staff wants to see how he responds to Friday's practice before deciding whether he can play Sunday. … Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis missed his third practice in a row because of sore ribs. The Browns remained optimistic that Hillis will play Sunday against Pittsburgh.