Around the NFL: Chiefs hire USC running backs coach Deland McCullough

Deland McCullough will be the Chiefs new running backs coach.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The Chiefs hired USC running backs coach Deland McCullough on Friday to perform the same job in place of Eric Bieniemy, who was promoted to offensive coordinator.

McCullough spent six seasons with Indiana before coaching the Trojans’ running backs last season. USC was 39th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 185.1 yards rushing per game, up from 42nd the previous season but down from 201.1 yards per game.

The Chiefs, behind rookie NFL rushing leader Kareem Hunt, were No. 9 in rushing this season with 118.9 yards.

Bears fill out staff


The Chicago Bears hired former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich as offensive coordinator, while Vic Fangio is returning as defensive coordinator after being passed up for the head coaching job in favor of Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.

The Bears also announced Chris Tabor will become special teams coordinator and Charles London will take over as running backs coach.

Helfrich led Oregon to a 37-16 record in four seasons as head coach after serving as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 2009-12 under Chip Kelly. With their fast-paced and prolific spread-option offense, the Ducks went 46-7 in that span.

Helfrich didn’t call plays as Oregon’s offensive coordinator and won’t in Chicago; Nagy plans to do that.


Browns overhaul

Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson overhauled his staff after going 0-16, hiring former New York Giants wide receivers coach Adam Henry for the same role and former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese to coach quarterbacks. Both previously coached under Jackson.

The team also parted ways with run game coordinator/running backs coach Kirby Wilson, special teams coordinator Tabor, quarterbacks coach David Lee, special teams assistant Shawn Mennenga and special teams quality control coach Stan Watson.

Jackson is still weighing whether to add an offensive coordinator after also having that role past two seasons. He interviewed Houston Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for the job this week. Also, Jackson has a new consultant in former wide receivers coach Al Saunders, whose new title will be senior assistant/special projects.


Bills fire OC

The Buffalo Bills fired offensive coordinator Rick Dennison after the team finished 29th in offense.

Buffalo topped 300 yards just nine times in 17 games and scored only eight touchdowns in its last seven games. Dennison’s play-calling was questioned after Buffalo scored just three points in the franchise’s first playoff game in 18 years.

Davis: one more go


Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis says next season will be his last.

Davis, 34, has spent his entire 13-year career with the Panthers. A two-time Pro Bowler, he said he made his decision when the team signed him to an extension through 2018 instead of 2019.

Brown sick

Pittsburgh Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown, out since Dec. 17 with an injured calf, was sent home sick from practice Friday and is questionable for Sunday’s playoff game against Jacksonville.



Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer refuted a report that quarterback Sam Bradford will come off injured reserve and suit up Sunday against New Orleans. Bradford has been out since Oct. 9 and is recovering from knee surgery. ... Saints receiver Brandon Coleman (neck) has been ruled out.