In an NFL first, a woman is named a full-time coach with the Buffalo Bills

Rex Ryan

Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan watches the clock during the Bills’ game against the New York Jets on Jan 3.

(Gary Wiepert / AP)

The Buffalo Bills today announced that Kathryn Smith has been named the team’s special teams quality control coach.

Smith is the first female to be named to a full-time coaching position in NFL history.

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” said Bills Coach Rex Ryan. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment.”

He added, “Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years. She has proven that she’s ready for the next step.”


Chip Kelly is introduced by 49ers

Chip Kelly can handle the chatter and criticism, from his own players and otherwise.

Moving West might be among the only major changes he’s planning as the new 49ers coach, with the unrepentant Kelly insisting he is perfectly content letting General Manager Trent Baalke call the shots when it comes to personnel so he can focus on his job: Bringing a sixth Super Bowl trophy back to this franchise.

“I want to just coach football,” Kelly said Wednesday when he was formally introduced at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. “I’m hands-on. I lead with my feet, not with my seat.”


And he’s not ready to name Colin Kaepernick his quarterback — though Kelly likes both Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, who ended the season as San Francisco’s starter.

Kaepernick is recovering from surgery on the thumb of his throwing hand to repair a torn ligament, a procedure on his left knee and an operation on his non-throwing left shoulder to fix a torn labrum. His $11.9-million 2016 contract becomes fully guaranteed for injury April 1 if he’s on the roster.

Fired for the first time in his career by the Eagles after Week 16, Kelly was out of work for all of two weeks before landing a $24-million, four-year contract to coach the 49ers last Thursday. Kelly indicated the Eagles would be responsible for paying about half of the $13 million he was owed for the final two seasons on his contract with Philadelphia.

Asked whether he left a bad taste with players in Philadelphia, Kelly said, “I’m not governed by the fear of what other people say.

“I don’t know if I can be significantly different. I think you have to be yourself in terms of how you do things,” Kelly said. “But we all learn.”

Jed York, chief executive of the 49ers, said he doesn’t plan on hiring another head coach any time soon, saying: “Chip’s going to be here for a long time. Period.”

Kelly is working to finalize his coordinators, with Mike Vrabel expected to be in the mix for the defensive job. Running backs coach Tom Rathman has been retained. Kelly plans to call the plays from the sidelines but doesn’t plan to “micromanage” his coaches.

He won’t tolerate legal run-ins by the 49ers, a problem for this franchise in recent years.


Patriots’ Fleming rescued woman from smoking car

New England Patriots linebacker Darius Fleming didn’t hesitate when he saw a woman trapped in a smoking car: He kicked out the window, enabling her to escape.

But Fleming cut his right leg in the process, and he soon began to worry about how Coach Bill Belichick would react.

However, “I explained the story to him and he said, ‘That was pretty cool. I’m glad you were able to help her.’”

Fleming, 26, said he was on his way home from practice last Thursday when a truck up ahead slowed down to turn, causing a three-car collision behind it. The former Notre Dame and San Francisco 49ers linebacker was behind the third car and pulled over to see if he could help.

What he saw was a woman unable to open her doors or windows as her car began to fill with smoke.

“I saw her panic on her face,” Fleming told reporters.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Chicagoan needed a few kicks to break the passenger side window, cutting his right leg on the glass as he pulled it back out of the car. The woman climbed out safely.


Recounting the story, Fleming said, “Once I got her out of the car, she said ‘Thank you,’ I said ‘You’re welcome,’ and I saw my leg and I got out of there.”

Fleming, a fifth-round draft pick in 2012, needed 22 stitches to close the gash. He played with the injury Saturday in New England’s 27-20 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, filling in when starters Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo were injured.

Browns’ Gordon applies for reinstatement

Suspended Cleveland Browns Josh Gordon has applied to the league for reinstatement, a person with direct knowledge of the process told the Associated Press. Gordon, who was banned for a year in February for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to allow him back, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Gordon failed an alcohol test last year, wiping out the talented receiver’s 2015 season.

According to league policy, Gordon could apply in writing for reinstatement within 60 days of his suspension ending. For Gordon to be reinstated, he will have to demonstrate sustained abstinence during his suspension.

If he can return to the Browns, he will be under contract for 2016 for nearly $1.1 million and can become a restricted free agent following the season.


Ray Horton has been hired as new Browns Coach Hue Jackson’s defensive coordinator, a person familiar with the hiring told the Associated Press. Horton previously worked in Cleveland, running coach Rob Chudzinski’s defense in 2013. ... Indianapolis Colts Coach Chuck Pagano has hired Greg Williams as his defensive backs coach. Williams spent the last seven seasons as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers. ... Bo Hardegree will follow Adam Gase from Chicago to the Miami Dolphins to be their quarterbacks coach.... Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was added to the Pro Bowl roster as an injury replacement for Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

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