Scott Linehan is out as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys only days after coach Jason Garrett sent mixed messages about the future for the oft-criticized assistant.
Garrett said the move was made after he and Linehan had open and positive discussions this week. Linehan, who just completed his fifth season in Dallas, had one more season left on his contract.
“This was very much a mutual decision, and there was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings,” Garrett said. “Scott has had an incredibly positive impact on our football team. He has been instrumental in the development and success of a significant number of our veteran and younger players.”
The Cowboys rebounded after a 3-5 start to win the NFC East. They beat Seattle in a home wild-card game before a 30-22 loss at the Los Angeles Rams last weekend.
The Cowboys averaged 344 total yards and 21.2 points a game, ranking 22nd in the NFL in both categories.
Patriots weak on road
New England remarkably is playing in its eighth straight AFC title game Sunday at Kansas City. The Patriots are seeking their ninth Super Bowl appearance and their sixth Super Bowl title of the Brady-Belichick era.
But there is one small thing: As great as they have been, the Patriots’ dynasty has not traveled all that well. The most dominant team of its era has not been a particularly overwhelming road team during the postseason.
Their triumph over the Chargers last Sunday at Gillette Stadium improved the Patriots’ home postseason record with coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady to 20-3. But they are just 3-4 on the road in the playoffs. Their last playoff road win came in January 2007.
There are other issues. The Patriots were 3-5 on the road during the regular season, compared to 8-0 at home. They also are returning to the site of one of the low points of Brady’s career. The Patriots last played in Kansas City early in the 2014 season. They lost 41-14 in an ugly performance on “Monday Night Football,” and Brady failed to finish the game, being lifted by Belichick in favor of his backup, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Berry expects to play
Chiefs safety Eric Berry sounded confident he’ll be on the field Sunday.
The three-time All-Pro has been a full participant in practice this week after dealing with a heel injury but needs the OK from coach Andy Reid to take the field Sunday night.
Berry tore his Achilles’ tendon in last year’s opener, sidelining him the rest of the season. He returned in time for summer workouts and the start of training camp. But a mysterious heel injury popped up that kept Berry off the field until Week 15 against the Chargers, and his status remains in doubt for Sunday.
• Turk Schonert, who came off the bench and led the Bengals to an opening victory during their first Super Bowl season, died suddenly near his home in South Carolina. Schonert, 62, played eight seasons in Cincinnati and one in Atlanta. He also coached with the Buccaneers, Panthers, Giants and Bills.
• New Browns coach Freddie Kitchens added seven assistants, including Tosh Lupoi, Alabama’s defensive coordinator last season.
• Trent Dilfer, the quarterback who won the 2000 Super Bowl with the Ravens, was hired to coach Lipscomb Academy, a Tennessee high school.