Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 12, 2014

Sports in Brief: 01/12/2014

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Appearing in studio on “NFL Total Access,” Detroit Lions veteran wide receiver Nate Burleson talked about what went wrong in the 2013 season as the Lions lost six of their last seven games and the qualifications he desires in a new head coach.

“Someone with some experience, some wisdom. Someone that can demand respect,” Burleson said, as reported by the Detroit News. “It’s not necessarily important if you were a head coach before, but just that you have years, that you have a clear understanding about the game of football.

“And the reason I say that is because you have, one, a lot of veterans. But, two, more importantly you’ve got very talented young guys. You have a Matt Stafford, you have (Ndamukong) Suh, you have Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush and these guys are elite in their talent level, but they still want to learn, they still have that yearning for it. So Calvin wants to come in every day and know that I can get better, and that’s a challenge in itself to be able to come in and have to teach the best receiver in the world.”

While Burleson said having head coaching experience isn’t a prerequisite, it appears the Lions’ brass thinks it is a necessity. Since firing coach Jim Schwartz two weeks ago, the front office has interviewed four candidates who all have head coaching experience.

The Lions interviewed Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt on Thursday night in San Diego; he was Arizona’s head coach from 2007-12. They’ve also interviewed Jim Caldwell, Ravens offensive coordinator and former Colts head coach, and Gary Kubiak and Mike Munchak, who were fired by the Texans and Titans, respectively, this season.

Burleson also explained there wasn’t one particular reason the Lions fell apart after a 6-3 start this season.

“The best way I could describe it is we didn’t make the plays that postseason, championship teams make during the game,” he said. “It seemed routinely every week we had a chance to not stay in games but extend leads and put games away, and we just didn’t do that. And that was on offense, defense and special teams.


PATRIOTS: New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes was placed on season-ending injured reserve partly because he was late for practice last week, league sources told ESPN.

TITANS: The Tennessee Titans have taken their coaching search on the road to San Diego with Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt preparing for a divisional playoff game. The Titans confirmed Saturday morning that they finished interviewing Whisenhunt on Friday night. The Detroit Lions are among other teams to have interviewed Whisenhunt.

TEXANS: Romeo Crennel is reportedly going to be hired by Houston as its defensive coordinator, according to ESPN.

FALCONS: The Atlanta Falcons have hired Bryan Cox from Tampa Bay as defensive line coach. Cox replaces Ray Hamilton, who was fired after a 4-12 season.

BRONCOS: Three people who were stabbed in a parking lot at the Denver Broncos’ stadium say they have been banned from attending games for a year even though one of them already bought two playoff tickets for $750 each. The Denver Post reports Jordan Trujillo, Mathew DeHerrera and Joshua DeHerrera also have been banned from tailgating in the Broncos parking lot. The men were stabbed Dec. 12 during a fight over a near fender-bender.


MISSOURI: Receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested in southwest Missouri after an officer found about a pound of marijuana in the vehicle he was in with two other men. Green-Beckham, a sophomore who led No. 5 Missouri in receptions last season, and the other men were released without formal charges after their arrest late Friday, Springfield police said in a statement. Last season, he had 59 receptions with a 15-yard average and 12 touchdowns.


WIZARDS: The Verizon Center sprung a leak, causing a delay in Saturday’s game between the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. Play was halted with 11:51 to go in the second quarter because water was dripping onto the court.


SABRES: Buffalo prospect Mikhail Grigorenko will not report to the Quebec Remparts after Buffalo assigned its former first round pick to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League club on Saturday. Grigorenko’s agent, Jay Grossman, confirmed that the center will not report, but did not provide additional details in a text message to the Associated Press. The 19-year-old Grigorenko has been unhappy to not be staying with the NHL team after recently returning from the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden, where he lead Russia to the bronze medal with eight points in seven games.


ROCKIES: Colorado slugger Carlos Gonzalez is recovering at a Denver hospital from an emergency appendectomy.