DALLAS — Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says coach Jason Garrett will return for an eighth full season after Dallas missed the playoffs in a year marred by the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Jones said on his radio show Tuesday that Garrett’s job “is not an issue here at all” while suggesting that there could be changes to the coaching staff with several contracts expiring. Garrett has two years left on a five-year deal signed after Dallas won the NFC East in 2014.
The Cowboys (8-7), who finish the season Sunday at division champion Philadelphia, lost their first three games without Elliott before winning three straight to stay in the race. Dallas lost a playoff elimination game to Seattle last weekend in the return of last year’s NFL rushing leader.
Garrett has made the playoffs twice in seven seasons. He is 67-55 including the postseason and half the 2010 season, when he took over after Wade Phillips was fired (see full story).
Patriots: Team signs longtime Steelers LB Harrison
James Harrison is no longer the odd man out or the oldest man in the locker room.
The ex-Steelers star signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday, three days after his unceremonious departure from Pittsburgh.
The 39-year-old linebacker posted a photo on Instagram showing himself with 40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady in New England’s locker room, writing that he finally has “a teammate that’s older than me!”
The AFC North champion Steelers released the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker and 2008 NFL defensive player of the year on Saturday to make room for right tackle Marcus Gilbert, who is returning from a suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy.
“We make the decisions we feel give us the very best chance to win,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday when asked why the team didn’t release a different player to make room for Gilbert. “We needed the people we kept. We needed to activate Marcus Gilbert. Really, it’s nothing more than that.”
A day before, Tomlin had said following Pittsburgh’s 34-6 win over Houston that clinched a first-round playoff bye that difficult decisions such as this are “just life in football” (see full story).
Redskins: Cousins to start in season finale
WASHINGTON — Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that quarterback Kirk Cousins would start Sunday’s season finale at the New York Giants despite the potential of an injury and no postseason ramifications involved.
“There’s no thought to that at all,” Gruden said on a conference call two days after the Redskins’ 27-11 win over the Denver Broncos.
“Kirk wants to finish out the season. Got to get us back to 8-8. I think finishing on a three-game winning streak is important to a lot of people here. Finishing strong is what we’ve been preaching here the last 2 to 3 weeks.”
Whether Cousins plays for the Redskins in 2018 and beyond is one of the NFL’s major offseason questions.
Cousins has played the past two seasons on the franchise tag. The Redskins could go that route again unless the sides agree on a long-term contract or the organization allows Cousins to test free agency. Cousins needs 65 yards against New York to reach 4,000 for a third consecutive season.
Cousins, who has 27 touchdown passes on the season, started all 47 games since taking over as the starter in 2015.
With a win, the Redskins (7-8) would finish with a non-losing season for the third consecutive year under Gruden. Washington has only reached the playoffs once (2015) during the coach’s four seasons.
Cardinals: Arians denies report he’s leaving team
TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says a report that he and the franchise have agreed to part ways after this season is untrue, labeling it “fake news.”
An article in Pro Football Weekly cited “multiple sources” as saying the split would come next week at the end of Arians’ fifth season as the team’s head coach.
But Arians said on Tuesday that no decision on future seasons has been made. The 65-year-old coach said he’d never met the article’s author or knows where any supposed meetings on the subject took place.
Arians can become the winningest coach in Cardinals history with his 50th victory at Seattle in the season finale on Sunday.
Arians is 49-32-1 in five seasons with the Cardinals, including the postseason. They are 7-8 this season.
Packers: Fired food worker charged in Lambeau car rampage
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A fired food service worker is charged with ramming other vehicles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last week.
Forty-year-old Chay Vang was charged Tuesday with two felony counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and five misdemeanor counts of damage to property. USA Today Network-Wisconsin reports Vang’s cash bond was set at $10,000.
According to the complaint, Vang was working for Delaware North at Lambeau Field when he got into a fight with a 25-year-old co-worker during a Green Bay Packers game on Dec. 3.
The complaint says Delaware North investigated and fired Vang. The former co-worker was getting out of his car in the employee parking lot last Friday when Vang allegedly drove into the car and repeatedly smashed it.
Five vehicles were damaged. Vang told police he rammed the car because “he wanted justice” and no one was listening to him.