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NFL notebook: Analysts in a tiff

Associated Press

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Warren Sapp was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year, and Michael Strahan is among the favorites to join him when this year’s class is voted upon Saturday.

But if Sapp, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, had any say in it — which he does not — his fellow defensive lineman would have to continue waiting.

“I don’t think his resume stacks up when you put Tony Dungy, Walter Jones, Marvin Harrison and Derrick Brooks up,” the NFL Network analyst told Newsday. “Those are four first-ballot hall of famers.”

Strahan, appearing later with fellow Fox analysts, declined to return fire but did say, “I don’t respond to him because the tiger does not pay attention to the opinion of a sheep.”

Strahan and Sapp have a history dating to at least 2002, when the summer after Strahan, playing for the New York Giants, set the single-season sack record at 22 ½ on what appeared to be a dive by Packers quarterback Brett Favre, Sapp called the record a “travesty” and Strahan called Sapp “a jackass.”

RAMS FIRING — The St. Louis Rams fired defensive coordinator Tim Walton on Wednesday after finishing in the middle of the pack in his one season. Coach Jeff Fisher, who said after the season ended that he didn’t anticipate any coaching changes, announced the move and wished Walton well. Walton spent four years as the secondary coach in Detroit before he was hired last year by the Rams.

TITANS FILL POSITIONS — The Tennessee Titans’ Ken Whisenhunt still has positions to fill on his coaching staff, but he introduced his coordinators, Jason Michael and Ray Horton. The coordinators, along with the other assistants Whisenhunt has hired so far, have been trying to get familiar with the Titans by watching video of the 6-10 season that got Mike Munchak fired on Jan. 4. Whisenhunt, hired Jan. 13, replaced nine coaches from Munchak’s staff. Horton was his defensive coordinator in Arizona the final two years of Whisenhunt’s tenure as coach, and Whisenhunt worked with Michael in San Diego. Horton went from Arizona to Cleveland in 2013 where he coached the Browns to the eighth-stingiest unit against the pass in his lone season.

JOINING BILLS — The Buffalo Bills hired Jim Hostler to work as a senior offensive assistant coach. With 14 years of NFL coaching experience, including the past six as Baltimore’s receivers coach, Hostler also spent three seasons as an assistant in San Francisco, including 2007 as the 49ers offensive coordinator.

STEINBERG BACK — Back in the agent business, Leigh Steinberg’s first new football client is Southern Methodist quarterback Garrett Gilbert, the son of former NFL quarterback Gale Gilbert. Steinberg was Gale Gilbert’s agent and also represents SMU coach June Jones. This is the first time Steinberg, the real-life inspiration for Jerry Maguire, has represented the son of a former client. A powerful agent since 1975, Steinberg had an all-star stable of clients. He battled alcoholism and bankruptcy, and let his agent certification lapse. After getting sober and clearing bankruptcy, he was recertified by the NFL Players Association last fall and launched Steinberg Sports and Entertainment.

HOSTING AWARDS — NFL playoff opponents Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton, quarterbacks for the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers, will share the stage for Cartoon Network’s fourth annual Hall of Game Awards, which air Feb. 17. Viewers vote for their favorite sports stars and moments of the year. Previous hosts include Tony Hawk and Shaquille O’Neal.


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