CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears plan to keep General Manager Ryan Pace and Coach Matt Nagy for at least another season.

The team opted against sweeping changes in leadership after the Bears slipped into the playoffs despite going 8-8 for the second year in a row, chairman George McCaskey said Wednesday.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Bears’ wild-card loss at New Orleans on Sunday, their second playoff appearance in three years. Chicago won the NFC North at 12-4 in 2018 – Nagy’s first season.

The Bears have two playoff appearances and a 42-54 regular-season record in six years under Pace, while Nagy is 28-20. They have not won in the postseason since the 2010 team played in the NFC championship game.

There was speculation Pace or Nagy could be on their way out when the Bears lost six in a row this season – their worst skid since 2002. Chicago regrouped by winning three straight against struggling teams before closing the regular season with a 35-16 loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

The Bears made the playoffs because Arizona lost to the Los Angeles Rams. Chicago then got knocked out in convincing fashion by Drew Brees and the Saints.

EAGLES: Philadelphia won’t be penalized after the NFL looked into the way the team handled its quarterback decisions in the final regular-season game against Washington, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to reveal the conversations.

Doug Pederson, who was fired by Philadelphia on Monday, removed Jalen Hurts for third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a 20-14 loss on Jan. 3. The Eagles trailed by a field goal when Sudfeld, who hadn’t thrown a pass since 2018, entered. He was picked off on his second attempt and also lost a fumble.

Washington (7-10) secured the NFC East title with the victory and the New York Giants (6-10) were eliminated. Giants players and their fans were angry that Pederson benched Hurts, feeling the Eagles tanked. The loss gave Philadelphia the sixth pick in the draft instead of the ninth.

“To disrespect the effort that everyone put forward to make this season a success for the National Football League, to disrespect the game by going out there and not competing for 60 minutes and doing everything you can to help those players win, we will never do that as long as I’m the head coach of the New York Giants,” Giants Coach Joe Judge said.

PATRIOTS: Inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is expected to interview for Philadelphia’s head-coaching vacancy, according to an NFL Network report.

This will be Mayo’s first interview for a head coaching job. Mayo, 34, played for the Patriots from 2008-15 and made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team, before returning to the organization as an assistant two years ago.

Mayo is one of the fastest-rising Patriots assistants ever under Bill Belichick. In October 2019, he revealed he wants to become a head coach one day.

“I would be lying if I said I never wanted to be a head coach. I know it’s a long way away,” Mayo said. “Just trying to learn as much as I can from Coach (Bill) Belichick and the rest of the staff. I try to pick the offensive coaches’ minds, as well. I’m trying to just get this all-encompassing view of the game. It’s been great.”

Mayo is the first New England assistant to receive an interview request for a head coach position this offseason. The team already lost director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who last week was named the Texans’ general manager.

BROWNS: Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland’s rookie coach, said he’s on track to return to the team Thursday for playoff preparations after missing Sunday’s wild-card win in Pittsburgh with COVID-19.

Stefanski jokingly called himself “probable” when asked if he’ll be back as the Browns get ready to face the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Stefanski, 38, tested positive last week and couldn’t be with his team when the Browns won their first playoff game in 26 years by upsetting the Steelers.

Stefanski watched the game from his home’s basement in Rocky River, Ohio, and admitted to pacing in front of the TV during the telecast. Stefanski said he’s lost his sense of taste but had mostly mild symptoms during his illness.

Cleveland activated cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Kevin Johnson from the COVID-19 list. Also, offensive line coach Bill Callahan returned to the team after being one of four assistants sidelined by the virus.

Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio remains in isolation, but the Browns are hoping to get him back in the next day or two.

BRONCOS: John Elway’s replacement as general manager will be Vikings executive George Paton. Elway announced the hiring Wednesday. Denver hasn’t reached the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50 five years ago.

Paton spent the last 14 seasons with Minnesota, including the last six as vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager. He’s been one of the hottest names on the GM circuit in recent years.

Elway called Paton “a proven evaluator who knows every detail of leading football operations.” Paton will report to Elway, who is keeping his role as president of football operations.

JAGUARS: The head coaching search is in a holding pattern because the teams is waiting for Urban Meyer to decide if he wants to return to coaching.

Although it could change, the Jaguars have no other interviews scheduled for this week. And Meyer remains the only candidate to be interviewed in-person by owner Shad Khan, which occurred Friday on his yacht.


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