Report: 49ers' Singletary to get multi-year offer
San Francisco 49ers officials plan on removing the interim label from coach Mike Singletary and offering him a multi-year contract, according to a Sacramento Bee source. The offer likely will be made immediately after the team's season finale Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The Rooney Rule prevents teams from signing interim coaches to new deals during the season. Because Singletary, a former Ravens assistant, is a minority, however, the 49ers do not have to go through a formal interview process at season's end. When he was hired in October, Singletary asked owner Jed York what he would need to do to keep the job for 2009. The answer: Show progress, which Singletary has done by doubling the number of wins his predecessor, former Ravens assistant Mike Nolan, had before being fired. The lone obstacle that remained for Singletary was articulating his vision, especially for the offense, for the next few years. The Bee said he cleared that hurdle Monday during a meeting with team officials. Under Singletary, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky would be retained for next season. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz however, would not. Martz's pass-first philosophy is at odds with the ball-control type of offense that Singletary wants to run.
RAMS: : Team president John Shaw resigned after 29 years with the franchise, and Billy Devaney was promoted to general manager. The two moves in a front office overhaul by a franchise that has been among the NFL's worst the past few seasons followed the resignation Monday of Jay Zygmunt as president of football operations. The Rams are 2-13 heading into Sunday's finale at Atlanta, and are 5-26 the past two seasons. Shaw will be retained as a senior adviser and owner's representative. Devaney, who has 23 years of NFL scouting experience, will be responsible for all player personnel decisions.
PATRIOTS:: Wes Welker has been fined $10,000 for making a snow angel after scoring a touchdown Sunday. Welker, who leads the league with 109 receptions, fell to the ground on his back just behind the end zone and brushed both arms and legs back and forth in the snow after catching an 11-yard pass. The NFL imposed the penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, specifically for participating in an illegal demonstration by going to the ground after his touchdown.
JETS: : Quarterback Brett Favre, 39, insisted he hasn't decided whether he'll return to New York next season but said the health of his shoulder could be a factor. "I think the ending physical, or whatever, that every player goes through after the last game will kind of maybe shed some light on some things," he said. "So we'll see." His arm strength doesn't appear to be what it was earlier this season, and that has led to speculation his right shoulder may be ailing.
PANTHERS:: Carolina was without both starting defensive tackles at practice, ahead of its regular-season finale against the league's top offense. Maake Kemoeatu, a former Raven who missed Sunday's loss to the Giants with a sprained right ankle, rode a stationary bike during the workout. Damione Lewis, who injured his shoulder against the Giants, also sat out. That could leave the Panthers with Darwin Walker and rookie Nick Hayden as the starters against the high-scoring Saints in a game Carolina needs to win to secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
BENGALS:: Carson Palmer was encouraged by the way his elbow reacted to a day of limited practice, leaving the quarterback more confident he can avoid reconstructive surgery. Palmer joined the team for seven-on-seven drills Tuesday and threw about 30 passes, including several long ones. He tore a ligament and tendon in the third game of the season when his arm was hit while he threw a pass. "We'll evaluate it after we get through this week and see what happens there," he said.
COLTS:: Coach Tony Dungy has ruled three players out of Sunday's regular-season finale, a list that could grow by week's end. Dungy said middle linebacker Gary Brackett, outside linebacker Freddy Keiaho and running back Dominic Rhodes will not play against the Titans. Brackett has missed three straight games since cracking a bone in his lower right leg and is the only one who would be held out for medical reasons. Keiaho and Rhodes likely would play if it were a playoff game.
GIANTS:: A small cache of weapons and ammunition and the pants and sneakers that Plaxico Burress wore when he accidentally shot himself last month have been seized from the New Jersey home of the wide eceiver, police said. A 9-mm handgun, a .30-06-caliber rifle and ammunition, including a clip for a .45 gun, were taken from Burress' home in Totowa, N.J., by authorities executing a search warrant Tuesday afternoon, police said. Investigators are trying to determine whether the weapons are registered.
COWBOYS:: Quarterback Tony Romo missed practice with flulike symptoms. "We think he'll be back tomorrow," coach Wade Phillips said.
Francis dealt to Grizzlies for conditional pick
Oft-injured guard Steve Francis (Maryland) was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Memphis Grizzlies for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2011. The Grizzlies also receive a second-round pick for 2009 and cash. That pick originally belonged to Memphis; it was acquired by the Rockets during last year's draft, part of the deal that brought forward Donte Greene (Towson Catholic) to Houston. Greene was later traded to Sacramento as part of the trade that brought Ron Artest to the Rockets. Francis, who has not played this season, was a fan favorite during his previous stint with Houston from 1999 to 2004. He was an All-Star from 2001-02 to 2003-04 and led the Rockets to the playoffs in 2004.
HEAT:: When Dwyane Wade heard the plight of a South Florida woman whose nephew accidentally burned down her home - and ruined all the family's possessions - the Heat star knew he had to do something. So he replaced the house. Wade presented Dawn Smith with the ultimate Christmas gift - the keys to a new home, along with some furnishings, clothing and gifts to make sure her family has a joyous holiday.
LAKERS: : Jordan Farmar underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, and the backup point guard is expected to be out about eight weeks.
Notre Dame beats Hawaii, ends bowl losing streak
Jimmy Clausen set a Notre Dame bowl record with 406 passing yards and five touchdowns to help the Fighting Irish win a postseason game for the first time in 15 years, 49-21, over Hawaii (7-7) in the Hawaii Bowl. Golden Tate had six catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns, also Notre Dame bowl records, including a 69-yarder that sparked a 28-point outburst for the Irish (7-6), who ended their NCAA-record nine-game bowl losing streak convincingly.
Baseball: : Outfielder Kevin Mench signed a one-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. Mench, 30, hit .243 in 51 games for the Blue Jays last season. ... The Yankees have reached an agreement with catcher Kevin Cash on a minor league contract.