B. Stoops shoots down rumors about Broncos

The Baltimore Sun

It's becoming an annual event: A prime coaching job opens up and Bob Stoops' name lands on the supposed short list of candidates, only for him to say he's happy at Oklahoma.

The latest supposed will-he-or-won't-he scenario: Stoops to the Denver Broncos?

Not happening, Stoops said yesterday after his team practiced at Barry University, just a few miles south of the site of Thursday's Bowl Championship Series title game between his Sooners and the Florida Gators.

"What situation? That's a rumor that I have not heard, and no one has contacted me about that so I don't know anything about it," Stoops said. "We're preparing for a national championship. That's all my focus, all my concentration is on that, so obviously I'm not a candidate. I'm sure someone might have told me ... if I was."

The Broncos fired Mike Shanahan on Tuesday after 14 seasons.

"There's no story," Stoops said. "I'm not a candidate. This is the first I've heard about it."

The search for Shanahan's successor took Denver's brass to the East Coast for weekend interviews.

Owner Pat Bowlen, chief operating officer Joe Ellis and personnel chief Jim Goodman jetted off to New York yesterday for a dinner meeting with Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who also interviewed about the Jets' coaching vacancy. The executives will have a conversation today with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

They will return to Denver for interviews this week with Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

Also, the first internal candidate emerged when offensive coordinator Rick Dennison asked for an interview this week.

Ravens: : Pro personnel director George Kokinis is considered "the likely favorite" to become the Browns' general manager if Eric Mangini is hired as head coach, ESPN reported.

Kokinis did not returns calls from The Baltimore Sun, and the Ravens would not confirm whether the Browns had sought permission to talk to him.

Lions: : Fired Detroit president Matt Millen, the architect of the NFL's first 0-16 team, said he's responsible for its historic encounter with failure.

Appearing on NBC's Football Night in America, Millen said he would have fired himself after the 2008 season. He said that being sacked after the third week cost the Lions and coach Rod Marinelli some needed stability and consistency.

Detroit went 31-84 under Millen, a Super Bowl-winning linebacker lured out of the broadcast booth by team owner William Clay Ford in 2001.

Millen said the Lions have more talent than they're given credit for, and he thinks they could improve quickly. He cites two playoff teams, the Falcons and Dolphins, who had four wins and one win, respectively, in 2007.

Jurisprudence: : Former Giant Mark Ingram was arrested in Michigan, nearly a month after he disappeared on the day he was scheduled to begin serving a prison sentence for bank fraud and money laundering.

U.S. marshals tracked the retired wide receiver to a hotel room in Flint, Mich., after a manhunt that began when he failed to turn up at a federal prison in Kentucky on Dec. 5.

Timothy Hogan, a spokesman for the Marshals Service in New York, said Ingram was arrested Friday without incident. The hotel wasn't far from Ingram's home in Grand Blanc, Mich.

Ingram, who has been in and out of jail since his playing career ended in 1996, pleaded guilty in 2005 to cashing counterfeit checks and laundering money he believed to be proceeds from narcotics deals.

Before his flight, the January 1991 Super Bowl standout had sought to delay the start of his nearly eight-year prison term so he could watch his son's freshman season as a running back at Alabama.

Vikings:: Fans purchased more than 20,000 tickets over six days, assuring there will be no local TV blackout when Minnesota plays Philadelphia at the Metrodome today in the playoffs.

The Vikings announced the sales results yesterday for the wild-card playoff game with the Eagles. The team said a limited number of tickets were still available, including some returned by the Eagles.

The NFL on Friday had given Minnesota an extension until yesterday to sell the remaining 3,100 tickets.

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