Chiefs hire Pats' Pioli to be general manager



Scott Pioli, who helped build and lead a dynasty in New England, is now in charge of a Kansas City franchise that hasn't won a playoff game in 14 years. Pioli, 43, will be introduced today as Chiefs general manager, replacing Carl Peterson. "He will have complete charge of football operations," said Ryan Petkoff, an assistant to Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt. "He will report only to Clark." The fate of coach Herm Edwards and his staff was not known. Pioli became vice president of player personnel for the Patriots in 2002 and spent nine years working with coach Bill Belichick. He inherits a young team coming off a 2-14 season.

Broncos: : Former 49ers coach Mike Nolan agreed to become Denver's fourth defensive coordinator in four years. Nolan is a former Ravens defensive coordinator.


Colts: : Associate head coach Jim Caldwell, 53, was introduced as head coach Tony Dungy's replacement. Caldwell has a four-year deal, but team owner Jim Irsay would not disclose the financial details.

Giants: : A civil trial is scheduled to begin today in Pennsylvania to determine how much receiver Plaxico Burress will have to pay in damages for a car he leased before it was impounded by New York City police. Court papers say Burress leased a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche worth more than $36,000 from a Lebanon County car dealer in exchange for promises to appear at publicity events. But the civil complaint filed by car dealer Frederick Laurenzo says Burress didn't return the car or show up to sign autographs.

Et cetera:: A federal judge upheld a jury award of $28.1 million to retired football players who sued the NFL Players' Association for allegedly failing to properly market their images. ... Bears coach Lovie Smith will take over defensive play-calling responsibilities from defensive coordinator Bob Babich next season. ... The Lions interviewed Miami defensive backs coach Todd Bowles for their vacant head coaching job. ... Houston promoted Frank Bush, the team's senior defensive assistant, to defensive coordinator.

Crabtree, Maybin to enter NFL draft

col. football

Two-time All-America receiver Michael Crabtree is leaving Texas Tech to catch passes in the NFL next season. Crabtree announced his decision at a news conference, with teammate and Big 12 sack leader Brandon Williams also announcing his plans to turn pro. Crabtree is expected to be a top 10 draft pick. In two years, he has 231 catches for 3,127 yards and 41 touchdowns.

More NFL draft: : Penn State defensive end Aaron Maybin returned to his alma matter, Mount Hebron, to announce that he will enter the draft. Maybin, a redshirt sophomore who led the Big Ten with 12 sacks this season, has earned his degree in communications and art. He has been projected as high as a No. 4 pick. SANDRA MCKEE ... Also entering the draft is Ball State quarterback Nate Davis. ... Taylor Mays, an All-America safety, has decided to return to Southern California for his senior season.

Boston College: : Frank Spaziani is the Eagles' new coach, promoted after spending 12 seasons as an assistant with Boston College. Spaziani takes over for Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired after interviewing with the Jets.


Et cetera: : Two assistant coaches apparently wrestling with each other fell through a hotel window and fell four stories to a concrete sidewalk, leaving one seriously injured. The American Football Coaches Association is holding its annual convention at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Scott Coy, the co-offensive coordinator at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., was in critical condition and having surgery at Vanderbilt University. Darren DeMeio, the running backs coach, was in fair condition but remained in the hospital. ... Former Ravens quarterback Jim Harbaugh said he plans to stay put coaching at Stanford. There has been speculation in recent weeks that Harbaugh, the brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, might interview for NFL openings.

Wizards' Thomas injured, is out indefinitely


Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas has a torn ligament in his left knee, the latest setback for a last-place team already without Gilbert Arenas, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. The Wizards said Thomas will be sidelined indefinitely and will be reevaluated in two weeks. Thomas, who missed all of last season while recovering from open heart surgery, has been on and off the bench, playing in 26 of 37 games with seven starts. He is averaging 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.8 minutes for the Wizards, who are 7-30.

Knicks: : A man who worked as a driver for Eddy Curry is suing the center, contending Curry owes him money, sexually harassed him and berated him with racist slurs. Curry denies the accusations and is considering a defamation lawsuit, his lawyer said. Dave Kuchinsky alleges in the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that Curry owes him $98,000 in back pay and expenses. Newsday reported yesterday that Kuchinsky is also seeking $5 million in compensatory damages. Kuchinsky also accuses Curry of exposing himself and harassing the former driver and referring to his Jewish heritage in a derogatory way.

Nuggets 99, Mavericks 97: : Chauncey Billups made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left, and host Denver overcame 44 points from Dirk Nowitzki to beat Dallas. Billups scored 23 points.


Lakers 105, Rockets 100: : Kobe Bryant made a three-pointer with 27 seconds left and scored 33 points, and visiting Los Angeles beat undermanned Houston.

Cavaliers 102, Grizzlies 87: : LeBron James had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple double of the season, leading visiting Cleveland to a victory over Memphis.

Bobcats 80, Pistons 78: : Raymond Felton's jumper with 0.7 of a second left gave visiting Charlotte a victory over Detroit. The Bobcats scored the game's final nine points, including seven from Felton (23 points).

Heat 99, Wolves 96: : Dwyane Wade had 31 points and eight assists, and Shawn Marion hit the go-ahead free throws with 22 seconds left to lift visiting Miami.

Suns 107, Hawks 102: : Shaquille O'Neal had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and host Phoenix won its third straight and handed Atlanta its fourth straight loss.

Capitals fall to Oilers, lose third straight game


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Mike Green had a goal and an assist and Tomas Fleischmann also scored, but the host Washington Capitals lost their third straight, 5-2, to the Edmonton Oilers. The Capitals lost a second straight home game for the first time this season. The three straight losses match a season high. Erik Cole had three goals for Edmonton.

Auto racing: : Helio Castroneves is being replaced on Team Penske by Australian driver Will Power until the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner's tax evasion trail is resolved. ... Hall of Fame Racing aligned with Yates Racing to keep its operation running into the new season. The team quickly signed former Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte to drive the No. 96 Ford

Horse racing: : Ocean Downs Racetrack and horse owners remain apart on contract terms. The track in Worcester County and its off-track betting venue, the Cambridge Turf Club, were closed to the public and horse trainers Jan. 1 after the horsemen withdrew consent for simulcasting.