NFL notebook: Colts say Reich 'right guy' to coach team

Frank Reich was not the first choice, but general manager Chris Ballard insists the Indianapolis Colts got it right this time.

"The backup role has suited me well in my career," Reich said Tuesday during his formal introduction as head coach of the Colts.

Reich interviewed with the Colts after New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out of a verbal agreement with Ballard and the Colts two days after Super Bowl LII.

"It's been a process to get here," team owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday. "I can only say this: We really feel blessed having Frank as our head coach."

--Los Angeles Chargers wide receivers coach Nick Sirianni will join Reich's coaching staff with the Colts and serve as offensive coordinator.

Sirianni, 36, spent two seasons as wide receivers coach, including last season, the franchise's first in Los Angeles.

Reich retained Matt Eberflus, who left Dallas to become defensive coordinator under McDaniels, even though McDaniels bailed on his commitment to take over the team.

--The Chiefs announced the end of an era in Kansas City as the team revealed its plans to let veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson become a free agent when his contract expires at the start of the new league year on March 14.

The intended decision brings an end to the 35-year-old's 13-year run with the organization. For his part, Johnson said he intends to find a new home to continue his career, which he intends to end as a member of the Chiefs.

--Former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula will be named to the same position with the New York Giants.

NFL Network reported Shula would be formally introduced this week and also would hold the title of quarterbacks coach. Pat Shurmur, hired as head coach in January, will call plays for the Giants and said he is excited to get to work with veteran quarterback Eli Manning.

Shula was fired by the Panthers at the end of the 2017 season and was in Carolina during Dave Gettleman's entire stay as general manager. Gettleman was named general manager of the Giants on Dec. 29.

--Medical clearance is apparently the only obstacle between Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor and a return to the field next season.

According to NFL Network, Chancellor, who turns 30 in April, plans to attempt to play despite suggestions from the Seahawks that his career could be over because of a neck injury sustained in November. At the end of the regular season, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Chancellor -- and defensive end Cliff Avril -- might "have a hard time playing football again."

On Feb. 9, Chancellor's $6.8 million salary for 2018 became guaranteed. If he retires, he could forfeit up to $12 million in guarantees.

--Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly underwent right shoulder surgery in January but is expected to be ready to run with the Panthers at the start of training camp.

The Charlotte Observer reported Kuechly, who is coming off of his sixth consecutive season with 100-plus tackles, had the operation, which also caused him to miss the Pro Bowl.

The 26-year-old played in 15 of Carolina's 16 regular-season games after being dogged by concussions in 2016. Kuechly did not play in Week 7 last season because of a concussion. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder following the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss to the Denver Broncos.

--Before Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher are enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, their former teams will meet in the 2018 preseason opener on Thursday, Aug. 2.

The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears were selected to open the preseason in the Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

Teams selected for the preseason kickoff game are permitted to open training camp the last week of July ahead of the other 30 team-report dates. The Bears previously played in the Hall of Fame game four times. This is the first appearance for the Ravens.

--Field Level Media

02/13/2018 19:45

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