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>>Bears Hire GM

The Chicago Bears have hired New Orleans Saints executive Ryan Pace as general manager to replace the fired Phil Emery, hoping he can rejuvenate a franchise that has missed the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.

The announcement on Thursday comes on the heels of a miserable, 5-11 season. The Bears quickly fell out of contention in the NFC North, costing Emery and coach Marc Trestman their jobs.

 width=Pace spent 14 seasons with the Saints and helped build a Super Bowl champion. He was New Orleans' director of player personnel the past two years, helping manage their pro and college scouting operations. He also served as the team's director of pro scouting from 2007 to 2012.

>>Bears Continue HC Search

The Chicago Bears interviewed Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for their coaching job after hiring New Orleans Saints executive Ryan Pace as their general manager.

The team says Pace, who replaced the fired Phil Emery, was in on Thursday's interview. Chicago is looking for a coach after letting Marc Trestman go following a 5-11 season.

Pace participated in the interview with Bowles, who has led the Cardinals' defense the past two seasons after serving as Philadelphia's defensive coordinator in 2012. The 51-year-old former NFL safety is also in the running for the New York Jets, Atlanta and San Francisco jobs.

Chicago also interviewed Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase for the coaching job.

 width=>>Cowboys Put Road Record Up Against Packers' Home Record

(Green Bay, WI) -- The Dallas Cowboys take their perfect road record to Green Bay on Sunday to go up against the Packers in a NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field. Dallas rallied from a 20-7 deficit to beat Detroit 24-20 in the Wild Card round last weekend. That game came with some controversy as a key pass interference penalty against the Cowboys in the fourth quarter was overturned, helping Dallas rally to victory. The Cowboys won the NFC East this season with a 12-and-4 record, including 8-and-0 on the road. Conversely, the Packers are a perfect 8-and-0 at home this season. Green Bay also went 12-and-4 during the regular season, winning the NFC North and earning a first-round bye. The Packers beat the Cowboys 37-36 at Dallas in Week 15 of last season.

>>Rodgers Takes Majority Of Snaps In Practice

(Green Bay, WI) -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took most of the snaps in practice on Thursday as he prepares for Sunday's playoff game against Dallas. He has been battling a strained left calf that he suffered in Week 16 against Tampa Bay and reinjured the following week against Detroit. ESPN reports Rodgers also has a slight tear in his calf muscle. He is expected to start when the Packers host the Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs.

 width=>>Colts Battle Broncos In Denver

(Denver, CO) -- The Indianapolis Colts head to the Mile High City to battle the Denver Broncos Sunday in an AFC Divisional Playoff game. The AFC South champion Colts went 11-and-5 during the regular season and advanced out of the Wild Card round with a 26-10 home win over the Bengals last weekend. The AFC West champion Broncos had a first-round bye after going 12-and-4 during the regular season. This game features a matchup of former longtime Colts quarterback Peyton Manning against Andrew Luck, who Indianapolis drafted with the first-overall pick in 2012 to become Manning's successor. The Broncos beat the Colts 31-24 in Denver to open the season back in September. Manning threw three TD's in that game as Denver built a 24-0 lead in the first half and held on from there.

>>Ravens Play Patriots In Foxboro

(Foxboro, MA) -- The Baltimore Ravens head to Foxboro on Saturday to face the New England Patriots in an AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens roughed up the Steelers 30-17 last weekend in Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round to advance. Baltimore earned the sixth seed in the AFC by winning three of its final four games of the regular season to finish 10-and-6. The Patriots had a first-round bye after capturing their sixth straight AFC East title at 12-and-4. New England also earned home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by virtue of a Week Nine win over Denver, which also went 12-and-4. The Patriots pounded the Ravens 41-7 in Baltimore in their last meeting in Week 16 of last season. New England is 7-and-1 at home this season.

>>Panthers Play Super Bowl Champion Seahawks In Seattle

(Seattle, WA) -- The surging Carolina Panthers will try to knock off the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in a NFC Divisional Playoff game Saturday in Seattle. The Panthers are looking to keep their late season magic going. Carolina won its final four games of the regular season, capturing the NFC South title with a Week 17 win at Atlanta. The Panthers then held the Cardinals to just 78 total yards in a 27-16 win in last weekend's Wild Card round. After a 3-and-3 start, the Seahawks won nine of their last 10 games to claim the NFC West crown at 12-and-4. Seattle also earned home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by virtue of a head-to-head win over Green Bay in the season opener. The Seahawks beat the Panthers 13-9 at Carolina back in Week Eight.

>>Pro Football Hall Of Fame Finalists Announced

(Undated) -- The 15 Modern-Era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame have been announced. Linebacker Junior Seau, offensive lineman Orlando Pace and quarterback Kurt Warner are first-year nominees. There are the 15 Modern-Era finalists as well as the two contributor finalists and the one senior finalist up for the honor of enshrinement. The announcement will be made in Arizona on January 31st. Terrell Davis, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Polian, Mick Tingelhoff and Ron Wolf are finalists for the first time. Kicker Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, receivers Marvin Harrison and Tim Brown, coaches Don Coryell and Tony Dungy, linebackers Kevin Greene and Charles Haley, offensive lineman Will Shields and safety John Lynch are also finalists.

>>Investigation: NFL Did Not See Rice Video Before It Went Public

(New York, NY) -- An independent investigation is supporting the NFL's claim that the league did not see the Ray Rice in-elevator video before it went public. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller [[ Muller ]] released results of a four-month investigation into the NFL's handling of the February domestic violence case involving the former Baltimore Ravens running back. No evidence was found that anyone at the NFL had or saw the video of Rice knocking out his now wife with a punch to the face at an Atlantic City casino before it was released by TMZ in September. There was also no evidence that a woman at the NFL confirmed receipt of the video in a voicemail on April 9th. The report did determine that, even without the video, there was substantial information indicating the need for a more thorough investigation by the NFL.

The report went on to acknowledge the league's recent changes to its Personal Conduct Policy and offered more recommendations for improvement, including more training, creating a specialized investigative team for domestic violence and sexual abuse and policies requiring more information sharing between the league and NFL teams during investigations.

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