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NFL Notebook

Notes: Packers assistant coach’s son missing; body found

Body pulled from river; ID to be released today

Authorities in Oshkosh, Wis., were searching for the 21-year-old son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin yesterday, a day after he was reported missing following a night out with friends.

Michael T. Philbin was last heard from around 2 a.m. Sunday. Oshkosh Police spokesman Joseph Nichols said one of Michael Philbin’s friends reported him missing at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.

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Philbin had traveled from his home in Ripon to Oshkosh to meet friends, Nichols said. They went out together in the campus area Saturday night but when the group decided to move on to another establishment Michael Philbin apparently chose to stay behind, he said.

Sheriff’s deputies said they pulled the body of a young man between the ages of 20 and 25 out of the Fox River in Oshkosh yesterday afternoon, but said they would not release the identity of the body until today.

The disappearance comes as the Packers prepare for Sunday’s home playoff game against the New York Giants.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Philbin was in Oshkosh yesterday, and said the team has contingency plans in place if Philbin can’t be there this week.

Chiefs pick Crennel

Going 2-1 and stunning then-undefeated Green Bay as Kansas City’s interim head coach meant a lot more than gratification for Romeo Crennel.

It also persuaded the Chiefs to give the affable defensive specialist a second chance to be an NFL head coach.

The Chiefs announced that Crennel was the official replacement for the fired Todd Haley, removing the interim tag he bore for the last three weeks of the season.

“The three games had a lot to do with where we arrived at this decision,’’ general manager Scott Pioli said. “Some of the things we saw was a great deal of accountability and consistency. There was also a different energy to the football team. A lot of it had to do with those last three games.’’

Warm and personable, the 64-year-old Crennel is a departure from Haley. Often called a “players’ coach’’ he’s been known to write off mistakes as youthful indiscretions. Ironically, being soft with players was a criticism when he was fired after four years as head coach in Cleveland with a 24-40 record.

He was an instant hit with Chiefs players while serving as Haley’s defensive coordinator the past two years. After the Chiefs beat the Packers, 19-14, Dec. 18 in their first game with Crennel in charge, the Chiefs chanted his nickname, “RAC! RAC!’’.

“I’m not exactly sure what a player’s coach is,’’ Crennel said. “Sometimes I think players think that a coach who is on their side is a player’s coach, who always rules in favor of them may be a players’ coach. I know that’s not always the case with me. I think that basically, I’m a good guy. And I think this is what players appreciate - players appreciate honesty.’’

Bucs, Phillips to meet

Texans coach Gary Kubiak said his players won’t be distracted by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’s upcoming job interview as they prepare for this weekend’s playoff game in Baltimore. Kubiak confirmed reports that Phillips will meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday to discuss their head coaching position. The Bucs fired Raheem Morris a week ago after finishing 4-12. Houston (11-6) plays at Baltimore (12-4) Sunday. The 64-year-old Phillips talked last week about becoming a head coach again, though he added he was content in his current job. Phillips is still recovering from kidney and gall bladder surgery in mid-December, but still thinks he should be considered for a top NFL job. His record as a head coach is 82-59 . . . After another one-and-done in the playoffs, Falcons coach Mike Smith said his team’s season can’t be called a success. Smith also announced he must replace defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who left to head Auburn’s defense . . . The Rams reported on their website that they and the Dolphins are finalists in the bidding to hire Jeff Fisher as their head coach.

Peyton said ‘disappointed’

Archie Manning said Peyton Manning was disappointed that Bill Polian was let go during the Indianapolis Colts’ leadership shakeup but remains committed to coming back next season. The elder Manning spoke after presenting the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year awards at a hotel in the French Quarter ahead of last night’s Bowl Championship Series title game in New Orleans. Archie Manning said Peyton Manning’s priority is his health, and the quarterback hasn’t given much thought to how the upheaval in Indianapolis will affect him. Manning missed the entire season after a third operation on his neck. The father of the Colts quarterback also said “without a doubt’’ that Manning and Andrew Luck could co-exist if Indianapolis chooses the Stanford quarterback in the NFL draft. The Colts have the first overall pick after finishing 2-14 this season . . . New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan made a major personnel change, dismissing Paul Vance as the team’s senior vice president of football operations and general counsel. Vance had been with the organization since its inception, and since 2001, had been in charge of contract negotiations. The move may have had something to do with a salary dispute that affects several fired assistants. The team could be on the hook for more than $3 million in salary because of what seems to be a typo in their contracts.

Fletcher to Pro Bowl

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher is heading to his third consecutive Pro Bowl, replacing an injured Brian Urlacher of the Bears. Fletcher led the NFL in tackles, forced three fumbles, and had two interceptions and 1 1/2 sacks . . . Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has been picked for his first Pro Bowl. Greenway, who had a personal-best 174 tackles this season, will replace the injured Lance Briggs of Chicago . . . The Giants said they were helped by the NFL’s installation of video monitors on the sideline in treating injuries to cornerback Aaron Ross and running back D.J. Ware Sunday. Both Ross and Ware sustained concussions in a 24-2 win over the Falcons. Giants vice president of medical services Ronnie Barnes said the team’s medical staff was unsure what happened with Ware and “the video replay provided us with evidence that a concussive event had occurred.’’ Coach Tom Coughlin is hopeful Ross and Ware can play at Green Bay next Sunday . . . The NFL hopes to consolidate in Philadelphia a string of lawsuits filed across the country by former players who say they’ve suffered concussion-related brain injuries. Seven former players filed the first such lawsuit last summer in Philadelphia, where a similar lawsuit filed yesterday seeks more than $5 million for more than 100 ex-players . . . The Chargers are staying put next season. Owner Dean Spanos said the team will not exercise its right to move the franchise from San Diego for at least another year. The Chargers want to allow more time for efforts to build a new downtown stadium.

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