Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, who had an injury to each of his ankles late in the season, will not require surgery on either, a team source confirmed Tuesday.
When Jones spoke with the media Jan. 21, the day after the season-ending loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game, he said he was going to meet with the team’s medical personnel later that day to see if surgery would be needed.
Turns out, it is not.
Jones suffered an injury to his right ankle in the Patriots’ 59-24 win over the Colts on Nov. 18, and missed the next two games – road wins over the Jets and Dolphins – while recovering. He played in the final four games of the regular season after returning, but his numbers (nine total tackles, no sacks) were down from his first nine games, when he averaged 4.5 tackles and had all six of his sacks for the season.
In the Patriots’ divisional-round playoff win over the Texans Jan. 13, Jones was injured again, this time his left ankle. He was part of a goal-line pile-up on a second-quarter touchdown run by Houston’s Arian Foster, left the game, and did not return.
That injury limited Jones to just two defensive snaps against the Ravens, even though he practiced in the week leading up to the game and was listed by the team as probable.
The rookie from Syracuse, a first-round draft pick, finished his first NFL season with 50 tackles, those 6 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. He’s healthy enough to spend time this week in New Orleans, site of Super Bowl XLVII. Jones’s brother, Arthur, is a defensive end for the Ravens.
Rams pass on Ryan
The Rams have decided not to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator and stepped in a new direction by hiring Frank Bush as linebackers coach. Bush replaces Blake Williams, son of Gregg Williams, who was briefly defensive coordinator with the Rams last winter before being suspended indefinitely for his role in the Saints bounty scandal. Bush was with the Titans the last two seasons and before that was defensive coordinator for four seasons with the Texans. He has also been a player, scout, position coach, and assistant head coach . . . The Steelers hired Jack Bicknell Jr. as offensive line coach. Bicknell replaces Sean Kugler, who left the Steelers following the 2012 season to become head coach at UTEP. Bicknell spent last season as the offensive line coach for the Chiefs and began his NFL coaching career as an assistant line coach with the Giants from 2009-11. The 49-year-old Bicknell spent more than two decades coaching at the collegiate level, including eight seasons as the head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1999-2006. His 43 wins at Tech rank the third-most in the program’s history . . . Ray Horton doesn’t believe his skin color played any role in him not being hired as an NFL head coach. Introduced as the Browns’ defensive coordinator, Horton said while he’s ‘‘disappointed’’ that he didn’t get a head coaching job after interviewing with several teams, he’s grateful to have gone through the process and feels the league’s Rooney Rule to promote minorities works despite contrary statistics . . . The Bears hired former Purdue defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar as linebackers coach. Tibesar replaces Bob Babich, who was let go after the season and is now Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator . . . Jim Anderson has retired after spending the last 29 years as Cincinnati’s running backs coach, the longest tenure of any Bengals coach.
Jets discuss Russell
In a continued attempt to push starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, the New York Jets have had "exploratory, informal discussions" regarding former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell, according to a Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger Report. Similar to the thinking that led to the deal for Tim Tebow, the team remains concerned about Sanchez, who is guaranteed an $8.25 million salary in 2013, according to the paper. The failed Tebow experiment cost general manager Mike Tannenbaum his job. The Jets also had scouted college quarterbacks Geno Smith (West Virginia), Ryan Nassib (Syracuse), and Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), according to the Star-Ledger. Russell recently decided to stage a comeback and hopes to return to the NFL next season . . . Seahawks starting right tackle Breno Giacomini underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and is expected to take 4-6 weeks to recover.
Bills reach agreement
The Bills and Rogers Media announced a new agreement that will keep Rogers Centre as the team’s second home. Buffalo will play one regular-season game at the home of the Toronto Blue Jays for the next five years, and the new contract also includes one preseason game in 2015. The existing five-year deal — which was worth $78 million — expired when Seattle posted a 50-17 win over Buffalo Dec. 16 . . . The Panthers want to renovate the outdoor 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., and they are asking the public for help. On Monday, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and president Danny Morrison met with new Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis to discuss the multimillion-dollar project. Both politicians are from the Charlotte area, and McCrory was the city’s mayor for 14 years. His first term was in 1995, the Panthers’ inaugural season. Tillis said Tuesday that discussions have been preliminary but that there are fears from city and state leaders that the Panthers could move if they don’t receive help.Michael Whitmer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeWhitmer. Material from Reuters and the Associated Press was used in this report.