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Volume 24 No. 157
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NFL Franchise Notes: Bears Chair Hailed For "Willingness To Be Different"

In Illinois, Barry Rozner wrote Bears Chair George McCaskey has "brought honor back to the family name by making difficult decisions, and charging those he has hired with the power to do the same." Make "no mistake about what has occurred in the last year, and understand those changes would not have occurred without this McCaskey stepping into the void." Over the last three decades, it has been "very easy to criticize the McCaskey family for disastrous decisions on, off and anywhere near a football field." But credit "where it is due, George McCaskey is different" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/6).

CRUNCH TIME: In Tampa, Tom Jones noted Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik took over in January '09, and the Bucs "haven't made the playoffs in his four seasons." Granted, he took over a team "that was in rough shape." Dominik also "hasn't always been given enough money" by team owner the Glazer family to "stock his roster with talent." But the Bucs are 24-40 since Dominik has been GM. Scott Pioli "was fired by Kansas City on Friday after the Chiefs went 23-41 during his tenure as GM." Jones: "You get the feeling that next season is more crucial for Dominik than anyone else" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/6).

GIVING IT ANOTHER GO: In Charlotte, Joseph Person noted Panthers coach Ron Rivera "has been retained following a long-anticipated meeting with Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson on Saturday." Rivera has "two years remaining on the four-year, $11.2 million contract he signed in January 2011." The Panthers "next turn their attention to finding" a GM. They will interview "five to six candidates beginning Monday" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/6). Also in Charlotte, Tom Sorensen wrote although the decision to retain Rivera "was sound, the wrong man made it." The most "successful owners hire football people and gracefully slide out of the way" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/6).

WHO'S NEXT: In Cleveland, Mary Kay Cabot cites a source as saying that the Browns "walked away from Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Sunday afternoon because they weren't certain his heart was 100 percent into leaving the Ducks." Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner "removed themselves from the running and flew home from Arizona -- where they had been camped out since Tuesday -- to restart their coaching search with his name scratched off the list" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/7).