National Football League roundup

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[January 15, 2016]  Jan 14 (The Sports Xchange) - Chip Kelly is the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, the team announced on Thursday.

Kelly was fired last month by the Philadelphia Eagles and didn't have to wait long to receive a second opportunity as an NFL coach. He was reportedly chosen over Mike Shanahan.

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Ben McAdoo has officially become the person to follow Tom Coughlin as New York Giants coach.

The Giants announced McAdoo's appointment, preferring the 38-year-old over the five other candidates they interviewed. Only recently hired Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase (37) is younger among NFL head coaches.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were close to finalizing a deal with Dirk Koetter to become their next head coach, according to multiple reports.

Koetter spent the 2015 season as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator under Lovie Smith, who was fired last week after two seasons as head coach.

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Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and outside linebacker Justin Houston will be game-time decisions for Saturday's divisional playoff game at the New England Patriots.

Neither player took part in team drills Thursday, with Maclin testing his sprained ankle during the stretch period and Houston resting his sore knee.

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New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski missed Thursday's practice with a knee injury.

According to an ESPN report, Gronkowski visited a Boston hospital on Thursday and received an injection in the injured knee. The All-Pro is expected to play Saturday in the divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but coach Bill Belichick was vague when asked about Gronkowski's status.

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Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown were limited participants in practice for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, just three days before the team will face the Broncos in Denver.

The plan this week was for Roethlisberger to be limited until at least Friday as he rests his separated throwing shoulder, so more will be known after that day's workout. He took part in some handoffs Thursday, but did not do any throwing.

There is even more uncertainty with Brown, who is still in the league's concussion protocol and has not been cleared for contact. If he is cleared in time, Brown will play even if he doesn't practice.

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New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will be sidelined approximately six months after recent surgery to repair his broken right leg.

Wilkerson broke his right fibula in the season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills. He underwent surgery to repair the break and the team finally released a timetable for his recovery on Thursday.

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Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford knows wide receiver Calvin Johnson well enough to understand what it means when the All-Pro mentions retirement.

"I think, anytime Calvin says something, it's not for show, it's something serious," Stafford told The Mitch Albom Show on WJR-AM. "I think you guys have covered him long enough to know that he's a pretty measured person, and everything that he says to the public is a thought-out thing. So in that regard, I'm sure it's thought-out."

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The Minnesota Vikings hired NFL veteran Tony Sparano as their offensive line coach on to replace Jeff Davidson.

Davidson, who was told earlier this week that his contract would not be renewed by the Vikings, landed a new job as offensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Sparano's NFL experience includes four years as head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to 2011.

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Chicago Bears right tackle Kyle Long was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl.

Long will serve as an injury replacement for Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. (Editing by Frank Pingue)

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