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The Dallas Cowboys have quickly secured Mike McCarthy as departed head coach Jason Garrett's successor, according to widespread reports.

The Cowboys missed out on the NFL playoffs this season and belatedly confirmed Garrett would be departing on Sunday, with his contract up on January 14.

Having taken their time to dismiss the nine-year coach, Dallas moved swiftly to bring in the next man.

The NFL Network reports former Green Bay Packers coach McCarthy has signed a deal with the team.

McCarthy, 56, who won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers, was a man in demand after spending a year away from the NFL following his sacking in Green Bay.

He had interviews with the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns and New York Giants before heading to Texas over the weekend as Garrett's future became increasingly clear.

It is said Marvin Lewis was the only other option considered before the Cowboys made McCarthy their eighth permanent head coach.

Carson Wentz says he was "so dang proud" of the Philadelphia Eagles' season and assured fans he would be "just fine" after a head injury in the playoff defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Eagles lost Sunday's wild card game 17-9 at home to the Seahawks after quarterback Wentz was forced to exit in the first quarter, having taken a blow to the back of his helmet from Jadeveon Clowney.

Wentz had played the entire regular season for the first time since his rookie year, having suffered major injuries in 2017 and 2018 and missed Philadelphia's Super Bowl LII triumph.

Although his playoff debut ended on a sour note, the 27-year-old took to Instagram on Monday to send a message to fans, offering an update on his health while looking forward to the 2020 season.

"So dang proud of this team and how we battled and overcame so much this season," Wentz wrote. "Not the ending we envisioned but we will all grow and be stronger because of it!

"The fight and resiliency that this team displayed was so impressive. Love these guys!

"Also, appreciate the thoughts and prayers. I'm feeling good today and will be just fine! Head injuries are a scary thing so I appreciate everybody's thoughts and prayers.

"Hate not being out there to finish it out with my guys because of a play like that, but it's the unfortunate part of this game. It's all in God's plan, not mine! Trusting in him.

"Philly, year four was one fun ride. Appreciate the love and support - especially the real ones who were with us through the highs and lows.

"Onward to next year... big things comin', believe that!"

Seahawks defensive end Clowney speculated after the game he might receive death threats from "the worst fans in the world" in Philadelphia for the hit on Wentz, but he added there was no intent in the incident.

"I was just playing fast, and he turned like he was running the ball, so I was trying to get him down," Clowney said. "It was a bang-bang play.

"I don't intend to hurt anybody in this league, let me just put that out there. I've been down the injury road - it's not fun.

"That's a great player over there for their team and for their organisation. I hope he's okay. Like I said, I didn't intend to hurt him.

"I didn't even know he went out of the game until the next series. I thought it was just a small hit, but everybody was going crazy on the sidelines. I was just trying to finish the play, but it happened."

The Jason Garrett era finally came to an end in Dallas on Sunday, as the Cowboys parted company with their head coach after nine full seasons together.

Garrett, who initially took over on an interim basis in 2010, led the Cowboys to three playoff appearances, but paid the price for a mediocre 8-8 season in which Dallas failed to live up to expectations.

Owner Jerry Jones has already begun the search to find the new man to try harness the potential of a supremely talented roster, with Mike McCarthy and Marvin Lewis reportedly interviewed by the Cowboys.

Here we look at the likely contenders to replace Garrett, as the Cowboys plot a long-awaited return to the glory days of the early 1990s.

Lincoln Riley

The bookmakers' favourite, Riley is regarded as one of the brightest young coaching minds in the college game. Riley has led the Oklahoma Sooners to three consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, while his ability to get the best out of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray saw them selected first overall in successive drafts.

Riley had similar success with Jalen Hurts in 2019 and his potential impact on Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense is likely to appeal greatly to Jones, whose challenge would be convincing the 36-year-old to leave one of the premier jobs in college football.

Josh McDaniels

Still receiving significant interest despite going back on his handshake agreement with the Indianapolis Colts last year, former Denver Broncos head coach McDaniels appears destined to receive a second chance in a top job. The New England Patriots offensive coordinator will surely be keen to prove he can succeed without Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The Cowboys have the talent to help him do so.

Mike McCarthy

Highly sought after following a year out of the game, McCarthy has significant experience and a Super Bowl title to his name from his spell with the Green Bay Packers. McCarthy is said to have spent his time away reinventing himself and improving his knowledge of analytics. The Cowboys were seemingly very impressed with McCarthy 2.0, as he reportedly stayed an extra day in Dallas after his interview.

Urban Meyer

Meyer has never coached at NFL level but has the big-name cachet Jones will likely crave having won three National Championships during a decorated spell as a college coach. He left Ohio State for health reasons after a 2018 season marred by scandal but has reportedly said he is interested in making the jump to the pros with Dallas. Given his history of success at every college team he coached, that interest should be mutual.

Marvin Lewis

The Cincinnati Bengals were a consistent contender during Lewis' 16-season tenure, and consistency is exactly what the Cowboys need. The blot on Lewis copybook is his playoff record, with the Bengals 0-7 in the postseason under his stewardship. That may affect his standing with a Cowboys franchise that has seen only four playoff victories since their last Super Bowl triumph in the 1995 season.

Other potential candidates

Matt Rhule is a popular name in this hiring cycle following the turnaround he has inspired at Baylor and a move from college to the pros seems likely at some point.

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has no head coaching experience but his energy and the success he has overseen could win over a franchise. Florida head coach Dan Mullen is a long-shot candidate, having coached Prescott at Mississippi State.

Rookie wide receiver DK Metcalf stole the show in the Seattle Seahawks' playoff win at the Philadelphia Eagles, earning plaudits from Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll and even LeBron James.

Metcalf had 160 receiving yards on seven receptions and connected with Wilson for the decisive touchdown in a 17-9 wild-card round win.

The 53-yard TD saw Metcalf go to ground in taking the catch before springing up to lunge into the endzone, securing an advantage the Seahawks protected with relative ease.

Quarterback Wilson was particularly effusive in his praise of the "special" 22-year-old, a second-round pick in 2019.

"DK was special tonight, and he's been special all year," Wilson told reporters. "He's one of the best rookies that's come out.

"He's got a nice little chip on his shoulder, too - I'm glad he's on our team, that's for sure, and he's on our team for a long time.

"I think the great thing about him, though, is that he's always been professional from day one. Nothing happens by accident.

"[It has been about his] his preparation, how he's prepared week in, week out - even since the offseason - all the extra work, all the early mornings, throwing at 5:20 in the morning in the summer. That's what greatness looks like."

Head coach Carroll added: "I think the night was stolen by DK. He did some stuff that it's hard to imagine anyone else doing."

And NBA great James took to Instagram to add his congratulations, posting on his story: "Congrats young [king]. Too fast, too strong."

The Seahawks move on to play the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round in the NFC.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson believes the NFC wild-card clash with the Seattle Seahawks would have been a different if star quarterback Carson Wentz did not suffer a head injury.

Wentz exited in the first quarter after hurting his head and did not return as the Eagles lost 17-9 to the Seahawks in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.

The Eagles signal caller took a blow to the back of his helmet from Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and was replaced by 40-year-old back-up Josh McCown.

McCown – making his postseason debut following 17 seasons in the league – went 18 of 24 for 174 yards as the Eagles failed to reach the divisional round in Philadelphia.

Asked whether the game would have been different if Wentz was healthy, Pederson told reporters: "It's hard to say but I'd say yes if he was healthy. With the game plan we had, I think so. But it's hard to speculate."

The Eagles were hoping Wentz could lead the team deep into the playoffs after the 27-year-old played the entire regular season for the first time since his rookie year.

Wentz had suffered major injuries in 2017 and 2018 as Nick Foles stepped up to guide the Eagles to Super Bowl LII glory – Sunday's playoff appearance his first since being drafted in 2016.

"I feel for him. I feel bad for him," Pederson said of Wentz. "I briefly saw him in the dressing room afterwards.

"I'm disappointed for him. I wanted this for him. A lot of his team-mates did, too. So did the team and organisation. He's been through a lot."

Th Eagles endured an injury-ravaged season, but star tight end Zach Ertz managed to suit up and face the Seahawks, despite two non-displaced rib fractures sustained in Week 16.

Ertz was rushed to hospital after finding blood in his urine, however, he took to the field two weeks later and was teary-eyed post-game.

"It's been tough. It's been real tough," Ertz told reporters. "It hurts. Been a lot of highs and lows. My faith just kept me through it, kept me grounded. There was a plan for me.

"I just wanted it to be black and white, honestly. I took the emotion out of it. I just prayed that I wanted it to be clear. I didn't want it to be a grey area where it was an emotional decision. When it was unanimous that I was good to play, I knew that there was a plan and a reason, and that's why I was able to go."

"I wanted to play for this city," Ertz added. "I take a lot of pride [in] playing for my team-mates."

The Seattle Seahawks moved past the injury-hit Philadelphia Eagles courtesy of a 17-9 win in the NFL playoffs on Sunday.

Seattle set up a clash against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round after proving too good for the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles lost quarterback Carson Wentz in the first quarter due to a head injury and never got to their best to trouble the Seahawks in the NFC wild-card showdown.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson went 18 of 30 for 325 yards and a touchdown, but it was Seattle's defense that dominated.

They managed seven sacks, including six of Wentz's replacement Josh McCown.

McCown went 18 of 24 for 174 yards, but Wentz's injury, which came after a blow to the back of his helmet from Jadeveon Clowney, hurt the Eagles' chances.

The Seahawks needed until late in the second quarter to score their first TD as Marshawn Lynch spun over from five yards.

Jake Elliott's three field goals were all the Eagles could manage, with his second bringing them back to a 10-6 deficit in the third quarter.

However, Wilson connected with DK Metcalf with a 53-yard touchdown pass and the Seahawks were untroubled from then.

Metcalf starred with 160 receiving yards on seven receptions.

Drew Brees refused to be drawn on his future after the New Orleans Saints' NFL playoff loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Brees' Saints fell to a surprise 26-20 overtime defeat to the Vikings in the NFC wild-card clash.

The 40-year-old quarterback is coming out of contract and will reportedly stay with the Saints, but Brees was unwilling to confirm his future after the defeat.

"I'm not making any comments on that other than I've told you guys this for the last couple of years, I've always just taken it one year at a time and kind of re-evaluate each offseason," he told a news conference.

"Then, find the things I want to get better at and move on."

Kirk Cousins and Kyle Rudolph connected for the game-winning touchdown for the Vikings against the Saints, who had come from 20-10 down in the fourth quarter.

Brees, who went 26 of 33 for 208 yards with a TD and an interception, said Minnesota executed better than the Saints.

"It was a hard-fought football game. We played a really good team and obviously they came ready to play and at the end of the day they just made more plays than we did," he said.

"I love the way that we fought in the fourth quarter, we really didn't play our best football up until that point, but put together some good drives during that period of time and put ourselves in a position to win.

"But unfortunately they just made a few more plays than we did."

Dallas Cowboys will not renew Jason Garrett's contract with the team, bringing an end to his nine-year tenure as head coach.

The Cowboys won the NFC East division in 2018, only to lose to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional playoffs.

However, they have not made the postseason this time around, finishing their season with an 8-8 record after a victory over the Washington Redskins in Week 17.

With Garrett – who initially took over as interim coach in 2010 before being handed the role on a permanent basis – set to be out of contract on January 14, the Cowboys have elected against renewing his deal.

"We are extremely grateful to Jason Garrett for his more than 20 years of service to the Dallas Cowboys as a player, assistant coach and head coach," said owner and general manager Jerry Jones in a statement on Sunday.

"His level of commitment, character and dedication to this organisation has been outstanding at every stage of his career."

While also searching for a new coach, the Cowboys, who finished second in the NFC East this season, risk losing as many as 26 players, including quarterback Dak Prescott, to unrestricted free agency.

 

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz will miss the remainder of the NFC wild-card clash against the Seattle Seahawks with a head injury.

Wentz, 27, left the field and was questionable to return after taking a blow to the back of his helmet from Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the first quarter of Sunday's NFL playoff game.

Veteran back-up Josh McCown replaced Wentz under center before the latter was officially ruled out by the Eagles after half-time in Philadelphia.

Wentz sat out Philadelphia's playoff run in 2017, his second season in the league, after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the regular season.

In his absence, Nick Foles steered the franchise to their first Super Bowl triumph, as they beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Minnesota.

Prior to the postseason showdown against the Seahawks, Wentz completed 388 passes for 4,039 yards and 27 touchdowns in 16 appearances.

Mike Zimmer was pleased Kirk Cousins was able to silence some of his critics by steering the Minnesota Vikings to a stunning playoff win over the New Orleans Saints.

Quarterback Cousins engineered a game-winning drive at the start of overtime in the Wild Card clash, capping it off with a four-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph at the back of the end zone.

The successful throw clinched an upset 26-20 triumph for the Vikings on the road, meaning they move on in the postseason to face the San Francisco 49ers next.

Cousins' career has been blighted by suggestions he struggles in big games, yet Zimmer felt his starter showed he can thrive under pressure, keeping Minnesota's season alive in the process.

"They said he can't win a playoff game. He's only been in two, so he's 50 per cent – that's better than most people," Zimmer told the media.

"I thought he took care of the ball really well today and made good decisions. They had some heat on us, so he had to make some great decisions. He has to go out and prove it again next week, just like we all do.

"Kirk's a good player. The team rallied around him, they're happy for him."

Cousins rejected the opportunity to hit back at the doubters during his news conference, saying: "I'm just thrilled we won a playoff game."

The Vikings had let slip a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, Will Lutz's field goal with two seconds remaining levelling the contest.

However, once in overtime, Zimmer was determined to make sure his team capitalised on having the ball first, knowing a touchdown would send them through to the next round.

"We didn't want to leave anything in the bag. We had a chance to go down and score and win, and that's what we were trying to do," he said.

On the throw to Adam Thielen that set up the touchdown, Zimmer added: "It's a play we've used before – it's a great throw by Kirk and a great catch by Adam. You've got to take your shots when you're trying to win a playoff game."

The Philadelphia Eagles were forced to turn to Josh McCown at quarterback early on against the Seattle Seahawks after starter Carson Wentz suffered a head injury in the NFC wild-card clash.

Wentz was hurt while running the ball during the first quarter of Sunday's NFL playoff game, having taken a blow to the back of his helmet from Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

McCown came in for Philadelphia's next possession, with the Eagles announcing on Twitter that Wentz – making his postseason debut – was being evaluated, listing him as "questionable to return".

The 40-year-old back-up is with his ninth team in an NFL career that started back in 2002. He had announced his retirement after spending the previous two seasons with the New York Jets, only to be tempted back by the Eagles.

Wentz sat out Philadelphia's playoff run in 2017, his second season in the league, after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the regular season.

In his absence, Nick Foles steered the franchise to their first Super Bowl triumph, as they beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings knocked the New Orleans Saints out of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons as Kyle Rudolph's touchdown in overtime clinched a 26-20 triumph on the road.

Tight end Rudolph secured a four-yard pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to cap a game-winning drive to open the additional period, silencing the majority of the crowd inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The victory means the Vikings – the sixth seeds in the NFC – will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers next, aiming to cause a second shock result on their travels.

Once again in a postseason meeting between the teams, the Vikings found a way to get over the line despite squandering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Stefon Diggs scored on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum to stun the Saints on the final play in January 2018, with the game later renamed the 'Minneapolis Miracle' due to the stunning finish.

This time Rudolph was the hero for Minnesota, though only after Cousins had set up the touchdown with a glorious 43-yard pass to Adam Thielen that moved the ball into the red zone.

Having also suffered a controversial exit at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams last year in the NFC Championship Game, New Orleans are left to come to terms with another heartbreaking play-off exit.

They had led 10-3 heading towards half-time, only to concede 10 points inside the final three minutes of the second quarter. Dan Bailey slotted over a field goal before the Vikings capitalised on a Drew Brees interception, Dalvin Cook going in from five yards out on the ground to make it 13-10.

The gap was extended further when the running back scored again in the third quarter, yet the Saints rallied. Brees connected with Taysom Hill for a 20-yard touchdown before Will Lutz levelled the score at 20-20, landing a 49-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. However, that would be the last time the home team had the ball.

After Thielen's catch, Cook failed twice to score on the ground from close range before Cousins went to the air again, picking out Rudolph in the back corner of the end zone.

Bill Belichick once again refused to be drawn on the subject of Tom Brady's future on Sunday, insisting the New England Patriots will deal with it "at some point in time".

Speaking to the media the day after the Patriots' home playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, Belichick declared his pride at how hard the team had worked throughout the season, winning the AFC East with a 12-4 record.

Unsurprisingly, however, the six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach was asked about his long-time quarterback, someone he described as an "iconic figure" in the organisation.

Brady had said in the aftermath of the 20-13 loss that retirement was "pretty unlikely". The 42-year-old is set to become a free agent in March and there has been speculation he could end his long association with New England to play elsewhere.

Asked if he had a timeline in mind for when he planned to hold discussions with Brady, Belichick replied: "No."

He then said during the press conference: "I know it's out there [the question about Brady's future], just like there are a lot of things out there. We could bring up 50 questions like that one, but I've told you my status on that. You can ask all 50 of them but it's going to be the same answer 50 times.

"I'm not going to talk a lot of things about the future because I'm not prepared to talk about it."

Belichick, who also said that "nobody respects Tom more than I do", opted not to provide any update on his own future with the Pats, instead reflecting on the campaign that had just come to an end.

"We are less than 12 hours from the end of the game. Nobody has thought about the future, everybody has been focused on Miami, then Tennessee. That’s where all the focus should have been – and it was," he said in his opening statement.

"Whatever is in the future we will deal with at some point in time – we are certainly not going to deal with it now. It’s always a tough ending to the year, but we lost to a team who was a little better than us last night."

It will be the story that dominates the NFL offseason: What's next for Tom Brady?

The 42-year-old's quest to win an unprecedented seventh ring at Super Bowl LIV in Miami next month was dashed by the Tennessee Titans, who beat Brady's New England Patriots 20-13 in the Wild Card Round on Saturday.

With Brady currently set to be a free agent in 2020, there remains a possibility that he could begin his 21st NFL season away from Bill Belichick's team.

Here we assess Brady's potential options for next season.

 

RETIREMENT

Speaking after the defeat to the Titans, Brady had said retirement was "pretty unlikely... Hopefully unlikely".

The plyometrics fanatic has redefined what was considered possible for forty-somethings in the NFL, exulting the virtues of his 'TB12 Method' and speaking of his desire to play until he is 45.

But Father Time seems to be catching Brady, who threw just 24 touchdowns in the 2019 regular season, the fewest he has managed across a full campaign since he posted the same number in 2006.

Brady is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, a six-time Super Bowl champion and widely regarded as the best quarterback ever; at this point, carrying on may only harm his legacy. But will he want to bow out with a home playoff loss...?

STAY IN NEW ENGLAND

The most likely option is that Brady returns to Foxborough next season.

His slightly disappointing numbers this season come with caveats, most notably the lack of weapons in the passing game, the less-than-stellar offensive line and a ground attack that's remained, well, grounded.

New England drafted Jarrett Stidham last year but he was benched on his debut after throwing a pick-six from his third attempt. Asking him to step in for Brady at this stage appears too much.

Perhaps the Patriots would be better off surrounding Brady with a better cast and making one final Super Bowl push. Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown may just be up for that too.

JOIN THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

If Brady is to go elsewhere in 2020, it will almost certainly be to a Super Bowl contender.

The Colts can be just that. They went 10-6 in 2018 and won a playoff game and, despite losing Andrew Luck to retirement on the eve of the 2019 season, they still went 7-9 this term and would probably have made the playoffs had they had better play at the quarterback position.

Indianapolis have no long-term commitment to current starter Jacoby Brissett, who was one of Brady's former backups in New England.

The Colts have a fine offensive line, a roster stacked with young stars ready to make the next step and an offensive-minded head coach. Brady could do a lot worse, but would Indy - who are also projected to have the most cap space for 2020 - be keen given the current regime's desire to build through the draft?

JOIN THE LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Another AFC team with a possible opening at the game's most important position.

The Chargers, like the Colts, made the playoffs in 2018 and won a game, yet they were hugely disappointing when going 5-11 in 2019.

Philip Rivers might be four years younger than Brady but he looked far older this season and the Chargers can easily cut ties and look elsewhere in 2020.

Los Angeles may just be an appealing destination to California-born Brady; after all, it was to NBA veteran LeBron James.

JOIN THE LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden likes to work with veteran quarterbacks - see Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson - and 'Chucky' has offered no guarantees over current incumbent Derek Carr's future.

What better way to mark the move to a new stadium in a new city by rolling the dice and bringing Brady to Sin City?

The Raiders have a stout offensive line, a brilliant young running back in Josh Jacobs and enough cap space to sign a player of Brady's calibre.

One thing's for sure, if Brady ends up in Las Vegas, former Raider Brown will not be following him after the way he burned his bridges...

JOIN THE CAROLINA PANTHERS

A left-field suggestion, perhaps, but the Panthers have one thing that could work in their favour: A head coaching vacancy.

New England's current offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, is reportedly set to interview with the Panthers next week and both he and Brady may like the idea of joining forces and proving their worth away from Belichick.

The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants are thought to be keen on McDaniels too, though they both have young signal callers.

If Brady wants a 'home away from home' and McDaniels lands in Carolina, the Panthers might just fit the bill. 

Playing with Tom Brady has been "a blessing" for New England Patriots wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who luxuriated in the memory of having caught touchdown passes from the legendary quarterback.

The Patriots lost 20-13 to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday as the reigning champions' title defence was halted in the AFC wild-card round.

Talk quickly turned to the future of the 42-year-old Brady, who dismissed suggestions of retirement but did not elaborate on his next move as free agency looms.

For Dorsett, though, appearing alongside Brady has evidently been a privilege.

"It's meant everything," he said. "It's been amazing. It's been a long ride and an amazing ride. It's a blessing.

"A lot of people can't sit here and say that they've caught touchdown passes from Tom Brady. I'm one of them [who can].

"There's a lot of people that come through this league and I know there's a lot of people that would love to have chance to play with him. I was one of them, so it's been a blessing."

A host of Brady's other team-mates also heaped praise on the three-time MVP, with cornerback Stephon Gilmore saying: "One thing I'll remember is his work ethic. Him coming to work every day and pushing himself no matter how great he is, he'll still push himself.

"It rubs off on everybody, it rubs off on me, so I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Wide receiver Matthew Slater lauded not only Brady the player but also the man, placing greater importance on the latter.

"It has been the experience of a lifetime," he said. "He does things the right way and has all the success in the world, but still remains himself.

"I think that says a lot about who he is as a man and, like I said, ultimately I care more about that than him being a six-time champion.

"I am proud to call him a friend and thankful for everything he has taught me as a football player, but also as a man."

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