Lamar Jackson led the AFC to a 38-33 win over the NFC in the NFL Pro Bowl amid in-game tributes to Kobe Bryant in Orlando.

NBA great Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday and the news cast a shadow over the NFL's annual all-star clash taking place on the other side of the United States.

Camping World Stadium observed a moment of silence, fans chanted Bryant's name and the NFC defence mimicked the Los Angeles Lakers legend's signature fadeaway jump shot after completing a sack.

Making his first Pro Bowl appearance, star Baltimore Ravens quarterback Jackson threw 185 yards for two touchdowns and one interception to help the AFC to a 10-point half-time lead.

Drew Brees, rumoured to be considering retirement, started at QB for the NFC, who mounted a third-quarter comeback after defensive tackle Fletcher Cox sauntered untroubled into the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown following Harrison Smith's lateral pass.

Davante Adams caught Kirk Cousins' pass to reduce the margin back to three points, before Ryan Tannehill connected with D.J. Chark Jr. on a 60-yard throw to restore the AFC's buffer.

T.J. Watt and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Adams traded scores in the fourth quarter as MVP candidate Jackson paid tribute to Bryant, telling ESPN: "That's a legend. He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant, including myself."

The NFL's attention now turns to Miami, where the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will contest the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Sporting stars from across the globe, including Tom Brady and Neymar, have paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers icon was killed in a helicopter crash.

Bryant, 41, died on Sunday in a crash close to the city of Calabasas in Los Angeles County, California.

Eight others on board, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, also lost their lives.

Following the initial reports of Bryant's passing, athletes and teams from across the world of sport posted their tributes to the Lakers great on social media.

New England Patriots great Brady wrote on his Twitter page: "We miss you already, Kobe."

Patrick Mahomes, another superstar NFL quarterback, said: "Man, not Kobe. Prayers to his family and friends!"

Bryant was an Olympic champion like Usain Bolt, the great sprinter, who posted a picture of the former NBA star on his page.

"Still can't believe ⁦[it] @kobebryant," he said.

World number one golfer Brooks Koepka posted a lengthy message in memory of his "hero".

"Kobe Bryant was my HERO growing up. Even to this day he was an inspiration to the way I approached things," he wrote, adding: "His mentality motivated me not only in hard times but throughout my whole life. RIP, Kobe."

Footballer Raheem Sterling said: "Rest easy, legend."

Meanwhile, Neymar, who scored twice in Paris Saint-Germain's win over Lille on Sunday, dedicated his second goal to the Lakers legend.

Drew Brees spoke to ESPN from the Pro Bowl, saying of Bryant: "I had the chance to meet him one time. He was a guy I hoped to have the chance to be around more.

"I had so much respect for him as a competitor. I know he inspired so many people in so many different ways.

"He was one of the great competitors of any generation - not just with sports but the way he approached a lot of things with what he was doing now after basketball.

"I pray for him, I pray for his family. It's a tragic loss."

The New Orleans Saints accept they offered advice to the city's Archdiocese on how best to handle public relations for litigation on claims of sexual abuse made against members of its clergy, but refute suggestions they have tried to conceal information. 

Reports emerged on Friday that attorneys for around two dozen men suing the church accused the NFL franchise of aiding the Archdiocese of New Orleans to conceal alleged crimes from members of its clergy.

The Saints responded to those accusations via a team statement, insisting they are "offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy" and explained they advised the Archdiocese to be transparent in its approach.

"While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement," the statement read. 

"The New Orleans Saints organisation has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese. 

"The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. 

"Greg Bensel, senior vice president of communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. 

"The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and (owner) Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy. We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing."

The reports claimed the Saints are trying to take action to shield more than 200 e-mails, but the team insisted they are not attempting to conceal information.

"Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public," the statement added. 

"At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe's counsel. 

"Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys. 

"If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case."

Eli Manning says he is "at peace" with his decision to retire as he had no plans to represent anyone other than the New York Giants.

The Giants confirmed on Wednesday that the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback would retire from the NFL, ending a 16-year spell with the team.

Manning joined the Giants in a controversial draft-day trade after being selected by the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and led them to Super Bowl success in 2007 and 2011, both victories coming against the New England Patriots.

Plans are in place to retire Manning's number 10 jersey and the 39-year-old has not ruled out returning to the MetLife Stadium in a coaching capacity, but first he wants time to reflect on his career.

"I'll take some time just to figure out how I want to spend these next years first," he said at Friday's retirement press conference.

"This sport has very few real farewells. It's impossible to explain the satisfaction, and actually the joy, I've experienced being a Giant.

"From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn't be someone other than who I am. 

"Undoubtedly I would've made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy. 

"But that's not me. Ultimately I choose to believe that my team-mates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure unadulterated Eli."

Manning split opinion throughout his career and bows out with 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions.

Asked why now was the right time to announce his retirement, he added: "It was important for me to retire as a Giant. It was the right decision. 

"I know it is and I'm at peace with it. I think that's what has made this day a little bit easier.

"Wellington Mara used to say, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant.' For me, it's only a giant."

Giants co-owner John Mara also spoke at Friday's ceremony and confirmed Manning will be inducted into their Ring of Honor next season.

"This is certainly a day of very mixed emotions for us," he said. "It's sad in one sense because we're seeing the end of an incredible playing career and saying goodbye to someone who has been everything you could ask a player to be both on and off the field for the last 16 years. 

"Yet we're also very happy to that we get to be here to celebrate that incredible career and we're also able to witness one of the greatest players in franchise history be able to leave the game on his own terms, having played his whole career with the Giants, something that doesn't always happen in this business.

"If anybody deserved that opportunity it's Eli Manning. The last 16 years Eli has meant so much to all of us here with the giants and our fans. 

"We all know about the two Super Bowl MVPs and all of the great performances on the field, but just as important was the way he conducted himself on and off the field as the consummate professional, always with dignity always with class."

Antonio Brown remained wanted by police in the United States on Thursday on charges of burglary with battery and criminal mischief.

The former NFL star, who has been without a team since his release by the New England Patriots in September last year, was being sought after allegations made against him late on Tuesday.

The Florida-based Hollywood Police Department issued a statement that said: "On January 21, 2020 at approximately 9:30pm, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Antonio Brown who has been charged with one count of burglary with battery, one count burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, and one count of criminal mischief less than $1,000.

"On January 21, 2020, at approximately 2:00 pm, officers of the Hollywood Police Department received a 911 call for a possible disturbance which occurred at 3600 Estate Oak Circle. When officers arrived on scene they made contact with the alleged victim who stated he was battered by Mr Antonio Brown and Mr Brown’s trainer, Mr Glenn Holt.

"While on scene, officers made contact with Mr Holt who was subsequently taken into custody without incident. Mr Holt was charged with one count of burglary with battery. Officers attempted to make contact with Mr Brown but were unsuccessful."

Wide receiver Brown has not yet commented on the allegations. CNN and other media said the property in question is 31-year-old Brown's home in South Florida.

Police have not detailed the nature of the incident. CNN said it involved a dispute over the delivery of items to Brown's house.

Brown, a seven-time Pro Bowler, left the Patriots amid allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he strenuously denies.

He was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March 2019 after a tumultuous 2018 campaign; however, Brown did not play a game for the Raiders before moving on to his brief stint with the Patriots.

The New Orleans Saints want Drew Brees to return for a 20th NFL season but the veteran quarterback insisted he would not rush the decision.

Brees recently celebrated his 41st birthday and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

The former Super Bowl champion became the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes in December and threw for 208 yards in the NFC wild-card loss to the Minnesota Vikings earlier this month.

However, he plans to consult with his family before deciding on whether to continue his illustrious career.

"I wanted to give it at least a few weeks, months, postseason, just to take a deep breath and decompress a little bit and get some time with the family and then just reassess," Brees told ESPN.

"The most important thing is time with my family, to be with them, talk to them about it. It will be a shared decision. I know my boys wish Dad could play forever."

New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis promised there would be space for Brees if he chose to return for the 2020 season.

"Yeah. I don't think it's any different than it's been for the last few years," Loomis said.

"It's easy to take him for granted, yet I don't take him for granted.

"I don't view it any different than I did a year ago or the year before that or the year before that, regardless of whether he has a contract or not.

"He's a good player. He's been a good player. He continues to be a good player."

Eli Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New York Giants, is to retire from the NFL.

Manning joined the Giants in 2004 in one of the more controversial moments in the history of the NFL Draft. Originally selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers despite his insistence he did not want to play for them, Manning was quickly traded to the Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers, whom New York had selected with the fourth pick.

He went on to lead the Giants to Super Bowl triumphs in the 2007 and 2011 seasons, both of his victories coming against the New England Patriots and his first marking arguably the greatest upset in Super Bowl history with Bill Belichick's team having gone undefeated in the regular season.

Despite twice winning the Lombardi Trophy, Manning has remained one of the more divisive figures in the NFL, with the merits of his career the subject of great debate as his skills have declined in the latter years of his career.

However, the Giants are in no doubt as to his place in the history of the storied franchise.

"For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field," Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara said.

"Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise's history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability.

"It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organisation and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honour in the near future."

"We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years," added Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and executive vice-president.

"Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people.

"We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants."

Manning, who will announce his retirement on Friday, will end his career with 57,023 career passing yards, 366 touchdowns and 244 interceptions. He also scored seven rushing touchdowns.

Controversially benched for one game in 2017, Manning started every game of a 2018 season in which the Giants went 5-11. He started the first two games of 2019 before being benched for rookie Daniel Jones.

An injury to Jones forced Manning back into the line-up for two further starts and he followed a defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles with a victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 15 to finish with 117 wins and 117 losses, a fitting record for a quarterback who split opinion throughout his career.

Eli Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the New York Giants, is to retire from the NFL.

Jay Gruden has been handed an opportunity to coach in the NFL again after taking over as the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator.

Gruden was fired as head coach by the Washington Redskins in October following five straight defeats.

The Redskins have since appointed former Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera as a replacement for Gruden, who in December said he was "itching" to get back into a coaching role.

Gruden told the Rap Sheet podcast: "I'm itching to do something. You definitely miss the camaraderie of the players, the coaches. You've just got to get used to it and wait for your next opportunity.

"We'll see what happens. There's going to be some changes made. Hopefully I'll be in a position to talk to some owners and get another opportunity as head coach."

Gruden has now been given his chance, though it is not as a head coach. Instead, he has been appointed as the new OC for the Jaguars, who finished bottom of the AFC South with a 6-10 record.

"We went through a process and brought in people who have a ton of experience," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. "All of the candidates are proven that they have done it at this level and done it at a high level.

"We were trying to find someone who's best for this staff, who's best for what you want to run, then you're looking for what person's best for your players – who's going to relate to the players, who's going to be able to communicate with them.

"At the end of the day, we just felt that Jay was the best fit for us."

Gruden spent five years as Redskins head coach, finishing with a 35-49-1 record overall and guiding them to the 2015 NFC East title.

The 52-year-old has experience working as an offensive coordinator, having fulfilled the role for the Cincinnati Bengals between 2011 and 2013.

He had also been linked with a possible switch to the Oakland Raiders, who are coached by his older brother Jon.

Odell Beckham Jr. underwent core muscle surgery on Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns announced.

Wide receiver Beckham was expected to have an operation in the offseason, having played through injury for the Browns.

A team statement read: "The surgery was performed by Dr. Bill Meyers in Philadelphia, and a full recovery is expected.

"Beckham dealt with injuries throughout his first season with the Browns but never missed a game."

There were question marks about the three-time Pro Bowler's future after Cleveland went 6-10 in the 2019 NFL season, but he affirmed his commitment to the franchise in December.

Beckham caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns in his first campaign with the Browns following a trade from the New York Giants.

Tevin Coleman remains a chance to play in the NFL Super Bowl despite dislocating his shoulder on Sunday, according to San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Coleman suffered the injury in the second quarter of the 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

The 49ers are awaiting the results of an MRI that will determine whether the running back can take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami on February 2.

Shanahan believes Coleman could well recover in time.

"We've got to wait until we get the stuff back, so I don't want to speculate too much, but it's usually a week to rest it and usually back in [after that]," the San Francisco coach told a news conference.

"I expect him to have a chance to play. You can't hold me to that. We'll find out more after the imaging, but I expect he'll have a good chance to play."

Asked to compare the injury to the shoulder dislocation Emmanuel Moseley suffered in 2018, Shanahan said: "I think he might have torn something, Moseley, because he needed surgery.

"This was more like a Lethal Weapon-type thing, where you've got to pop it back in."

Coleman had six carries for 21 yards before exiting Sunday's game.

Fellow running back Raheem Mostert went on to steal the show, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees retired after Sunday's playoff exit at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs while Marcus Mariota expressed gratitude as his career with the team nears a likely end.

The Titans' Cinderella playoff run came to an end in the AFC Championship game, Tennessee missing out on a place in the Super Bowl with a 35-24 defeat at Arrowhead Stadium.

It was a game that marked the end of a 40-year coaching career for Pees, who won Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.

Mariota was selected second overall by the Titans in 2015 but has not been able to live up to the expectations that came with his lofty draft position.

He lost the starting quarterback job to Ryan Tannehill after a Week 6 defeat to the Denver Broncos and, though he did play two snaps in the postseason, he was left largely to watch from the sidelines as his replacement excelled.

Mariota is a free agent this offseason and appears destined for a change of scenery.

"The organisation took a chance on me, and I felt like I gave them everything I've got," Mariota told reporters as the Titans players cleaned out their lockers on exit day.

"Obviously, we're not sure what is going to happen. But I know when it is all said and done, I gave this organisation everything I could.

"It is never easy, but being around these guys, being around this coaching staff, they helped me along with it. I've built a lot of relationships with these guys, and it's been truly special.

"No matter what, this game will be done for all of us at some point, but the relationships will last. I am truly grateful for the time with these guys."

Ryan Tannehill has been named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his NFL career, replacing Patrick Mahomes.

Quarterback Mahomes is one of five Kansas City Chiefs players who will drop out of Sunday's game after reaching the Super Bowl.

He is replaced in the AFC team in Orlando by the signal caller he beat in the Championship Game, the Titans' Tannehill, who impressed after replacing starter Marcus Mariota in Week 6 of the season.

The Titans, who lost an entertaining clash at Arrowhead Stadium 35-24, also saw another of their alternates, Jurell Casey, named to the game in place of Chris Jones.

Running back Derrick Henry and punter Brett Kern had already been selected to Pro Bowl for the Titans, with the changes giving them four participants.

Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Frank Clark have all been replaced by the Indianapolis Colts' Jack Doyle plus Jacksonville Jaguars duo D.J. Chark and Josh Allen.

Four San Francisco 49ers players – Richard Sherman, Nick Bosa, George Kittle and Kyle Juszczyk – will drop out of the NFC team for the Pro Bowl, with the NFL yet to announce their replacements.

Tom Brady reiterated he is keeping an open mind as he approaches free agency for the first time in his career.

The New England Patriots quarterback is set to hit the open market in the offseason, adamant he is keen to keep playing despite a 2019 campaign in which signs of decline were obvious for the 42-year-old.

Brady, who has played his entire career in New England, previously said he would "explore opportunities" in free agency following the Patriots' Wild Card round loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The six-time Super Bowl champion expressed a similar sentiment in an interview with Westwood One Sports Radio.

He said: "It's only been a couple weeks and I've had a lot of time with my family the last couple weeks and just been decompressing from the season.

"I've said earlier I'm open-minded about the process, and at the same time I love playing football and I want to continue to play and do a great job. I'm looking forward to what's ahead.

"Whatever the future may bring, I'll embrace it with open arms."

Aaron Rodgers is confident Sunday's defeat to the San Francisco 49ers did not represent his final opportunity to win a second Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers.

Veteran quarterback Rodgers led the Packers to the NFL title in February 2011 but has since been frustrated in his pursuit of another ring.

The 49ers' 37-20 success at Levi's Stadium marked Green Bay's third NFC Championship Game loss in six seasons.

Rodgers, now 36, threw two touchdowns and two picks as the Packers failed to recover from a one-sided first half, but he believes this team can still win again, aided by general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur

"The exciting thing is I have a lot of faith and trust in Brian and his staff," he said. "I think Matt LaFleur deserves a lot of credit for the way that we performed week in and week out.

"He even set the vision every week. Very simple messaging. With his leadership and empowering guys the way that he did, and with Brian adding pieces as he did this offseason and will continue to do, the window is open for us.

"That's the exciting thing. It doesn't make this feel any [better], but that is very exciting moving forward.

"The window is open and I think we'll be on the right side of one of these real soon."

However, Rodgers acknowledges such defeats are especially painful in the final years of an esteemed career.

"It's a little raw right now, for sure," he added. "It definitely hurts a little more than earlier in the career just because you realise how difficult it is to get to this spot.

"With all of the changes this offseason, [a new coach], the installation of a new system and a new programme, to get to this point, you feel like it was something special because it just didn't really make sense.

"We weren't picked by most people to win our division, but we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot.

"It just kind of felt like it was meant to be almost, so that was a little bit disappointing.

"It's a little more disappointing when you realise that I don't have the same number of years ahead of me as I do behind me."

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