The Detroit Lions are adding tight end Zach Ertz after losing three players at that position to injury. Jason E. Miczek/Associated Press

When Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta suffered a knee injury in the season finale, the team opted not to add depth at the position. But following a season-ending practice injury suffered by James Mitchell, followed by Brock Wright breaking his forearm in Sunday’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team was left with no choice but to seek reinforcements.

The team has found them in former three-time Pro Bowler Zach Ertz, who will initially sign with the team’s practice squad. The news was first reported by the NFL Network. A team source familiar with the negotiations confirmed the agreement to the Detroit News.

Ertz, who reached a mutual agreement to be let out his contract with the Arizona Cardinals in late November, will reunite with former position coach Steve Heiden in Detroit. Working together last season, the then-32-year-old Ertz tallied 47 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games.

For his career, the 12-year veteran has caught 709 balls for 7,434 yards and 46 scores. In Super Bowl LII, he had seven grabs for 67 yards and a touchdown in the Philadelphia Eagles championship win over the Patriots.

In Detroit, he’ll provide depth behind LaPorta, the record-setting rookie, and Anthony Firkser, who played 12 offensive snaps in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

TITANS: Tennessee has agreed to hire Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as its head coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been finalized.


Callahan replaces Mike Vrabel, who was fired on Jan. 9 after six seasons.

The 39-year-old Callahan had a virtual interview with Tennessee on Jan. 12, the first of 10 candidates to speak to the team. The Titans interviewed Callahan in person and decided to hire him, the person said.

EAGLES: Philadelphia seems set to run it back with Nick Sirianni.

Sirianni is scheduled to address the media Wednesday at an end-of-season press conference, indicating the embattled head coach will return for the 2024 season.

He’ll be joined at the press conference by General Manager Howie Roseman, according to the Eagles, who say the duo will “preview what’s in store for the offseason.”

Monday’s announcement follows a week of speculation about Sirianni’s future after his Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-9, in the first round of the NFL playoffs.


After beginning the season 10-1, Philadelphia dropped five of its final six regular-season games, including to the lowly Cardinals and Giants in Weeks 17 and 18, and relinquished the NFC’s No. 1 seed and their lead atop the NFC East.

BROWNS: Joe Flacco’s short, surprising stint with the Browns could lead to a second season in Cleveland – maybe as Deshaun Watson’s backup.

General Manager Andrew Berry said he would “absolutely love” to re-sign the 39-year-old Flacco, who went 4-1 as a starter and helped the Browns make the playoffs after Watson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

Berry noted there could be financial limitations that prevent Flacco from returning, but said he’s open to the possibility.

“He played winning football for us,” Berry at his season-ending news conference. “I want to bring all of our good players back, but there are constraints to that. I’m really kind of both sides of the aisle but would have no problem having Joe back.”

Flacco hasn’t decided if he wants to continue playing or if he would settle for being a team’s No. 2 QB. The former Super Bowl MVP was signed by the Browns out of desperation in November and resurrected his career by throwing for more than 300 yards in each of his last five games.


JAGUARS: Jacksonville hired Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen for the same position, tasking him with revamping a unit that was one of the worst in the league late in the season.

The 44-year-old Nielsen takes over for Mike Caldwell, who was fired along with seven defensive assistants a day after the Jaguars (9-8) ended the season by losing five of six and missing the playoffs.

Jacksonville had issues on both sides of the ball, but coach Doug Pederson made Caldwell the scapegoat for the worst late-season collapse in franchise history. Pederson kept longtime friend and play-caller Press Taylor and much of the offensive staff intact.

PANTHERS: Carolina promoted Dan Morgan to president of football operations and general manager, handing the task of turning around the struggling franchise to a former star linebacker with the team.

Morgan, who has spent the past three seasons as the Panthers’ assistant GM, will oversee the personnel operation, the team announced.

The Panthers are 31-68 since David Tepper bought the team in 2018, tied with the New York Jets for the worst record in the league in that span. They have not been to the postseason since 2017 and have been criticized for poor trades and draft picks in recent years.

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