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NFL Report / News and notes

>Around the league

Fox to Broncos: John Fox, who led the Carolina Panthers for the last nine seasons, was hired as head coach for the Denver Broncos. Fox was picked over four other candidates to replace Josh McDaniels and was the first major hire for John Elway, now running football operations in Denver.

Shurmur to Browns: Pat Shurmur, St. Louis' offensive coordinator the past two years, was hired by the Cleveland Browns, ending a search for their fifth coach since 1999 that began when team president Mike Holmgren fired Eric Mangini on Jan. 3 after his second straight 11-loss season.

Coleman, Smith questionable: New York Jets backup cornerback Drew Coleman, the team's nickel back and a key special teams player, injured a knee late in practice Thursday and his status for the playoff game at New England Sunday was uncertain. Wide receiver-kick returner Brad Smith (groin) was limited and his status is also uncertain. Smith was hurt in last week's win over Indianapolis.

Cowher pays visit: Bill Cowher returned to the Steelers' sideline for the first time since resigning as their coach four years ago. Cowher, attending in his role as a CBS analyst, watched the Steelers' final practice Thursday before their AFC playoff game against Baltimore on Saturday. It was his first official visit to their practice site since he stopped coaching.

No formal labor talks: The NFL and its players' union acknowledged they have not held a large-group negotiating session since November -- and there are no formal meetings scheduled to work toward a new collective bargaining deal. Thursday marked seven weeks until the current CBA is set to expire.

Taylor guilty of misdemeanors: Former NFL star Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual misconduct and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute, misdemeanor charges that carry no jail time but require him to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to six years probation.

Favre's sister released: The sister of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was released from jail Thursday after a brief appearance in a Mississippi courtroom, a day after she was arrested during a methamphetamine bust. Brandi Favre, 34, had been jailed on $40,000 bond on charges of manufacturing methamphetamine and generating hazardous waste.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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