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Browns pick Jauron to coach 'D'

CLEVELAND -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur joked about his defense at his introductory news conference. But he hired someone serious to run it.

Shurmur called on former NFL head coach Dick Jauron as his defensive coordinator Friday, a well-respected 60-year-old, who spent last season as Philadelphia's secondary coach.

"He has a tremendous knowledge of the game and is an excellent teacher," Shurmur said. "His experience in the NFL as a player, position coach, coordinator and head coach will be a huge asset to our staff."

Jauron and Shurmur have known each other for years. Jauron played and coached with Shurmur's uncle, Fritz, in Green Bay. Jauron has previous experience as a coordinator and he was head coach in Buffalo (2006-2009) and Chicago (1999-2003), posting a 60-82 record.

Jauron also has ties to Browns president Mike Holmgren, working as the Packers' defensive backs coach when Holmgren was head coach.

Under Jauron, the Eagles' secondary had 23 interceptions last season, third best in the NFC. Cornerback Asante Samuel had seven picks.

Before taking over as Bears coach, Jauron served as defensive coordinator for the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995-98. He helped the team make the playoffs three times in four years, including the AFC championship in 1996.

Jauron drew interest from several other teams, but decided on Cleveland, where he's likely to convert the Browns' 3-4 scheme to a 4-3.

"There were many elements of this job that were attractive for me," Jauron said. "I believe that with people like Pat Shurmur, Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert in place, this organization is building a solid foundation."


Simms nixes plea deal

NEW YORK -- Tennessee Titans backup quarterback Chris Simms rejected a plea deal Friday after being charged with driving while high on marijuana, putting the case on track for a trial as soon as March.

Simms would have been spared jail and a criminal record if he took what prosecutors said was a last-chance offer to plead guilty to driving while his ability was impaired, a traffic infraction. His punishment would have included a $500 fine, five days of community service and a 90-day driver's license suspension.

Defense lawyer Kim Richman told a judge Simms "will respectfully decline that offer."

That leaves the 30-year-old son of former New York Giants QB Phil Simms facing a trial on charges that could net him up to a year in jail if he's convicted. The judge set a March 1 trial date.


Around the league

*The Panthers have hired Mike Shula as quarterbacks coach, a key position as Carolina tries to turn around the NFL's worst offense under new coach Ron Rivera. Shula was quarterbacks coach in Jacksonville from 2007-10.

*Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had surgery on his right throwing shoulder and the team said it expects him to be back in time for training camp.

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