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Colts pick Ravens aide as coach

INDIANAPOLIS -- The next chapter in the Peyton Manning saga could take a decidedly defensive turn.

Indianapolis hired Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as its new coach Wednesday and will introduce him at a news conference this afternoon.

It's the third time Jim Irsay has turned to a defensive-minded coach since replacing his father as team owner in 1997, first hiring Jim Mora and then Tony Dungy as Mora's replacement in 2002.

"I like it," Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis wrote on Twitter.

The Colts are hoping the change produces better results after Indy went 2-14 last season, its worst record in two decades. But there are questions about how this decision will impact the future of Manning and his teammates.

The 51-year-old Pagano had been a career assistant until Wednesday. He had coached previously in the NFL at Oakland and Cleveland and also worked extensively in college with stops at Miami and North Carolina.

He's the fourth Ravens defensive coordinator to get a head coaching job in less than a decade. The others were Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Jets coach Rex Ryan and former 49ers coach Mike Nolan.

Those who have worked closely with Pagano believe he's ready for the promotion.

"Chuck has a leadership quality about him. He's humble but he also knows when to take the reins and take charge," Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger said. "He doesn't try to dominate you in every meeting. He's just a coach that knows exactly how players are and what direction they need."

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Around the league

*New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was listed as unable to practice on Wednesday on the team's first injury report since he injured his left ankle in the AFC title game against the Baltimore Ravens. Although the Patriots did not practice, they were required to file an injury report. The Patriots will play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.

*Commissioner Roger Goodell has job security through the 2018 season after agreeing with the league on a contract extension through March 2019. Terms were not disclosed.

*Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie is finalizing a contract to make Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen the team's next head coach, a person familiar with the process said Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

*The NFL is relaxing its social media policy and allowing players to tweet before and during Sunday's Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The league on Wednesday said it will set up a computer on each sideline where players are encouraged to use Twitter to communicate with fans, teammates and even opponents during commercial breaks and when their offensive or defensive unit is not on the field.

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