NFL Notebook: Bears' Rivera gets to Dallas after delay

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Waiting two hours on a Chicago runway, Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera wondered if icy weather really was delaying his flight to a job interview in Dallas.

"There was a vicious rumor going around Chicago didn't want me to leave so they weren't going to let the plane go," Rivera said, laughing.

Rivera finally arrived at Cowboys headquarters around 4 p.m. yesterday. He spoke with reporters before meeting with team owner Jerry Jones to discuss the head coaching vacancy created when Bill Parcells retired more than two weeks ago.

Rivera, a finalists for the Steelers job, didn't officially become a candidate until speaking with Jones for a few minutes Monday night. But he had been expecting the call since Jones decided to hold the job open through Super Bowl week, when Rivera was off-limits because he was getting his team ready for the game.

"Just the fact that Mr. Jones waited until now, that bodes well for me," Rivera said.

Rivera was the ninth person Jones interviewed. Indianapolis quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell will become No. 10 today.

Having lost to Caldwell and the Colts in Super Bowl XLI Sunday, Rivera spent Monday stewing over it. He was glad to have had a day in between the game and the get-together with Jones.

"It gave me a chance to go through some things in my mind and have a feel for them," he said. "I had a little chance to take a quick look at the Cowboys one last time."


Jeff Rutledge was hired as Arizona's quarterbacks coach by new coach and former Steelers assistant Ken Whisenhunt.

Rutledge, who played 14 seasons in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Washington Redskins, has been head coach at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville the past five seasons. His Bell Academy teams went 41-17 and won the state championship in 2002 and '03. Rutledge played for Bear Bryant at Alabama, directing the team to a national championship in 1978.


Linebacker Lance Briggs was dropped from the NFC's Pro Bowl roster because of a left foot injury, the third Bears defensive star to relinquish his spot because of injuries. Briggs will be replaced by Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, who'll make his 10th consecutive Pro Bowl appearance after winning the MVP award in last season's game.


Left tackle Matt Light was chosen for the Pro Bowl, replacing Jonathan Ogden of the Baltimore Ravens on the AFC team. Light was selected for the first time in his six NFL seasons. He will be New England's only representative in the game Saturday in Honolulu after defensive end Richard Seymour, who had elbow and groin problems, withdrew because of injury.


Right tackle Jon Jansen signed a five-year, $23 million contract extension. He is the team's longest tenured player and had two years left on his previous contract, but he agreed to a new deal that includes more than $10 million in bonus money.


The son of coach Andy Reid was charged with drug and weapon offenses stemming from an incident in which he is accused of pointing a gun at another motorist in a Philadelphia suburb. Britt Reid, 21, was arraigned on nine counts including making terroristic threats, possession of a controlled substance and a felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license.


Cornerback Cortland Finnegan pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a plea agreement to settle a drunken driving charge from June 23.


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