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AFC Roundup: Coaching Carousel Continues, Rice Says Lewis In His Final Season

With the number of teams still in the postseason down to four, many NFL teams are already looking ahead to the 2013 season. For the San Diego Chargers, they’re moving past the Norv Turner era and will look to the future with former Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy as their new coach.

Other coaching rumors continue to swirl for McCoy’s possible replacement and now that Oregon coach Chip Kelly did a 360 and said yes to the Philadelphia Eagles, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is a possible contender for the position.

With the New England Patriots preparing to play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday for the AFC Conference Championship, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is dominating headlines even though the Patriots are favored for the win (-9, 51.5 o/u).

McCoy Gets First Head Coach Gig

Chargers coach Mike McCoy

On Tuesday, the Chargers announced that McCoy would become their new coach. It appeared to be a lovefest and “perfect fit” for both after one interview.

McCoy, 40, is stepping into uncharted territory as a head coach after being the Broncos’ offensive coordinator. He will join the one-week old Chargers GM, Tom Telesco, also 40, who is also green at the top spot.

The team had already interviewed Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, former head coaches Lovie Smith and Ken Whisenhunt, and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

But when you know, you know.

Telesco said of McCoy via AP, “Once he came in and once we saw how good he was, we just felt we had to have him now. We had to get it done or we’d lose him. When he came in, after a little bit of time, you could tell he was the right guy for us. We went after him hard.”

Meanwhile, there’s now an opening in Denver for an offensive coordinator. With the number of open head coach roles dwindling (Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars are still vacant), Whisenhunt really has one option in 2013 so going the offensive coordinator route may be his only option.

But would he essentially be working for free?

ProFootballTalk cited Les Bowen of thePhiladelphia Daily News reporting about this possibility but he didn’t have a lot to back it up.

With Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning at the helm, isn’t he really the one running the offense?

Will this really be Lewis’ last season?

Ravens LB Ray Lewis

For Sunday’s upcoming game, there’s a number of storylines: Can the Ravens beat the Patriots again (probably not)? Will the Patriots survive without Gronkowski (yes)? Will good Joe Flacco show up (Ravens fans hope so)?–just to name a few.

But one story also dominating headlines is Ravens veteran linebacker Ray Lewis. Should the Ravens lose on Sunday, will this really be Lewis’ last season?

On Wednesday, the linebacker’s team buddy running back Ray Rice said yes, Lewis will really be retiring after the season.

He noted that yes, Lewis has been a motivating force for the team’s wins against the Indianapolis Colts and the Broncos, but this will be it for the player.

Rice said via ESPN, “For our general, our captain, this is it for him. If you want to call it riding an emotional high, of course we are. We’re going to go out there and give it our best shot for our guy. He’s done it for 17 years and led our guys to one Super Bowl. I’m not taking away no credit from the New England Patriots. They set the standard on how to win. But you’re talking about a pioneer that laid a platform for the whole NFL. We’d like to send him out the right way.”

Should Lewis have a change of heart, the Ravens would have to pay him $5.4 million in 2013.

But will the Ravens win it all next month in New Orleans? The odds are 15 to 2 to do so.


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