IN BRIEF | NFL | 1-28-14


Goodell: Pro Bowl improved

HONOLULU — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing the Pro Bowl more love after previously threatening to cancel it if play didn’t improve.

Goodell said in an ESPN Radio interview Monday that participants played harder and made the game very competitive.

Goodell says he had fun watching the game Sunday and thinks fans did, too.

The future of the Pro Bowl is unclear. The NFL hasn’t committed to holding future games or said whether the game will stay in Hawaii, where Pro Bowls have been held 34 of the last 35 years.

Goodell says a new unconferenced format gave players incentive to play harder.

NFL greats Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders picked teams. Team Rice beat Team Sanders 22-21.

Falcons coach Smith signs extension

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have signed one-year contract extensions through the 2016 season.

Also, the Falcons announced Monday that President Rich McKay signed a four-year extension through May 2019.

McKay, who chairs the NFL’s competition committee, will continue to serve as chief executive officer of the Falcons while leading the development and operation of the team’s new stadium, scheduled to open in 2017.

Dimitroff and Smith each came to the Falcons before the 2008 season. The Falcons are 60-36 under their leadership, including a 4-12 finish in 2012.

Financial terms of the new deals were not released.

Ravens hire Kubiak to direct offense

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has been hired to be the Baltimore Ravens’ new offensive coordinator.

The Ravens announced the hiring Monday.

The 52-year-old Kubiak replaces Jim Caldwell, who left to become coach of the Detroit Lions.

Kubiak was offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos for three years before being named Houston’s head coach in 2006. He was fired on Dec. 6 of this season after the Texans started 2-11.

He had a 61-64 regular season record and went 2-2 in the postseason with Houston.

Kubiak takes over an offense that was ranked 29th in the NFL. Baltimore went 8-8 after winning the Super Bowl last year.

By wire sources