The Bears also hired Vic Fangio as their new defensive coordinator, hoping the veteran coach who spent the last four seasons with San Francisco can breathe some life into the once-storied unit.
Fangio had been a candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the Washington Redskins. He also was bypassed for the 49ers’ coaching job, given to defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
Fangio just finished his fourth season as 49ers defensive coordinator after coming from Stanford with former coach Jim Harbaugh before the 2011 season. San Francisco had one of the NFL’s top defenses during his tenure but missed the playoffs at 8-8 this season following three straight NFC Championship Game appearances.
Fangio will be asked to reshape the Bears into the same kind of stingy, ball-hawking, hard-hitting bunch he had in San Francisco.
Last season under coordinator Mel Tucker, the Bears allowed 442 points, the second most in franchise history behind a team-record 478 one year earlier.
Chicago also brought in former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Ed Donatell to coach defensive backs. Donatell spent the last four seasons as the secondary coach for the 49ers.
Ravens get Trestman: The Baltimore Ravens hired Marc Trestman as their offensive coordinator, keeping with their tendency to hire a former head coach for the position.
Trestman was fired by the Bears last month after going 5-11 in his second season. He also interviewed with Cleveland for the offensive coordinator job.
Trestman is the fourth former head coach in four years to fill the position with the Ravens. He follows Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell and Gary Kubiak.
Woodson will return to Raiders: The Oakland Raiders signed pending free-agent safety Charles Woodson to a one-year contract extension on Monday, bringing him back for an 18th season in the National Football League.
The team announced the contract by releasing a picture of Woodson signing the deal next to Hall of Fame defensive back Willie Brown. Woodson was eligible to be a free agent in March.
Woodson will turn 39 in October but showed few signs of slowing down in his 17th professional season. He played all 16 games this season and was on the field for a teamhigh 1,100 snaps, according to STATS LLC. The only defensive back to start a game at age 39 or older is Hall of Famer Darrell Green, who played until he was 42.
Woodson led the Raiders with 160 tackles, including 105 solo tackles and four interceptions. He also added nine passes defensed and one sack.
Woodson, who played for the Green Bay Packers from 2006-’12, is an eight-time Pro Bowl player.
Rams shift lease agreement: The Rams took a step toward lame-duck status in St. Louis and a possible move back to the West Coast, notifying the city’s Convention and Visitors Commission that they intend to shift to a year-to-year lease agreement for their use of the Edward Jones Dome.
Rams billionaire owner Stan Kroenke is part of a joint venture that announced plans earlier this month for an 80,000-seat stadium in the Los Angeles suburbs. Any move would be subject to approval by the NFL and its owners. The NFL has already said no moves would be made in time for next season.
Under terms of a 30-year lease agreement reached in 1995, the Rams had the ability to convert the lease to annual terms if the dome was not deemed among the top 25% of NFL stadiums based on vari-
Woodson ous criteria.
The CVC had little chance of meeting the standards given 22 of 32 teams are playing in stadiums built after 1995.
Former Vikings star dies: Running back Tommy Mason, the first draft pick in Minnesota Vikings history, has died. He was 75.
Mason’s sister-in-law, Suzanne MacNeil, said Mason died Thursday at his home in Newport Beach, Calif.
No cause of death was given, but Mason sustained multiple concussions during his playing career, MacNeil said, and was part of the “88 Plan.” That’s the program created in honor of former NFL player John Mackey, who wore No. 88 for the Baltimore Colts and died in 2011 after a long fight with dementia.
The “88 Plan,” part of the NFL labor agreement in 2006, was devised to provide up to $88,000 annually for care for former players with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The Vikings took Mason out of Tulane with the first overall selection in 1961. The native of Lake Charles, La., played six of his 11 NFL seasons with the Vikings and became their first all-pro player in 1963. He also was picked for three Pro Bowls.
Mason is eighth on the team’s all-time rushing list with 3,252 yards and ninth with 39 touchdowns. He also was a kickoff and punt returner.
Mason went on to play four years with the Los Angeles Rams and his final season with the Washington Redskins.
Marrone lands in Jacksonville: Doug Marrone probably didn’t envision this when he
Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork didn’t have the biggest game of his career against the Indianapolis Colts, but that didn’t stop him from making an impact Jan. 18.
Wilfork helped pull a woman out of an overturned SUV he came upon while driving home from the Patriots’ 45-7 victory over the Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium.
According to Massachusetts state police, Wilfork stopped at the site of the crash and talked to the driver until police arrived. The woman could not get out of the vehicle until Wilfork managed to pull her out with one hand while an officer held open the driver’s side door.
Wilfork left once officers said they were capable of handling the situation.
“I just wanted to get her to safety,” Wilfork told reporters the next day.
The 38-year-old woman was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Ravens to release lineman: The Ravens intend to terminate veteran nose tackle Terrence Cody’s contract after the Super Bowl, the team announced.
Cody is under investigation for animal cruelty, and the case is being discussed with the Baltimore County state’s attorney’s office, said police spokeswoman Elise Armacost.
Cody hasn’t been charged with a crime.
According to multiple sources, the case involves the death of Cody’s dog.