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tampa, fla. » The Buc­ca­neers fired coach Lovie Smith on Wed­nes­day night.

Smith went 6- 10 this sea­son and 8- 24 over two years in charge of the team. The an­nounce­ment came as a sur­prise to many, be­cause Smith’s job was not con­sid­ered to be in dan­ger.

A state­ment from Buc­ca­neers co- chair­man Joel Glazer said: “This de­ci­sion was dif­fi­cult on a va­ri­ety of lev­els. I am dis­ap­pointed that we were not more suc­cess­ful th­ese past few sea­sons, but we are com­mit­ted to do­ing what is nec­es­sary to give our fans the win­ning team they de­serve. “

Gen­eral man­ager Ja­son Licht will oversee the search for a new coach.

John­son mulls fu­ture B allen park, mich. » Calvin John­son has drawn com­par­isons to Barry San­ders in Detroit.

Both made spec­tac­u­lar plays for the Li­ons. Off the field, they were quiet and hum­ble.

The su­per­star re­ceiver and run­ning back might have one more thing in com­mon this off­sea­son.

“Like many play­ers at this stage of their ca­reer, I am cur­rently eval­u­at­ing op­tions for my fu­ture,” John­son said Wed­nes­day. “I would ex­pect to have a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing this mat­ter in the not- too- dis­tant fu­ture.”

John­son has de­clined to say if he will re­struc­ture his con­tract, which calls for him to count $ 24 mil­lion against the salary cap next sea­son.

If the op­tion John­son chooses is re­tire­ment, he will walk away from the game de­spite hav­ing the phys­i­cal abil­ity to play more just as San­ders did at the same age.

Coach Pay­ton stay­ing B

me­tairie, la. » Coach Sean Pay­ton said he’s re­main­ing with the Saints, end­ing spec­u­la­tion that he could be on the move af­ter con­sec­u­tive 7- 9 sea­sons.

Pay­ton has been with the Saints for a decade and com­ing off his first con­sec­u­tive los­ing sea­sons. RB Lynch a “full go” B renton, wash.

» Run­ning back Mar­shawn Lynch was a full par­tic­i­pant in prac­tice on Wed­nes­day, his first on­field work with the Seahawks since un­der­go­ing ab­dom­i­nal surgery in late Novem­ber and miss­ing the fi­nal seven games of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

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