#NFL News and Notes - January 2, 2011

There's always something sad about the final week of the NFL regular season. After today, there are 11 meaningful games until the new season begins, eight-plus months from now.

Not that there won't be any news during that time. The off-season is just as newsy as the regular season is, so bookmark the site and come back many times throughout the day.

NFL News and Notes

Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman turned his three Pro Bowl seasons from 2005-07 and ten minutes of practice time into a two-year extension.

Even though the game has no playoff implications, New England Patriots players are prepared to play the whole game.

2010 has added maturity and perspective for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, writes Greg Bishop of the New York Times.

Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano isn't the problem, writes David Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel.

Today's game against Cleveland is a must-win for the Baltimore Ravens.

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel his first alternate Pro Bowl status to teammate Aaron Smith.

Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren's decision on Eric Mangini overshadows the rematch with the Steelers, writes Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

For the second time in three years, wide receiver auditions are underway for the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Indianapolis Colts are a win or tie away from a 7th AFC South title.

What the Tennessee Titans decide to do with Vince Young will have a ripple effect throughout the organization, writes John Glennon of The Tennessean.

Several Jacksonville Jaguars could be playing their final games with the team, writes Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

The Houston Texans will be fighting for their head coach today, writes Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle.

There's a tangible benefit to the Kansas City Chiefs playing to win today, writes Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star.

Bringing back John Elway isn't just a public relations move by the Denver Broncos, Mike Klis of The Denver Post writes.

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was voted team MVP by his teammates.

Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable hopes to remain part of the team's plan.

The Seattle Seahawks defense needs to stop the Rams' screen passing game, writes Doug Farrar of SportsPress Northwest.

San Francisco 49ers interim head coach Jim Tomsula brings a refreshing approach, writes Matthew Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.

At the end of a disappointing season, Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt wants to finish well.

The St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks are used to battling for division supremacy, writes Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn's rugged style makes him a fan favorite.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre passed an initial concussion test, but remains doubtful for today.

The Chicago Bears need to play to win, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

Detroit Lions tight end Will Heller is one of the reasons for the improved running game, writes Tom Kowalski of MLive.com.

In addition to needing a win over Washington, the New York Giants need help from the Chicago Bears to make the playoffs.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is 36 yards away from joining DeSean Jackson in the 1,000-yard club.

Washington Redskins first-round left tackle Trent Williams is a work in progress, writes Rich Campbell of the Free Lance-Star.

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Doug Free will need another strong game against Eagles defensive end Trent Cole.

New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas will be a game-time decision today against Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris is proud of his team, writes Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times.

The Atlanta Falcons have responded well to adversity in the Mike Smith-Thomas Dimitroff era, writes Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A roster makeover awaits the next Carolina Panthers head coach.

Today's NFL birthdays: Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson (25) and cornerback Greg Toler (26), Texans tight end Anthony Hill (26), free agent offensive lineman Scott Burley (25) and wide receiver Mike Hass (28).

Retired cornerbacks Raymond Clayborn (56) and Pat Fischer (71), running backs Calvin Hill (64) and Craig James (50), tight end Doug Jolley (32), and quarterback Scott Mitchell (43).

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