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Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott apologizes for comments about fans throwing objects at officials

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott apologized Tuesday via Twitter for his postgame comments regarding fans throwing bottles and debris at the officials after Sunday’s wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

A postgame question to Prescott on Sunday initially indicated the fans were throwing things at his teammates in anger, which he called, “sad.” However, when he was told the objects were directed at the officials, he said, “Credit to them then. Credit to them.”

He was given a chance to walk the comments back at the end of his news conference and didn’t.

On Tuesday, he tweeted three times to his 1.4 million followers to apologize, writing:

“I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair.

“I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.

“That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry.”

Prescott, who is a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, took criticism for his comments from media and the NBA Referees Association.

The referees association posted on its official Twitter account Tuesday: “The NBRA condemns the comments by Dak Prescott condoning violence against game officials. As an NFL leader, he should know better. We encourage the NFL to take action to discourage this deplorable behavior in the future.”

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones condemned the actions of the fans.

“That is just unfortunate,” Jones said. “That is not the way I see our fans. I think we’re a class act. I think there is no place for things like that. Understand people being frustrated, but I don’t understand throwing things onto the field where people could get injured. There’s just no place for that.”



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Chicago Bears great Dan Hampton gets 1-year probation after pleading guilty to drunken driving charge

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WINFIELD, Ind. — Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton has been sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge last month in Indiana.

Hampton, 64, had an open jug of wine in his truck and a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped by Winfield police in November. Court records from last month showed he pleaded guilty, which an Indiana judge accepted. Under the plea deal, Hampton must also attend a court-ordered substance abuse program, among other things.

“Mr. Hampton deeply regrets the decision that he made on that particular evening, but he’s accepted responsibility for his actions and he’s looking forward to successfully completing all the terms of his probation,” his lawyer Matt Fech told the Post-Tribune on Monday.

Hampton, who lives in Winfield, was a defensive lineman with the Chicago Bears from 1979 to 1990 and was a member of the Bears’ Super Bowl-winning team in 1985. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.

He played in college at Arkansas, where he was a two-time Southwestern All-Conference selection and defensive player of the year in his final season.

After retiring, he worked as a TV and radio analyst, including as a host of the “The Hamp & O’B Show” on Chicago’s WGN Radio.

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Seattle Seahawks fire DC Ken Norton Jr., defensive assistant Andre Curtis

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The Seattle Seahawks have fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and defensive passing game coordinator Andre Curtis, a significant shake-up to Pete Carroll’s coaching staff on the heels of the team’s worst season in more than a decade.

The Seahawks announced the moves Tuesday.

The 55-year-old Norton, a longtime Carroll assistant, was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator for the past four seasons. The 2021 season typified the mixed-bag nature of his tenure, with the Seahawks finishing fifth worst in yards allowed (379.1 per game) and tied for 11th best in points allowed (21.53).

For the second straight season, Seattle’s defense was gashed at a historic rate early on before rebounding with a strong finish. Carroll mentioned that trend last week while citing several things that went wrong for the Seahawks during a 7-10 season in which they suffered their most losses since 2009, the year before he and general manager John Schneider arrived.

“Defensively, we didn’t start fast enough in this season again,” Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle a day after the Seahawks’ season finale. “That’s two times in a row we didn’t start fast enough, and we found ourselves and put up some good numbers that indicate how you’re playing. Just all of that just didn’t happen soon enough.”

The 2021 team allowed at least 450 yards in four straight games (Weeks 2 through 5), a franchise record and tied for the longest streak in NFL history. The defense got on track after a shake-up at cornerback in which Tre Flowers was benched (he was later released) and D.J. Reed moved back to the right side.

The 2020 team allowed the most passing yards through nine games in league history and topped the previous mark in only eight games. It allowed the fewest points in the NFL over the final seven weeks of that season.

In his end-of-season press conference Jan. 10, Carroll declined to say whether Norton and first-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron would return.

“I’m not addressing any of that stuff,” he said. “This is that day when a lot happens in the league to coaches. It’s a day that we respect differently than others. Until you’re in it, you can’t really relate to all of the impact of this day. But our coaches worked their tails off. They did a great job. We started our season-ending meetings today, and I’ll get with all of these guys before we get out of here. I’m really proud of the work everybody has done, and I feel fortunate that we are doing this thing together.”

Curtis joined Carroll’s staff in 2015 as an assistant secondary coach in charge of safeties. He was elevated to defensive passing game coordinator in 2018.

Norton, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, played for Carroll in 1994 and 1995 when Carroll was the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator. Norton coached under Carroll for 15 of the previous 18 seasons dating back to their time together at USC.

One question now is whether Carroll will again hire one of his past assistants to run his defense or go outside of his own coaching tree. Dan Quinn, Kris Richard and Norton had all previously worked under Carroll or were already doing so when they became Seattle’s defensive coordinators. Gus Bradley, a holdover from Jim L. Mora’s 2009 staff, was the lone exception among the four defensive coordinators Carroll has had in Seattle.

Clint Hurtt, Seattle’s defensive line coach and assistant head coach, is the highest-ranking defensive assistant on Carroll’s staff.

Carroll brought Norton with him to Seattle from USC in 2010 as the Seahawks’ linebackers coach, the same role he held for the previous six seasons with the Trojans. The Raiders hired Norton as their defensive coordinator in 2015 and fired him midway through the 2017 season. Carroll brought him back to Seattle in 2018 as defensive coordinator after parting with Richard.

That change coincided with the transitioning away from the famed Legion of Boom secondary. Kam Chancellor suffered a career-ending neck injury in 2017 and Richard Sherman was released after that season. Earl Thomas held out during the 2018 offseason and returned only to suffer a broken leg in the fourth game. He then left in free agency.

In four seasons under Norton, the Seahawks ranked 11th, 22nd, 15th and tied for 11th in points allowed. They were 16th, 26th, 22nd and 28th in yards allowed.

The 2021 Seahawks finished 25th in takeaways and tied for 22nd in sacks despite the expectation that their loaded pass rush would be among their biggest strengths. Strong safety Jamal Adams, who set the NFL sack record for a defensive back with 9.5 in 2020, didn’t record a sack this past season while blitzing less often. He landed on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 13.

Norton made three Pro Bowls and was once named a first-team All-Pro during his 13-year NFL playing career. He holds the distinction of being the only player in NFL history to play for three straight Super Bowl winners: the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and ’93 and the 49ers in ’94.

The son of former heavyweight champion Ken Norton Sr., Norton Jr. has said that living through the ups and downs of his father’s boxing career as a kid helped prepare him to handle the scrutiny he has faced when Seattle’s defense has struggled.

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