NFL notes

Saints: Kromer will be interim coach first six games

The New Orleans Saints designated offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as the interim head coach for the first six regular-season games, when assistant head coach Joe Vitt will have to serve his suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

Vitt has been overseeing head coaching duties since Sean Payton's full season suspension began in mid-April, but the Saints held off until Wednesday on a decision concerning who would become the figurehead of the coaching staff when Vitt had to step aside in Week 1.

The 45-year-old Kromer is in his fifth season with the Saints and also serves as running game coordinator.

"This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role," general manager Mickey Loomis said. "Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of change with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years."

The move allows offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. to maintain his focus exclusively on designing and calling plays for Drew Brees and the Saints' record-setting offense.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who was a head coach the past three seasons in St. Louis, was another option, but he is in his first season in New Orleans and trying to help the Saints adjust to his scheme.

"Aaron has been with us since 2008, he has coached with Sean both in college (at Miami, Ohio) and here at the Saints," Loomis said. "He is very familiar with our team and with the methods we have been successful with. He will do a great job."

Kromer, who interviewed for a head coaching job in St. Louis last offseason, said he appreciated the confidence the Saints are showing in him, but also noted he sees his role as having much more to do with ensuring continuity than putting his personal stamp on the way the team is run.

Reid: Vick will be ready for opener

Eagles coach Andy Reid says there's no question Michael Vick will be ready to play the season opener despite injuring his ribs again.

Vick won't practice Wednesday after bruising his ribs and the soft tissue surrounding it during Philadelphia's win at New England on Monday. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback hasn't been ruled out of Friday night's preseason game at Cleveland, though it's unlikely he will play.

With Beatty out, Locklear is Giants left tackle

Veteran Sean Locklear seemingly is no longer an insurance policy in case one of the New York Giants' offensive tackles is hurt.

With Will Beatty struggling with back issues, Locklear is the projected starting left tackle for the Super Bowl champions, No one, though, is ready to say he will be there when the season starts in two weeks.

Beatty remains a question mark. Penciled in as the left tackle coming into training camp, a case of sciatica has prevented him from playing in a preseason game.

After Beatty missed another practice Wednesday, coach Tom Coughlin said time is running out for the four-year veteran to get back on the field for the opener against Dallas on Sept. 5.

However, Coughlin refused to say Locklear would replace him.

Court: Ex-NFL punter eligible for workers comp

Longtime-NFL punter Tom Tupa is eligible for workers compensation for a career-ending injury he suffered while warming up for a preseason game in 2005 at FedEx Field while playing for the Washington Redskins, Maryland's highest court ruled on Wednesday. The court rejected the idea that football injuries should not be considered accidental because of the rough nature of the sport.

Tupa's injury happened "out of and in the course of (his) employment," the Maryland Court of Appeals said in its 16-page opinion.

"He was warming up for a game when he landed awkwardly and thereafter sought immediate medical treatment," Judge John Eldridge wrote in the opinion. "Ample evidence was presented to show that Tupa suffered a compensable accidental injury during the course of his employment."

The team and insurers argued that Tupa's injury was not an accidental personal injury within the meaning of Maryland's workers' compensation law.

The court rejected that argument.

The 46-year-old Tupa played 18 seasons in the NFL for seven teams from 1988 to 2005. He played no games for the Redskins after the 2005 injury, which happened in Maryland's Prince George's County.

The team and insurers argued that the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission did not have jurisdiction over Tupa's claim, because he was contractually bound to bring it in Virginia, where the Redskins are headquartered. The court, however, cited case law that found Maryland's workers' compensation law can apply to an employee's claim, despite language in a contract saying otherwise.

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