Top National Sports Stories: Gruden welcomed back in Oakland...Ryan misses Falcons practice...Panthers drop offensive coaches

Published on January 10, 2018 at 06:52AM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden was treated like a returning hero as he was introduced yesterday as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders, two decades after he originally took the job. Gruden was greeted by owner Mark Davis with a video of the highlights from his first tenure in Oakland, which lasted four seasons and included a 38-26 record with two playoff appearances from 1998-2001. He won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Raiders and has spent the last nine years as an announcer at ESPN.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan did not practice with the team yesterday as he tended to an undisclosed personal matter. A team spokesman said the Falcons did not plan to reveal the reason for Ryan’s absence but would allow him to address the matter with the media tomorrow “if he decides to do so.” Atlanta will head to Philadelphia to face the Eagles in the NFC divisional playoffs on Saturday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have fired longtime offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey after the team finished 19th in total yardage. Shula spent seven seasons on Ron Rivera’s coaching staff, the last five as the team’s offensive guru. The dismissals came two days after Carolina was knocked out of the NFC playoffs with a 31-26 loss at New Orleans.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has announced that he will be back at Columbia for his senior season after giving consideration to entering this year’s NFL draft. Lock just broke the school and SEC single-season records for touchdown passes with 44 while leading the Tigers to seven wins and their first bowl game since 2014. He says he is staying at Missouri in part because he felt a sense of responsibility and loyalty to his coaches and teammates.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Defensive lineman Jalen Wilkerson is the sixth Florida State player to announce he is leaving early to enter the NFL draft. The redshirt sophomore started only one game this past season but played in all 13, logging 19 tackles, including six tackles for loss. Wilkerson joins safety Derwin James, tight end Ryan Izzo, defensive end Josh Sweat, cornerback Tarvarus McFadden and wide receiver Auden Tate in leaving early.