Thursday January 21st, 2016

By Brian Rauf, Chat Sports

The NFL playoffs advance to the conference championship games this weekend with the Denver Broncos hosting the New England Patriots in the AFC and Carolina Panthers hosting the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC.

Check out the latest NFL news and rumors below.

• The Buffalo Bills announced they have hired Kathryn Smith to be their special teams quality control coach, making her the first full-time female assistant coach in NFL history.

• Patriots linebacker Darius Fleming played with 22 stitches in his right leg on Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs after saving a woman who was trapped inside a smoking car, reports the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

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• Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith called Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a “crybaby for how much he complains to referees during games, reports the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Paul Klee.

• San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot but is expected to be ready for the start of off-season workouts, reports the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows.

• The Tennessee Titans announced they have promoted Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau to defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. LeBeau worked for Tennessee last year as an assistant head coach for defense.

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• The value of the Rams doubled from $1.45 billion to $2.9 billion following their move to Los Angeles, reports The Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg. The Rams are now the third-most valuable franchise in the NFL behind the Cowboys and Patriots.

• Clete Blakeman will be the head referee for Super Bowl 50, reports the website Football Zebras. Blakeman, who was the ref of the Cardinals-Packers wild-card game, has worked as a referee for eight years. This game will be his first Super Bowl.

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