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NFL: January 10, 2007

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Troy Smith's performance Monday night might have dropped him out of the first round of the NFL Draft. Notre Dame's Brady Quinn and LSU's JaMarcus Russell are projected as the top two quarterbacks in the draft. Smith was at the bottom of a group of second-tier candidates that includes Louisville's Brian Brohm, Michigan State's Drew Stanton and Hawaii's Colt Brennan. Brohm and Brennan are juniors who have yet to declare for the draft but are expected to do so. -- New York Post

Now that Tom Coughlin has apparently saved his job, he must repair his fractured relationship with his players. The healing process from three years of turmoil starts today, when the Giants are expected to announce Coughlin has agreed to a one-year extension. -- New York Daily News

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells was so angry about reports that he had expressed interest in the Giants GM job that he called team co-owner John Mara to put out the fire. "There is absolutely nothing to it," Parcells said from Dallas. -- New York Daily News

If Bill Parcells returns, look for either secondary coach Todd Bowles or linebackers coach Paul Pasqualoni to be among the candidates to head the Cowboys defense. According to a source, Bowles would have been the choice last year had Mike Zimmer, who interviewed to be the Rams head coach, taken another job. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The Giants were granted permission to speak with Patriots vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli for a potential top job in their front office, but Pioli declined the request yesterday. -- Boston Globe

Even though the interview process is young, sources familiar with the Raiders head coaching search now say that Oakland's head coaching job is USC assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian's to lose. --

A Raiders official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz is believed to be on Al Davis' short list of candidates. As of Tuesday, the Raiders had not contacted Martz for an interview. -- San Francisco Chronicle

The Dolphins will interview Mike Martz for their head-coaching vacancy. -- Miami Herald

The Bears' playoff game Sunday will be quarterback Rex Grossman's to win or lose. That's the word from coach Lovie Smith, who was asked about TV reports that the team will have Grossman on a short leash with an eye toward pulling him if it looks like another turnover avalanche is imminent. -- Chicago Sun-Times

Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt have told people privately that they would return as a Steelers assistant coach if they are not chosen as the team's head coach and if they are not hired elsewhere as a head coach. -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Saints receiver Joe Horn took a step back in his recovery from a groin injury Tuesday when he missed the team portion of practice. Saints coach Sean Payton said Horn will be listed as questionable on the injury report. Horn said he hopes to return to practice today. -- New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Dolphins have asked the Jets for permission to speak to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about their head-coaching vacancy, a league official told The Star-Ledger last night. The official requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the discussions. -- Newark Star-Ledger

Newly hired Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said Tuesday that he spoke to quarterback Michael Vick for the first time via telephone Monday night. Since Petrino will call the plays and his brother, Paul, might coach wide receivers, Hue Jackson could help design the offense, prepare the game plan and help shape the offensive scheme around the Falcons' personnel. -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After an inaugural season in which ESPN's "Monday Night Football" drew mixed reviews but strong ratings, the network plans to have analyst Tony Kornheiser back in 2007. And Kornheiser is all for it. -- Newsday

David Pollack's agent says that doctors have told the Bengals linebacker that he could be on the field as soon as next season. -- Cincinnati Enquirer