Falcons give extensions to key pieces of management staff

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Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff signed one-year contract extensions through the 2016 season.

Also, the Falcons announced Monday that President Rich McKay signed a four-year extension through May 2019.

McKay will continue to serve as chief executive officer of the Falcons while leading the development and operation of the team’s new stadium, scheduled to open in 2017.

Dimitroff and Smith each came to the Falcons before the 2008 season.

BETTING: With the Super Bowl approaching, fans are placing bets more than ever.

Fans bet an unprecedented $99 million on the Super Bowl last year, and Nevada sports books collected record amounts of football wagers during the tail end of 2013.

All of this is changing the role of the humble sports book, which casinos used to see as an amenity that kept customers from going next door, but now expect to turn a profit.

Odds makers alike attribute the rise in betting to the increase in televised games, and the ubiquity of sports analysis.

RAVENS: Former Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak was hired to be Baltimore’s new offensive coordinator.

Kubiak replaces Jim Caldwell, who left to become coach of the Detroit Lions.

BROWNS: Coach Mike Pettine is expected to hire Bills linebackers coach Jim O’Neil as his defensive coordinator.

EAGLES: Hired Bill Musgrave to coach their quarterbacks.

Musgrave previously was quarterbacks coach at Atlanta.

PRO BOWL: Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing the game more love after previously threatening to cancel it if play didn’t improve.

Goodell said Monday participants played harder and made the game very competitive.

“It was real football,” Goodell said. “It was something that I give a lot of credit to the players.”

BRAIN TESTS: There’s a race going on among scientists to develop ways to diagnose and treat the concussion-related brain disease CTE.

The strongest evidence so far says it can only be diagnosed after death. But several former NFL stars have essentially been diagnosed based on an experimental test done at UCLA.

Former Buffalo Bills lineman Joe DeLamielleure is among them. He says the results are reassuring because they explain his depression, mood swings and insomnia.

Skeptics think CTE testing and diagnosing is too preliminary and raises ethical concerns.


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