Area players invited to NFL combine

STAFF WRITERJanuary 6, 2010 

Willie Young and Ted Larsen of N.C. State and Thaddeus Lewis and Vince Oghobaase of Duke have been invited to the NFL scouting combine, according to representatives of their respective schools.

Executives, coaches and medical personnel from all 32 NFL teams will attend the combine from Feb. 24 through March 2 in Indianapolis to evaluate prospective players for the draft.

Young, a defensive end, finished his career ranked second in N.C. State history with 45.5 tackles for loss. Larsen was a two-year starter at center after moving to the offensive line from defense in the spring of 2008.

Lewis set 48 Duke records at quarterback, including career marks for total offense (9,987 yards) and touchdown passes (67). Oghobaase ranks fifth in Duke history with 14 career sacks.

Texans' Cushing wins defensive rookie award: Brian Cushing has become the second Houston Texans linebacker in four seasons to be chosen The Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The tackling machine from Southern Cal, drafted 15th overall in April, is a runaway winner in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Cushing receives 39 votes, easily beating Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd, who has six.

Bears keep Smith, fire Turner: Lovie Smith will return for the Chicago Bears next season.

But he's done calling the defensive plays. His staff will have a new look, too.

The team fired offensive coordinator Ron Turner and five other coaches on that side of the ball Tuesday after going 7-9 with Jay Cutler at quarterback and missing the playoffs for the third straight year following a Super Bowl run.

Mangini to meet with Holmgren today: Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini held onto his job for at least another day.

New team president Mike Holmgren said Tuesday - his first official day running the team - that Mangini, who had an eventful first season, has a legitimate chance to return with the Browns.

Holmgren only met briefly with Mangini on Tuesday. Holmgren said he will have "The Meeting" with Mangini today and hopes to have a decision made by the end of the week on the coach's future.

Injury news: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco worked out on Tuesday even though he hadn't fully recovered from a sore knee, getting ready for a playoff rematch against the Jets team that held him without a catch.

The New Orleans Saints on Tuesday placed Charles Grant on injured reserve and will have to make their playoff run without their starting defensive end.

St. Louis Rams rookie guard Roger Allen III tore a ligament in his left knee in the season finale, spoiling his first career start.

Panthers sign ex-Deacons center: The Carolina Panthers have signed four players, including former Wake Forest center Steve Justice and Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson.

Defensive back Marcus Walker and defensive end Eric Moore also were signed on Tuesday.

L.A. company looking to lure team: The company behind a plan to lure the NFL back to Los Angeles said Tuesday the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills are the first teams it will try to relocate.

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