There will be a lot of names bandied about for this year's head coaching vacancies, and the speculation has already started with the knowledge that both the Giants and Falcons are in the market.
Patriots coordinators Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel will certainly be considered, and there is an interesting history between Weis and Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi.
Accorsi attended the funeral for then-Patriots quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein in the summer of 2001, and recently recalled the eulogy Weis delivered that day.
Said Accorsi, "He said, 'Dick Rehbein was born and raised in Green Bay, Wis., and he always said his lifelong dream was to be head coach of the Green Bay Packers, just like mine is to be head coach of the New York Giants.'"
Following the funeral, Weis approached Accorsi and asked if he'd heard what was said.
Continued Accorsi, "I said, 'Of course I heard it.' I told him, 'I'll pass it on to my successor.' We were just coming off a Super Bowl appearance and I never thought I'd have to make another coaching change as long as I was here."
Now he does.
Woodson's bottom line
Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson will be a free agent in March, and while he claims he'd like to remain in Oakland, his priority is simple.
"I want every penny. I'm not going to keep that a secret," Woodson said. "I feel I go out and play as hard as I can every down. I just want to get something done, regardless. This is the only team I've played with, the only team I know. It's my team ... Forget the average [pay of top cornerbacks in the league]. I want to be the top."
Strong words from an excellent player, but one that was frequently injured prior to this season and caused a stir earlier this season with an attack on coach Bill Callahan. It's also interesting to note that Woodson expects to be the best-paid cornerback, but his peers along with coaches didn't seem his play worthy enough to be in the Pro Bowl.
Woodson's name was often heard in trade rumors last offseason, likely because the Raiders knew it would be difficult to sign him, especially with Carl Poston as his agent.
He is accepting the probability that he will be elsewhere next season.
"It seems that lately I've been thinking about it a lot," he said. "Nothing has been done up to this point. I really hoped something would be done. I didn't have real expectations, but I thought I wouldn't have to go through all this."
The 49ers have a decision to make on wide receiver Terrell Owens after the season, and most believe he won't be re-signed or have the franchise tag placed on him. Also scheduled to become free agents are linebacker Julian Peterson and cornerback Ahmed Plummer.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia weighed in on the subject when asked who should be franchised.
Said Garcia, "When it comes to franchising somebody on this team, I couldn't really see a more valuable guy than Julian Peterson right now. I know Ahmed Plummer is coming up in a position where he's probably going to be a free agent. Those are two key aspects to this team, but with what Julian Peterson brings as far as his all-around game - he's such an outstanding player - it would be tough seeing him play anywhere else. That would be a huge letdown for this team."
Coach Dennis Erickson went so far as to say Peterson is the No. 1 player on the team.
"He's a playmaker in all aspects at linebacker," Erickson said. "Obviously, he's been our best overall player."
Change of scenery
Before the Falcons played Tampa Bay this past Saturday, Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy (formerly Tampa Bay's head coach) was asked about the irony of Rich McKay being hired away from the Bucs by the Falcons and then facing his former team less than a week later.
"I went back 1 1/2 years later, and it felt strange to me," Dungy said. "He's going back in three days. It's unbelievable. It happens, but not usually overnight. I hope they left his parking place there."