Colts Play It Safe; Haley Barbour Pardons Brett Favre's Brother

Today in sports: Joe Paterno's son won't coach at Penn State next year, the New York Jets have settled on Brian Schottenheimer as their sacrificial lamb, and Jim Rome is leaving ESPN for CBS at the end of the month.

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Today in sports: Joe Paterno's son won't coach at Penn State next year, the New York Jets have settled on Brian Schottenheimer as their sacrificial lamb, and Jim Rome is leaving ESPN for CBS at the end of the month.

Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts is the only NFL owner to pay $2.4 million for a framed scroll of On the Road, pal around with Douglas Brinkley and Cameron Crowe, and relentlessly use Twitter to engage Colts fans and members of the media. (He's also not above tweeting the lyrics to Jerry Garcia songs when he's in the mood, which is almost always.) As a man -- a very rich man -- Irsay is unconventional, but as a football man, he likes things safe and by-the-book, which is why he hired Philadelphia Eagles director of player personnel Ryan Griigson to replace Bill Polian as Colts' general manager after 13 seasons at the helm. Grigson's young, has worked for a good organization, and has experience as both a pro and college scout. It was a reasonable hire, but also a safe and uninspiring one from an owner who was tweeting out offers of $200 and "a real NFL football" to the first person who identified the "Canadian mystery candidate" who just popped in to Indianapolis for an interview. (It was legendary Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp.) [ESPN]

Jay Paterno, the son of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, won't be on the Nittany Lions coaching staff next year under the newly-hired Bill O'Brien. Paterno, who spent 17 years on the Penn State coaching staff, said in statement that he and O'Brien "reached the conclusion" that Paterno would not be back after the twio-men talked. Considering how radioactive the name Paterno has become in college football, the Big 10 conference, and Happy Valley since the elder Paterno was fired after 46 seasons in November for his response (or lack thereof) to the child sex abuse allegations against Jerry Sandusky, it's notable (and, in retrospect, somewhat bewildering) that Jay Paterno was one of the in-house candidates to interview for the head job during the school's protracted search for a replacement..  [AP]

The New York Jets have given in to legions of angry WFAN callers and allowed offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to step down iin the wake of the team's underwhelming 8-8 season. Two years ago, the Jets were throwing money at the 38-year-old coach to convince him not to interview for head coaching vacancies in Buffalo and Miami. The team also gave him a mammoth contract extension that will pay him $3.2 million through the 2013 season, which is part of why head coach Rex Ryan was adamant that Schottenheimer --- whose playbook was full of iintricate verbiage and pre-snap movement and adjustments that  frustrated Jets players more and more as the year wore on -- would be back. It's unclear how much of his remaining salary Schottenheimer is due to receive. The New York Times is adamant that he "resigned,"  but a league source tells Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio that he stepped down only "after being told by the Jets to get another job, or get out." They would have like another team to hire Schottenheimer as a head coach or coordinator -- possibly Tampa Bay, where his dad Marty interviewed for the Buccaneers vacant head coaching job yesterday -- but nobody bit. [The New York Times]

Veteran broadcaster and quarterback agitator Jim Rome is leaving ESPN for CBS starting next month where, according to USA Today, he'll have "an expanded -- but as yet undefined -- role at the new network," which will include a Showtime show, and we would assume prominent placement during March Madness and the network's coverage of the US Open in golf and tennis. With a few brief breaks, Rome spent the last two decades with ESPN, and almost certainly can be considered the George Washington of brash, overly-combative local sports talk radio. But went on to show hidden depths as an analyst, TV personality, and marketing star. James David Miller, co-author  of the oral history of the network that came out last fall, tweeted several days ago, as ESPN was making a final push to keep Rome, that his yearly radio exposure is worth $30 alone. [Variety]

One of the 208 pardons handed out by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour on his last day in office Tuesday went to Scott Favre, the incarcerated brother of former Green Bay Packers (and University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles) great Brett Favre. In 1997, Scott Favre pleaded guilty to driving in front a train while drunk, killing a friend in the process.  [AP]

If you, like Werner Herzog, need new NFL coaching faces or you will starve, look away, because the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs both went the retread route when they hured Mike Mularkey and Romeo Crennel today. The choice of Crennel in Kansas City is at least defensible, since Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is comfortable with Crennel from their time spent working with Billl Belichick's in New England, and the team really did seem to improve down the stretch after Crennel took over for the ousted Todd Haley. But the fact remains: Crennel was a dismal 24-40 in four seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, a job he lost after the 2008 season. But at least he got to four years. Mularkey, who made a name for himself as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, accepted an offer from the Buffalo Bills and went 9-7 in his first season. They stumbled to a 5-11 mark the following year, and Manuskey quickly resigned rather than work for Marv Levy, the 80-year-old former Bills coaching legend who had been out of football for almost a decade, came back with a plan, Nixon-style to overhaul the franchise. Nobody seem quite sure what kind of contract Mularkey was gicen, possibly because the cash-strapped Jaguars may have accidentally botched the language in the contracts for their assistant coaches, meaning deals that was expire at the end of this month will actually be done at the end January 2012. That's bad news for a coach who wants to hire his own assistants. [PFT and ESPN]

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