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Texas WR Xavier Worthy runs fastest 40 ever at Combine

Texas WR Xavier Worthy runs fastest 40 ever at Combine

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy broke the NFL Scouting Combine record in the 40-yard dash, running 4.21 seconds on Saturday in Indianapolis.

Worthy broke the record set by Washington Huskies WR John Ross (4.22) in 2017.

"I just broke the record. It still doesn't feel real," Worthy said. "Man, just a blessing to be able to do this in front of all these fans, with all these peers I'm with."

Worthy ran a 4.25 in his first attempt.

Worthy caught 75 passes for 1,014 yards and five touchdowns in 2023. He has 26 career receiving touchdowns in three seasons at Texas. He finished fourth all time in school history in yards receiving (2,755) and eighth in punt return yards (564).

ESPN projects Worthy to be selected No. 32 overall by the Kansas Chiefs in April's NFL draft.

Ross was selected No. 9 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 draft. He retired in July 2023 after 62 career receptions for 957 yards and 11 TDs in 37 games (21 starts).

Report: Cowboys don't plan to re-sign LT Tyron Smith

Report: Cowboys don't plan to re-sign LT Tyron Smith

The Dallas Cowboys are planning to split with eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith, making the veteran a free agent when the new league year begins March 13, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Last month, The Dallas Morning News reported that Smith didn't plan to retire and had hoped to return for a 14th season with the Cowboys.

The protector of Dak Prescott's blind side, the 33-year-old Smith likely should have several suitors in free agency.

Including 13 in 2023, Smith has started in all 161 games he has played since Dallas drafted him ninth overall in 2011.

Smith, however, has not played a full season since 2015 due to injuries and since Dallas drafted his heir apparent, Tyler Smith, in the first round in 2022.

Report: 49ers to tab Nick Sorensen as DC, add Brandon Staley

Report: 49ers to tab Nick Sorensen as DC, add Brandon Staley

The San Francisco 49ers are promoting Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator and adding former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley to their staff, ESPN reported on Saturday.

Staley, fired by the Chargers in December, reportedly will be assistant head coach under Kyle Shanahan.

Sorensen, 45, has served as the 49ers' defensive pass game specialist and nickel cornerbacks coach. He will step into the defensive coordinator role previously held by Steve Wilks, who was fired three days after San Francisco lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

Sorensen also has been the special teams coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars and a defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks.

Staley, 41, previous served as the defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2020 before spending the two-plus seasons with the Chargers. He was 24-24 with the Chargers.

Wilks was hired last year to replace DeMeco Ryans, who left to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

Wilks' defense held the Chiefs to one touchdown in regulation in the 25-22 Super Bowl loss but gave up 455 yards. San Francisco allowed an NFC-low 17.5 points per game during the regular season.

Prison sentence commuted for Britt Reid, former Chiefs assistant

Prison sentence commuted for Britt Reid, former Chiefs assistant

Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, convicted of a drunk-driving charge in a 2021 incident that severely injured a child, will spend the rest of his prison sentence under house arrest.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson of Friday commuted the prison sentences of or pardoned 39 people, Reid among them.

The son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, the younger Reid pleaded guilty to a felony charge of driving while intoxicated resulting in serious physical injury. He was sentenced to three years in state prison on Nov. 1, 2022.

Under the terms of the commutation, Reid, 38, will be placed under house arrest until Oct. 31, 2025, and must meet "strict conditions of probation, including weekly meetings with a parole officer, weekly behavioral counseling attendance, weekly meetings with a peer support sponsor, and stringent community service and employment requirements," USA Today reported.

"Mr. Reid has completed his alcohol abuse treatment program and has served more prison time than most individuals convicted of similar offenses," a spokesperson for Parson told USA Today in a statement.

Reid was driving his truck on Feb. 4, 2021, and was drunk and speeding, according to court documents, when the truck hit two cars parked on the shoulder of Interstate 435 in Kansas City.

Six people, two of them children, were injured. Ariel Young, then 5, sustained a serious brain injury and was hospitalized for more than two months.

In November 2021, the girl's family and the Chiefs reached an agreement to provide her with "world-class medical care and long-term financial stability" for the "rest of her life," according to a joint statement issued by the two sides at the time.

Reid, who had been the team's outside linebackers coach, admitted to having consumed alcohol at the team facility before driving that evening, days before the Chiefs lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. His contract expired after the season and was not renewed.

Patriots release CB J.C. Jackson, clear $14.375M in cap space

Patriots release CB J.C. Jackson, clear $14.375M in cap space

The New England Patriots released cornerback J.C. Jackson Friday.

The move frees up $14.375 million of salary cap space, according to spotrac.com.

Jackson, 28, was acquired from the Los Angeles Chargers in October for his second stint with the Patriots. He played in eight games (six starts) and didn't intercept a pass.

Jackson had one pick in two games with the Chargers before the trade.

Jackson intercepted 25 passes in his first NFL four seasons with New England before becoming a free agent and signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Chargers prior to the 2022 season.

Jackson had a career-high nine interceptions in 2020 and eight in 2021 when he made his lone Pro Bowl. Overall, he has 26 career interceptions in 77 NFL games (52 starts).

Jackson entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland.

Clemson CB Nate Wiggins injured running blazing 40-yard dash

Clemson CB Nate Wiggins injured running blazing 40-yard dash

INDIANAPOLIS -- Clemson cornerback Nate Wiggins ran a blazing 40-yard dash but suffered a potentially serious leg injury that ended the projected first-round pick's day on a down note.

One of the top-rated cornerbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft class, Wiggins posted an unofficial 4.29-second 40 but hobbled to the sideline moments later.

He talked to NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales before going to the locker room in Lucas Oil Stadium. Wiggins told Dales he felt a "pop" in his groin and his leg was on "fire."

Wiggins weighed a very light 173 pounds at official measurements.

Michigan's J.J. McCarthy touts 'Everything you want in starting QB'

Michigan's J.J. McCarthy touts 'Everything you want in starting QB'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy makes no apologies about his statistics falling short in a tale of the tape with the top-ranked passers in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he's ready to talk wins and losses.

McCarthy exited Ann Arbor in January on the heels of a national title win over Washington and has lost only three games -- one with the Wolverines compared to 27 victories -- since he began his high school football career (34-2 as a starter).

So what would an NFL team be getting if they went with McCarthy over the past two Heisman Trophy winners -- Caleb Williams of USC and Jayden Daniels of LSU?

"I would say, tough, gritty guy who only cares about winning at the end of the day," McCarthy said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Loves the game of football with a burning passion, loves his teammates. Just pretty much everything you'd want in starting quarterback."

Meetings with multiple teams with a need at the position dominated the past two nights for McCarthy. He said he had formal interviews with the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants, among others.

"I just let them know who I am. That's something that a lot of people don't know, and it's not just putting it on a front." McCarthy said. "I want them to actually understand that I truly love the game of football, I truly love my teammates and want to do nothing but win football games."

McCarthy plans to throw in Saturday's on-field session for quarterbacks, when participation will otherwise be sparse. Williams, Daniels and North Carolina's Drake Maye all have opted out of the passing session.

Because of hamstring tightness, McCarthy will not run the 40 or do the vertical or broad jump at the combine.

Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson expects McCarthy to open a lot of eyes, even in a limited workout.

"I think a lot of people like to say like he can't throw. I feel like he's an unbelievable quarterback," Wilson said. "You guys are going to see at pro day or even here, his arm talent is through the roof. He's one of the better quarterbacks in this draft."

Steelers legend Andy Russell dies at 82

Steelers legend Andy Russell dies at 82

Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Andy Russell, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has died. He was 82.

According to Action News 4 in Pittsburgh, Russell died Thursday night. Cause of death isn't immediately known.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette later confirmed the death of Russell, who was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection while part of the famous Steel Curtain defense. The Steelers won Super Bowl IX and X during Russell's tenure.

Russell was part of a star-studded trio of linebackers featuring Jack Lambert in the middle and Jack Ham on the other side.

"If you want to be a great linebacker, you also have to be smart out there, and he taught me the mental part of the game," Ham told the Post-Gazette. "I think that's what set him apart and made his career such a great career here in Pittsburgh."

Russell was a 16th-round pick in 1963 and played 12 seasons with Pittsburgh, beginning in 1963 before serving a two-year military stint. He returned to play from 1966-76 and put together a streak of 168 consecutive games played, never missing a game during his career.

In the 1975 postseason, Russell set a playoff record for longest fumble return when he picked up the ball and ran 93 yards for a touchdown against the then-Baltimore Colts. The record stood until Sam Hubbard of the Cincinnati Bengals had a 98-yard return against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 15, 2023.

Prior to his NFL career, Russell played linebacker and running back for Missouri. He was inducted into the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.

Report: Giants TE Darren Waller considered retirement

Report: Giants TE Darren Waller considered retirement

Giants tight end Darren Waller considered retiring after a disappointing 2023 season, the New York Post reported Friday.

He caught 52 passes for 552 yards and one touchdown in 12 games (11 starts) and New York finished 6-11 during his first season with the team. He missed five games with a hamstring injury.

Waller, 31, now wants to keep playing and the Giants want him back, despite his $14 million hit against the salary cap for 2024, per the report.

Waller is due a base salary of $10.5 million in 2024. He signed a three-year, $51 million contract extension with the Las Vegas Raiders in September 2022. New York acquired him from Las Vegas in March 2023 for third-round pick in last year's draft.

He posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons with the Raiders in 2019 and 2020, making the Pro Bowl in the latter campaign.

Waller has 350 catches for 4,124 yards and 20 touchdowns in 86 games (63 starts) for the Baltimore Ravens (2015-16), Raiders (2018-22) and Giants.

Report: Eagles releasing former All-Pro S Kevin Byard

Report: Eagles releasing former All-Pro S Kevin Byard

The Philadelphia Eagles are releasing former All-Pro safety Kevin Byard, ESPN reported Friday.

Cutting ties with the 30-year-old veteran will clear about $13.7 million in salary cap space.

The Eagles acquired Byard from Tennessee in October in exchange for safety Terrell Edmunds and fifth- and sixth-round picks in this April's NFL draft.

Byard made 10 starts for Philadelphia and recorded 75 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception.

The two-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro selection has 28 picks and 749 tackles in 130 games (121 starts) since the Titans drafted him in the third round in 2016.

Report: Saints parting ways with S Marcus Maye

Report: Saints parting ways with S Marcus Maye

The New Orleans Saints plan to release veteran safety Marcus Maye, ESPN reported Friday.

Maye, who turns 31 on March 9, is entering the final season of a three-year, $28.5 million contract he signed in March 2022.

He was set to count $9.6 million against the salary cap and was due $7 million in base salary in 2024.

However, releasing Maye will only save the Saints $1.1 million against the cap due to a 2023 contract restructuring, per ESPN.

Maye was suspended for the first three games last season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy and missed the last six games with a shoulder injury. He only played 17 games in two seasons with New Orleans.

A second-round draft pick by the New York Jets in 2017, Maye has recorded eight interceptions and 409 tackles in 77 games (all starts) with the Jets (2017-21) and Saints.

Report: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry has foot fracture

Report: CB Kool-Aid McKinstry has foot fracture

Alabama cornerback and projected first-round draft pick Kool-Aid McKinstry has a Jones fracture in his right foot, ESPN reported Friday.

The injury reportedly was discovered by physicians during his medical evaluations this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

McKinstry, 21, will have surgery after working out at Alabama's pro day later this month and should be ready in time for training camp, per the report.

As a junior in 2023, McKinstry recorded 32 tackles and seven passes defensed. He earned All-America honors and was an All-SEC first-team selection for the second straight season.

McKinstry collected two interceptions, 23 passes defensed and 93 tackles in 62 games (31 starts) in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

USC QB Caleb Williams opts out of medical testing

USC QB Caleb Williams opts out of medical testing

INDIANAPOLIS -- Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams continues to make waves with contrarian decisions at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he made the call to opt out of standard medical testing.

"I'm doing the medical stuff," Williams said in a packed media session at the combine on Friday morning. "Just not here in Indy. Not 32 teams can draft me. There's only one of me. So the team that I go to for my visits, those teams will have the medical and that'll be it."

Williams is the top player on the draft board for many teams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner who starred at Oklahoma as a freshman before following Lincoln Riley to USC. But rejecting the protocol of the pre-draft process will raise red flags for some of the other teams.

National Football Scouting oversees most elements of the annual combine in Indianapolis, and the goal of being a one-stop shop for scouts and general managers includes a routine physical and medical testing to give every team access to a universal medical evaluation of each player. All 321 prospects invited to the combine are informed of the schedule of events directly and through their certified player representatives.

But Williams doesn't have an agent and instead will be communicating with prospective employers through his father and a hand-selected support staff.

Williams said declining the medical testing was a personal decision. For reference, Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was still tied up with doctors on Friday morning when his required interview with media was scheduled. Players who undergo extensive MRI exams and X-rays because of past injuries have spent more than eight hours at the hospital in Indianapolis where prospects are poked and prodded.

There are no known significant or long-term injury concerns with Williams. He played with a hamstring strain in 2022 and injured the pinky finger on his right (throwing) hand last season.

After meeting with the Chicago Bears for a formal interview, Williams said not to read into the decision as an indication he knows where he'll be drafted, but "I don't think that I'm not going to be No. 1," he said.

"They were awesome," Williams said of his first in-person talks with the Bears. "I spoke more about ball and things like that because the interviews are so short. It was more about them getting to know me."

It's common for top quarterbacks to delay at least the throwing portion of their workouts to the more-comfortable, well-scripted pro day setting on their college campuses. Williams, who passed for 10,082 yards and 93 touchdowns in three college seasons, is scheduled to be the featured attraction at the USC pro day on March 20.

LSU's Jayden Daniels, the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner, and North Carolina's Drake Maye are considered likely top-10 picks and could compete with Williams to go No. 1 overall. Neither quarterback plans to participate in on-field testing or throwing at the combine.

Speculation the Washington Commanders are considering moving up in a trade to get Williams, who grew up in the D.C. region, continues percolating after owner Josh Harris sat in on interviews with multiple prospects in Indianapolis this week.

Daniels said he met with Washington in a meeting that included head coach Dan Quinn, offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and Harris.

Reports: Vikings to release RB Alexander Mattison

Reports: Vikings to release RB Alexander Mattison

The Minnesota Vikings informed running back Alexander Mattison that they will release him, multiple reports said Thursday.

Mattison signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Vikings last spring. He was due to carry a $4.6 million cap hit in 2024.

He was a third-round draft pick by the team in 2019, and after four seasons as a sidekick and occasional substitute for Dalvin Cook, Mattison was given the starting job in 2023 after Cook was released.

Mattison set career highs in attempts (180) and yards (700) but failed to record a rushing touchdown and lost the starting role to Ty Chandler in December. Mattison also had 30 receptions for 192 yards and three touchdowns.

In 75 games (19 starts) over five seasons with the Vikings, Mattison, 25, rushed 584 times for 2,370 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added 100 catches for 718 yards and six scores.

Cue CB1: Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell 'can hang with big dawgs'

Cue CB1: Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell 'can hang with big dawgs'

INDIANAPOLIS -- Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell might run out of boxes to check before the 2024 NFL Draft arrives.

Mitchell dominated in the MAC with six interceptions and 45 pass breakups the past two seasons with the Rockets. He caught the attention of Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, who had other top-ranked draft prospects at the position turn down invitations to the annual pre-draft showcase in Mobile.

Mitchell said he went to the Senior Bowl to compete and with a point to prove.

"That I can hang with the big dawgs," Mitchell said.

He's rocketing up draft boards based on his dominance in practices and drills at the Senior Bowl, where Mitchell wanted to show his level of competition in college wasn't a cap on his ability or potential as a prospect.

Mitchell, who said he watches Chiefs corner Trent McDuffie and the Eagles' Darius Slay, brought the same mindset to Indianapolis.

"The ball will get you paid," Mitchell said of what he learned in Mobile. "At the Senior Bowl, I learned every ball that's thrown in the air is worth $2.5 million. I'm just trying to get that money."

Speed testing won't be a problem. Mitchell was GPS chip-timed at the same top speed as Miami Dolphins All-Pro Tyreek Hill, 23 miles per hour. NFL Next Gen Stats uses the same technology and tracked only three scoring plays over 22 mph in the 2023 regular season: Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (22.23, Week 13), Bengals running back Chase Brown (22.05 mph, Week 14) and Hill (22.01 mph, Week 5).

The cornerback draft board is stacked with big names, headlined by Alabama's starting tandem of Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold. But recruiting rankings are meaningless at the moment.

Toledo played primarily off-man coverage, freeing Mitchell to let his ball-hawk ability fly.

By the middle of the 2023 season, prominent media draft analysts began surfacing Mitchell's name as a potential second-round cornerback. As of the start of the Scouting Combine this week, The Athletic and NFL Network rated Mitchell as a top-15 pick.

At 193 pounds he ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds at a school timing day last spring. Mitchell said he has been timed even faster since and has a track background.

"I didn't come here to be mediocre. I came here to break records," he said Thursday.

Longtime Steelers broadcaster Bill Hillgrove retires

Longtime Steelers broadcaster Bill Hillgrove retires

The Steelers change play-by-play announcers less often than they change head coaches -- three times since 1968 -- but there's a rare opening in Pittsburgh in the broadcast booth.

Bill Hillgrove, 83, announced Thursday that he is retiring from the job he accepted in 1994 after being hand-picked by late owner Dan Rooney. He spent 30 years in the role, replacing Jack Fleming, who had held the job for 39.

"Bill Hillgrove's contributions to both the Steelers Radio Network and the Steelers organization have spanned nearly three decades that included him serving as our play-by-play announcer for four Super Bowl appearances and countless other memorable games during his tenure," team president Art Rooney II said in a team statement Thursday. "He has played a major role in broadcasting to our amazing fans on our radio network, but he also found time to be part of so many special events since he began working alongside the great Myron Cope on the airwaves in 1994. Bill will truly be missed by Steelers Nation, but we are excited for him and his family to enjoy his retirement."

Hillgrove has lived in Pittsburgh throughout his life, bring raised in the Garfield section, graduating from high school and then studying sports broadcasting at Duquesne. He said he intends to continue calling Pitt basketball games, which he has been doing full-time since 1970, and Pitt football, which he started in 1974.

"As to the next chapter of my life, I'll do Pitt football, and I'll do Pitt basketball because my brother is the engineer, and we room together on the road," Hillgrove said.

"Like we did as kids growing up in Garfield, we're sharing the same bedroom, only this one's bigger. I have all of July almost all of August to myself now. Every once in a while if the Steelers aren't playing on Sunday, I can get on a boat and enjoy the fall foliage at Conneaut Lake, which I was never able to do before. So it's all very positive in that way."

Georgia TE Brock Bowers could delay 40, workout to pro day

Georgia TE Brock Bowers could delay 40, workout to pro day

INDIANAPOLIS -- Georgia tight end Brock Bowers unquestionably is expected to run into the NFL as a first-round pick, but he's leaning toward staying on the sideline during the NFL Scouting Combine.

The All-American projected as a top-10 draft pick, Bowers plans to make a decision on participating in on-field workouts and athletic testing with his position group before they take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday.

"We'll see. If not tomorrow, definitely on Pro Day," Bowers said Thursday morning. "We'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow. Just a personal fit."

The first back-to-back Mackey Award Winner (2022, 2023) given to the top tight end in college football, Bowers had 31 touchdowns (five rushing) in three seasons at Georgia. In 40 career games, he hauled in 175 receptions for 2,538 yards.

Former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is the player Bowers said he grew up watching most. He also studied film of dozens of NFL tight ends during his time at Georgia, where he lined up in the slot, as a traditional tight end and even in the backfield as a running back.

"I loved watching Gronk. He's kind of like a huge role model for me looking at him growing up. And watching (George) Kittle and (Travis) Kelce," he said.

If Bowers keeps scouts and general managers waiting for his 40 time and position workout that most expect to be stellar, he's aware the league might return the favor on draft night. Not out of spite, but Bowers can expect to be monitoring his phone as the pecking order is sorted out at quarterback and wide receiver before he's selected.

Even so, when he goes on draft night isn't as vital to Bowers as where he winds up.

"I just want to go to a place I'm wanted and be used and hopefully have a good rookie season," Bowers said.

During what is a return trip to Indianapolis and the stadium where Georgia won the national title by beating Alabama in 2022, Bowers underwent multiple X-rays and MRI exams that team medical staffs will read to sign off on recovery from previous injuries. Bowers missed a month of the 2023 season recovering from ankle surgery but said he's fully healthy.

With uncertainty around when he could be drafted, Bowers said he already met with at least 15 teams, recalling formal interviews took place with the Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Colts and met with the Titans, a team that piqued his interest.

"That's a cool place to live, Nashville, Tennessee," Bowers said with a smile.

If Bowers opts not to work out at the combine, Georgia's pro day is an annual must-stop for all 32 teams and is scheduled for March 13.

NFL-bound LB Payton Wilson out to erase injury concerns

NFL-bound LB Payton Wilson out to erase injury concerns

INDIANAPOLIS -- Labels are nothing new to North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson, a projected first-round pick determined to shed one particular tag before the 2024 NFL Draft.

Injury prone.

"Throughout my career, early in my career, I did have a lot of injuries," Wilson said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "But these last two years, I've stayed really healthy -- put on some extra weight. I've really honed in on nutrition and maintenance programs to keep me healthy. I think what I have going on is gonna keep me playing a long time in the NFL and I'm not scared of injuries. At the end of the day, they're inevitable and I'm going to play every single play like it's my last. Whatever happens, happens."

Wilson works out with the linebacker group Thursday and has a little extra bounce in his step after a shorter hospital physical with NFL doctors than expected.

Wilson spent his first season at NC State in 2018 recovering from a high school knee injury and played only two games in 2021 because of a shoulder injury.

"What I have going right now for myself, whether it's like I said with nutrition and my maintenance programs, I feel like I have sustained a good formula to play for a long time in this league," he said.

At 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, Wilson's size and range in coverage are coveted traits in the NFL. Wilson studies San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner closely, and there are elements of their skill sets that match.

"As a linebacker in today's league, you're asked to do a lot in the pass game and just being able to be athletic and understanding route concepts and football IQ is so important," Wilson said.

He allowed a passer rating of 47.2 as the next closest defender last season and has 10.5 sacks and four interceptions since he made changes to stay fully healthy before the start of the 2022 season.

"I'm just excited to get to continue to prove to everyone that I'm one of the most athletic linebackers to ever come through this combine and I'm looking to impress a lot of people," Wilson said.

A stellar workout, coupled with expected strong interviews from the football junkie, could help remove the durability doubts for some NFL teams this week.

But there's another label Wilson knows is going to stick, especially in his hometown of Hillsborough, N.C.

"I tell people all the time, in Raleigh, I'm Payton Wilson, but when we go back to Hillsborough, I'm Bryse Wilson's little brother," Payton Wilson said.

Bryse Wilson is a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who went 6-0 out of the bullpen last season. For two years at Orange High School, Bryse and Payton Wilson were starting linebackers on defense and had games where they combined for 30-plus tackles. Bryse said Payton is the more "violent" and "fast" of the brothers, but Payton says big brother is still stronger.

"I mean he's one of those country strong dudes who could walk into a weight room right now and probably out-lift all of us," Payton Wilson said. "Just getting whooped by him growing up and trying to chase his greatness -- honestly just try to be better than him -- it was just something I always chased. It might not ever happen because of how great of an athlete he is and what he's done for our hometown. But just continuing to learn from him and the beatings I

took from him when we were little instilled a lot of toughness into me."

Iowa DB Cooper DeJean running, not ready to test for scouts

Iowa DB Cooper DeJean running, not ready to test for scouts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean resumed running full speed last week and his recovery from a broken fibula in November is on schedule.

But DeJean said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday that he's not ready for athletic testing or on-field position drills and plans to hold a workout for scouts "sometime before the draft." He's unlikely to be ready to participate in Iowa's pro day scheduled for March 18.

DeJean played cornerback at Iowa but NFL teams are discussing a hybrid role with him that could intertwine responsibilities of a safety, cornerback and slot cornerback.

"I feel like I have the ability to play multiple different positions on the back end," DeJean said.

Speed and suddenness are trademarks that made him one of the top playmakers for the Hawkeyes, and scouts expect him to test very well eventually in events such as the 40-yard dash, vertical, short shuttle and broad jump.

Where he goes in the 2024 NFL Draft might be dependent upon how the top of the draft shakes out. DeJean said he has met with the Arizona Cardinals, who have multiple first-round picks and another unique secondary weapon in Budda Baker, and the Pittsburgh Steelers among several others.

DeJean peppered Green Bay Packers 2023 first-round pick Lukas Van Ness and another former Iowa teammate, Broncos cornerback Riley Moss, about what to expect this week.

But Big Ten seasoning as a leader of a dominant defense at Iowa might have DeJean ready to step into a starring role immediately. He said the conference delivered big tests every Saturday, but one stands out as the most difficult.

"Marvin Harrison Jr.," DeJean said of the Ohio State receiver and likely top-5 pick. "The name speaks for itself."

Report: 49ers interview Chiefs DBs coach for DC opening

Report: 49ers interview Chiefs DBs coach for DC opening

The San Francisco 49ers are interviewing Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach David Merritt for their defensive coordinator opening, NFL Network reported Wednesday, the last coordinator job yet to be filled in the NFL.

The 49ers fired DC Steve Wilks three days after losing to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Merritt, 52, has been with the Chiefs since 2019 and has been with DC Steve Spagnuolo longer than that, dating to their days together with the New York Giants.

The 49ers interviewed former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley earlier this week along with internal candidate, defensive passing game specialist Nick Sorensen. Niners DBs coach Daniel Bullocks is also expected to interview later this week.

Merritt has five Super Bowl rings, three with the Chiefs and two more from his time with the Giants (2008, 2011), where he was safeties coach. He helped the Chiefs to the fourth-best pass defense in 2023.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area that he expects to have a decision this week.

Wilks was hired last year to replace DeMeco Ryans, who left to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

Wilks' defense held the Chiefs to one touchdown in regulation in the 25-22 Super Bowl loss but gave up 455 yards. San Francisco allowed an NFC-low 17.5 points per game during the regular season.