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Chicago Bears add at least 2 more candidates to their search for a new GM and coach. Here’s the latest as a new cycle of firing — and hiring — starts in the NFL.

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Chicago Bears add at least 2 more candidates to their search for a new GM and coach. Here’s the latest as a new cycle of firing — and hiring — starts in the NFL.

Change is in the air. “Black Monday” arrived in the NFL the day after the regular season ended with a flurry of major changes beginning around the league.

As a new cycle of firing and hiring proceeds, we’re tracking all of the latest moves.

Wednesday

The Chicago Bears added two more names to their general manager interview pool.

The scoop: The Bears have requested an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and New England Patriots senior consultant Eliot Wolf, ESPN reported. Khan had GM interviews last year with the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Wolf, the son of former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf, has worked with the Packers, the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.

Here are the updated candidate lists:

General managers

Coaches

Tuesday

The Chicago Bears list of requested interviews has reached at least 8 general manager candidates and 9 coaching candidates.

The scoop: Recently fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was a big name to pop up in a lengthy list of candidates the Bears have contacted about interviews.

NFL Network reported the Bears set up the interview with Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. His last two seasons were winning ones, but the Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs.

Here are the other coaching candidates who reportedly have been requested:

Former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith is among the biggest names to be expected to interview with the Bears. Here’s a list of others:

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge after two seasons.

The scoop: In his first NFL head coaching stint, Judge, 40, went 10-23, including 4-13 in 2021. Playing without quarterback Daniel Jones down the stretch, the Giants lost their final six games by a combined score of 163-56. After the 29-3 loss to the Bears in Week 17, Judge went on an 11-minute rant defending his team while talking to the media.

It is the second big Giants move in two days after general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement Monday. With Judge out, there are now seven NFL head coaching jobs open.

Monday

The Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

The scoop: Pace is out in Chicago after seven seasons during which his teams went 48-65, qualified for the postseason twice and failed to record a playoff victory. In his first NFL head coaching stint, Nagy finished 34-31 with two playoff losses over four seasons.

The Bears never found the right fit between Nagy and a quarterback during his tenure , running through Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Nagy’s offense remained stuck in the bottom third of the league in many categories . The Bears finished 6-11 this season.

The Bears have reached out to former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to schedule an interview for their head coaching role, according to a league source. An ESPN report also indicated the Bears have requested permission to interview Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the job. The team, according to NFL Network, has also requested to speak with Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown for the GM opening.

The Minnesota Vikings fired general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer

The scoop: Spielman was with the Vikings since 2006, first as the vice president of player personnel and then as the general manager since 2012. In that time, the Vikings went 132-123-2 with six playoff appearances.

Zimmer, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, became the Vikings head coach in 2014. He led three seasons of 10 or more wins, three playoff appearances and two playoff victories. The Vikings finished 8-9 after a victory over the Bears on Sunday.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement after four seasons in that role.

The scoop: In 2018, Gettleman became the general manager in an organization where he had spent 13 years previously in front office roles. But his efforts to resuscitate the franchise failed with the Giants experiencing their worst four-year stretch of losing in team history.

The Giants went 19-46 under Gettleman’s watch, including a 4-13 faceplant this season during which the offense finished last in the NFC in both total yardage and scoring. Gettleman announced his retirement Monday but may have been fired if he hadn’t. The future of coach Joe Judge remains uncertain and may hinge on what happens with their intensifying GM search.

The Miami Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores after three seasons.

The scoop: Flores was fired in his third season despite posting back-to-back winning seasons. The Dolphins were 5-11 in his first year, 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 this season, but they didn’t make the playoffs in his tenure.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross released a statement saying he “determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.” General manager Chris Grier will remain with the team in his current role, ESPN reported.

Sunday

The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio after three seasons.

The scoop: Fangio didn’t record a winning season in his three in Denver. He finished 19-30 in his first stint as an NFL head coach, including 7-10 this season. Fangio, 63, was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons, including four in Chicago, before he joined the Broncos in 2019.

Fangio’s defense this season ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. But the Broncos offense didn’t produce well enough under Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, the latest in a revolving door of quarterbacks in Denver recent years.

Dec. 30-Jan. 7

The Jaguars have conducted at least five interviews to replace Urban Meyer.

The scoop: The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 after just 13 games with the team.

The team already has gotten deep into their search to replace him, reportedly interviewing former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Read more of our coverage from Black Monday and beyond.

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British police arrest 2 in investigation into Texas standoff

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British police arrest 2 in investigation into Texas standoff

By JAKE BLEIBERG and ERIC TUCKER

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) — Police in England said Sunday they had arrested two teenagers in their investigation into an armed British national holding four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue.

The Greater Manchester Police did not name the suspects or whether they faced any charges. They described them as teenagers who were in custody for questioning.

FBI Dallas spokeswoman Katie Chaumont referred questions to police in Manchester.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

A rabbi who was among four people held hostage at a Texas synagogue said Sunday that their armed captor grew “increasingly belligerent and threatening” toward the end of the 10-hour standoff, which ended with an FBI SWAT team rushing into the building and the captor’s death.

Authorities identified the hostage-taker as a 44-year-old British national, Malik Faisal Akram, who was killed Saturday night after the last hostages ran out of Congregation Beth Israel around 9 p.m. The FBI said there was no indication that anyone else was involved, but it had not provided a possible motive as of Sunday afternoon.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker credited security training that his suburban Fort Worth congregation has received over the years for getting him and the other three hostages through the ordeal, which he described as traumatic.

“In the last hour of our hostage crisis, the gunman became increasingly belligerent and threatening,” Cytron-Walker said in a statement. “Without the instruction we received, we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”

President Joe Biden called the episode an act of terror. Akram could be heard ranting on a Facebook livestream of the services and demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters in Philadelphia on Sunday, Biden said Akram allegedly purchased a weapon on the streets.

Federal investigators believe Akram purchased the handgun used in the hostage taking in a private sale, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Akram arrived in the U.S. at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York about two weeks ago, a law enforcement official said.

Video from Dallas TV station WFAA showed people running out a door of the synagogue, and then a man holding a gun opening the same door just seconds later before he turned around and closed it. Moments later, several shots and then an explosion could be heard.

“Rest assured, we are focused,” Biden said. “The attorney general is focused and making sure that we deal with these kinds of acts.”

Akram arrived in the U.S. recently on a tourist visa from Great Britain, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information was not intended to be public. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that its counter-terrorism police were liaising with U.S. authorities about the incident.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said the hostage-taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community. It wasn’t clear why Akram chose the synagogue, though the prison where Saddiqui is serving her sentence is in Fort Worth.

Michael Finfer, the president of the congregation, said in a statement “there was a one in a million chance that the gunman picked our congregation.”

Authorities have declined to say who shot Akram, saying it was still under investigation.

Authorities said police were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. and people were evacuated from the surrounding neighborhood soon afterward.

Saturday’s services were being livestreamed on the synagogue’s Facebook page for a time. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn’t show what was happening inside the synagogue.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the man said, “You got to do something. I don’t want to see this guy dead.” Moments later, the feed cut out. A spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc., the corporate successor to Facebook Inc., later confirmed that Facebook had removed the video.

Akram used his phone during the course of negotiations to communicate with people other than law enforcement, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Multiple people heard the hostage-taker refer to Siddiqui as his “sister” on the livestream. But John Floyd, board chair for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group — said Siddiqui’s brother, Mohammad Siddiqui, was not involved.

“We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr. Aafia,” said Floyd, who also is legal counsel for Mohammad Siddiqui.

Texas resident Victoria Francis, who said she watched about an hour of the livestream, said she heard the man rant against America and claim he had a bomb. Biden said there were apparently no explosives, despite the threats.

“He was just all over the map. He was pretty irritated and the more irritated he got, he’d make more threats, like ‘I’m the guy with the bomb. If you make a mistake, this is all on you.’ And he’d laugh at that,” Francis said. “He was clearly in extreme distress.”

Colleyville, a community of about 26,000 people, is about 15 miles (23 kilometers) northeast of Fort Worth. By Sunday morning, the police perimeter around the synagogue had shrunk to half a block in either direction and FBI agents could be seen going in and out of the building. A sign saying “Love” — with the “o” replaced with a Star of David — was planted in a neighbor’s lawn.

Reached outside his home Sunday, Cytron-Walker declined to speak at length about the episode. “It’s a little overwhelming as your can imagine. It was not fun yesterday,” he told the AP.

Andrew Marc Paley, a Dallas rabbi who was called to the scene to help families and hostages upon their release, said Cytron-Walker acted as a calm and comforting presence. The first hostage was released shortly after 5 p.m. That was around the time food was delivered to those inside the synagogue, but Paley said he did not know if it was part of the negotiations.

“He appeared a little unfazed, actually, but I don’t know if that was sort of shock or just the moment,” Paley said of the first hostage who was released.

Cytron-Walker said his congregation had received training from local authorities and the Secure Community Network, which was founded in 2004 by a coalition of Jewish organizations and describes itself as “the official safety and security organization” of the Jewish community in North America. Michael Masters, the CEO of the organization, said the congregation had provided security training in August and had not been previously aware of Akram.

The standoff led authorities to tighten security in other places, including New York City, where police said that they increased their presence “at key Jewish institutions” out of an abundance of caution.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Twitter that “this event is a stark reminder that antisemitism is still alive and we must continue to fight it worldwide.”

___

Tucker reported from Washington, D.C. Also contributing to this reporter were Associated Press writers Paul J. Weber and Acacia Coronado in Austin; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Colleen Long in Philadelphia; Elliot Spagat in San Diego; Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island; Michael R. Sisak in New York; Holly Meyer in Nashville, Tenn.; and Issac Scharf in Jerusalem.

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49ers hang on late for 23-17 wild-card victory over Cowboys

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49ers hang on late for 23-17 wild-card victory over Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas — Versatile receiver Deebo Samuel ran 26 yards for a touchdown the play after an interception by Dak Prescott, and the San Francisco 49ers held on for a 23-17 wild-card victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The Cowboys had a final chance with 32 seconds remaining and were at the San Francisco 41 with 14 seconds to go when Prescott took off up the middle intending to slide and spike the ball for a final play.

But Dallas didn’t get the snap off from the 24 until after the clock hit 0:00. After a brief delay, referee Alex Kemp announced the game was over.

The 49ers overcame an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo when they led by 13 in the fourth quarter. Prescott ran for a touchdown to get within a score, and had a chance to drive Dallas to a go-ahead score. But the 49ers got a stop at midfield when Prescott’s desperation fourth-down pass was just out of the receiver Cedrick Wilson’s reach.

After a 14th penalty from the NFL’s most-penalized team in the regular season that helped San Francisco run out most of the clock — and the frantic final seconds as Dallas tried for the win — the 49ers (11-7) clinched their first playoff victory at the Cowboys in a storied postseason rivalry.

Now they head to Tampa Bay for a divisional game, looking for another trip to the NFC championship game.

The wait for Dallas (12-6) to get that far in the playoffs will reach at least 27 years after another first-game flameout in the postseason for Prescott, the second in three trips for the star quarterback. It was his first playoff game since signing a $40-million-a-year contract in the offseason.

The 49ers were in control in the fourth quarter, but not leaning on the running game they figured could carry them to a win when Garoppolo threw an interception to Anthony Brown that set up Prescott’s 7-yard scoring run.

Garoppolo’s mistake wasn’t long after Prescott was picked off at the Dallas 26 by K’Waun Williams and Samuel ran untouched on a cutback up the middle to the end zone on the next play for a 23-7 lead.

San Francisco lost star pass rusher Nick Bosa to a concussion just before halftime when he was crunched in the head and neck area by teammate D.J. Jones. But the 49ers kept enough pressure on Prescott, finishing with five sacks while holding the NFL’s No. 1 offense to 307 yards.

San Francisco scored on its first four possessions, but three times settled for field goals from Robbie Gould to help keep the Cowboys close.

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‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with $30.6M debut

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‘Scream’ scares off ‘Spider-Man’ with $30.6M debut

NEW YORK — After a month at no. 1, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has finally been overtaken at the box office. Paramount Pictures’ “Scream” reboot debuted with $30.6 million in ticket sales over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“Scream,” a self-described “requel” that is both the fifth film in the franchise and a reboot introducing a new, younger cast, led all releases over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Paramount forecasts that it will total $35 million including Monday’s grosses. “Scream,” which cost about $24 million to make, added another $18 million in 50 international markets.

That made for a solid revival for the self-aware slasher franchise.

Rights to the “Scream” films, once a reliable cash cow for Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s Miramax Films, were acquired by Spyglass Media Group, which produced the new film with Paramount. This “Scream,” helmed by Matt Bettinello-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, was the first not directed by Wes Craven, who died in 2015. It features original “Scream” cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette alongside new additions Melissa Barrera, Jenna Ortega and Jack Quaid.

“All of our traditional measures were indicating a solid opening, but as I kept telling people: We’re still in this thing and it’s very difficult to determine what will actually happen,” said Chris Aronson, distribution chief for Paramount. “Now we’re open, people have seen the movie and we’re off and running. Hopefully this becomes another building block toward building the business back and getting it back to some semblance of normalcy.”

Meanwhile, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” slipped to second place but continued to rise in the record books.

“No Way Home” grossed $20.8 million in its fifth weekend of release. Sony Pictures predicts that with another $5.2 million on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “No Way Home” will reach a domestic cumulative total of $703.9 million Monday, edging “Black Panther” and moving into fourth place all-time.

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