- Owner Dan Snyder and President Bruce Allen summoned coach Jay Gruden to the Washington Redskins' facility before dawn Monday to tell him he was being fired.
"It was a brief conversation," Allen said.
Now comes a longer conversation about the status of the floundering franchise that has won just two playoff games in Snyder's two decades of ownership and zero during Allen's tenure. Gruden is out after an 0-5 start to his sixth season and is the latest in a long line of Redskins coaches to take the fall for significant organizational shortcomings.
"To make a decision like this is difficult, but it was necessary," Allen said during a 13-minute news conference. "Our 0-5 start is not just disappointing. We had much different expectations for the beginning of the season. We owe it to our fans, ... the organization, the players, the coaches and their families to do everything we can to win."
The Redskins haven't won much lately, going 35-49-1 overall under Gruden with one playoff appearance in the 2015 season. A popular coach among players and a smart offensive mind, Gruden struggled in preparing his teams: Washington went 1-5 in season openers and lost a win-and-get-in game in Week 17 in 2016 against the New York Giants, who had nothing to play for.
Despite never before being a head coach in the NFL, and despite never winning more than nine games in a season, Gruden managed to stick around longer than anyone else who's held that job during Snyder's unsuccessful stint as owner.
Asked why Snyder wasn't addressing fans, Allen said, "Because I am." Snyder was not made available to reporters Monday.
- The Patriots have released tight end Ben Watson.
The team announced the move on Monday. It came shortly after Watson tweeted that he didn't do enough to earn a roster spot.
Watson was eligible to make his debut for the Patriots against Washington on Sunday. But the 38-year-old wasn't activated after serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following the 2018 season.
Watson planned to retire after last season but was courted by several teams. The Patriots eventually signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal as they looked to fill the hole created by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.
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But with Watson out the Patriots got by with 27-year-old Matt LaCosse and 23-year-old Ryan Izzo sharing snaps.
- The Tennessee Titans have released kicker Cairo Santos a day after he missed three field goals and had a fourth blocked.
The Titans announced the move Monday.
Santos missed field goals from 50, 36 and 53 yards with a 36-yarder blocked by Darryl Johnson in a 14-7 loss to Buffalo on Sunday. Santos apologized at his locker after the game with the native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, saying he'd never had a day like that anywhere.
Santos had been signed Sept. 4 when they put veteran Ryan Succop on injured reserve, a move designed to let Succop gain strength after having surgery this offseason on his kicking leg. Succop remains three weeks away from being eligible to be activated off injured reserve.
- Six skaters with links to the Waterloo Black Hawks have been named to the NHL Central Scouting's preliminary watch who are eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
Ryder Rolston leads the group, which includesfive forwards and one defenseman. Rolston is in his first season with the Black Hawks after spending the past two seasons with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. The Notre Dame recruit was given a 'B' Rating, which estimates that Rolston is a candidate to be chosen during the second or third round in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft this summer in Montreal.
Forwards Patrick Guzzo, Ondrej Psenicka, and Wyatt Schingoethe, pluse defeseman Ethan Szmagaj in addition to affiliate forward Zach Michaelis were each assigned a 'C' status, indicating that they may be on track to be selected in the fourth, fifth or sixth rounds.
The scouting service will update its rankings again with a midterm ranking in January and a final one in April.