Wednesday’s NFL: Rams hire ex-UM assistant Fisch

Associated Press

Thousand Oaks, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams hired former UCLA interim head coach Jedd Fisch as a senior offensive assistant on Wednesday.

Fisch served as Michigan’s passing coordinator and coached its quarterbacks and wide receivers from 2015-16.

Fisch was the Bruins’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season, markedly improving the Bruins’ offense during his only year in charge. He also developed a strong bond with star quarterback Josh Rosen, who had a bounce-back season before declaring for the NFL draft.

Fisch then took over for fired head coach Jim Mora for UCLA’s regular-season finale, and the Bruins secured bowl eligibility with a victory over California.

Fisch will bolster the Rams’ offensive coaching staff after the departure of quarterbacks coach Greg Olson, who is the Raiders’ new offensive coordinator.

Bell negotiations

Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell said he and the team are making progress on a contract extension.

The team has presented an initial offer, and Bell (Michigan State) said “we are a lot closer than we were last year.”

Bell spoke Wednesday at the Pro Bowl. He said he doesn’t believe talks will drag on. He said, “I think we’ll get something done and it will be exciting for both sides, for the fans and everybody.”

The 25-year-old back turned down a long-term contract in 2017, skipped training camp and then signed a one-year, $12 million franchise tender.

The Steelers could franchise him again in March, a move Bell told ESPN would force him to consider retiring or sitting out the 2018 season. A second tag would be worth around $14.5 million.

Philbin back to Green Bay

A familiar face on offense and a fresh voice on defense headline the changes to Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s revamped staff in the wake of the team’s first losing season since 2008.

Joe Philbin, a Packers assistant from 2003 until 2012, was hired by the team as offensive coordinator, a job he held for his final five seasons before being named the Dolphins’ head coach in January 2012. On defense, the Packers tabbed Mike Pettine, the ex-Browns head coach who built successful defenses with the Jets and Bills but was largely out of football the last two seasons, serving as a consultant with the Seahawks in 2017.

Haley hired by Browns

Todd Haley has been hired as Browns coach Hue Jackson’s offensive coordinator.

Haley, 50, spent six seasons guiding Pittsburgh’s high-powered offense but was fired following the Steelers’ loss to Jacksonville in the playoffs. Jackson has handled play-calling duties while going 1-31 in his first two seasons with Cleveland.

Clearing the air

Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue says he and Bills guard Richie Incognito have cleared the air after Ngakoue accused Incognito of using “weak racist slurs” during a playoff game this month.

Ngakoue says the Pro Bowl teammates talked it out Wednesday and are good to go.

Ngakoue declined to get into specifics about their conversation at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex, preferring to move on. Incognito rushed off the field following the AFC’s squad’s practice and declined interview requests.

Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson provided more insight, saying he saw Ngakoue and Incognito talking before practice.

Jackson said, “That was really cool, you know. We have a huge respect for each other, and sometimes the heat of the moment can get to you and you can say things you might not really mean or do things you might not really mean and be apologetic for it.

“I think it shows the true character of a man to come and apologize and/or talk about it to clear the air.”