The traditional signing day Wednesday merely padded Oregon's already stellar recruiting class, the best in school history.,GETTING DEFENSIVE: Washington capped its recruiting class by landing two of the top defensive players on the West Coast.,Washington had seemed to be the favorite for Heimuli for most of the recruiting period, but his Menlo-Atherton team advancing to the state title game in California impacted his ability to make a decision in time for the December signing period.,The abrupt departure of new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury after 34 days shook up the Trojans' recruiting class and led to the departure of receiver commit Bru McCoy, who spurned USC for Texas.,The day had an international flavor with the Utes bringing in 6-foot-7 offensive lineman Bamidele Olaseni, a native of London who played last year for Garden City Community College in Kansas, and fellow 6-foot-7 offensive lineman Luke Felix-Fualalo, a former rugby player in Australia who played last year for prep powerhouse Mater Dei in California.

Foskey, a four-star defensive end from De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif., became the final member of Notre Dame’s 2019 recruiting class, joining 21 players who signed during the early period in December.,The Illini added a pair of linebackers to the 11 players they signed in December, getting the day started by announcing the signing of four-star prospect Shammond Cooper from St. Louis’ Trinity Catholic High School.,Three-star linebacker Tarique Barnes of Memphis, Tenn., brought the class to 13 players.,In terms of average player rating, Illinois’ class ranks seventh in the conference, and its three four-star signees — including cornerback Marquez Beason and quarterback Isaiah Williams — trail only five Big Ten teams.,Illinois was considered a likely landing spot for Cooper thanks to his strong ties with Cory Patterson, his former high school coach who is now an Illini assistant coach, and Williams, his high school teammate who signed with the Illini in December.

The Raiders didn’t come to Fairfield to play football, they instead came to accept the challenge from a local all-star team to play a charity basketball game at Armijo’s E. Gary Vaughan gymnasium.,The 1979 local team included Fairfield High hoopster/Armijo Hall of Fame coach Jay Dahl, then-City Councilman later-Mayor Chuck Hammond and Armijo hoops standout/Fairfield-Suisun School District teacher and administrator Mark Dietrich, among others.,In his Jan. 23, 1989, column, “Overtime,” then-Daily Republic sports writer Brad Stañhope gushed about the previous day’s dramatic 20-16 fourth quarter comeback victory by the San Francisco 49ers over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVIII played at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.,Before the game, four local high school football coaches and one junior college football coach – specifically Greg Clark (Armijo), Jim Sykes (Fairfield), Kevin Luckey (Vanden), Tom Zunino (Vacaville) and Ron Beverly (Solano Community College) – unanimously picked the Niners to win.,It came out later that when the 49ers were about to start the final drive on their own 8-yard line with 3:20 left in the game and trailing by 3 points, Montana earned his nickname, “Joe Cool.”

IN LATE OCTOBER, owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam summoned all Cleveland Browns employees to the auditorium at team headquarters for a familiar meeting.,TWO MONTHS LATER, Jimmy Haslam is in another familiar meeting -- in the locker room with Browns players after a loss, this time to the Ravens in the regular-season finale.,He made a fortune expanding the Haslam family business of Pilot Flying J truck stops and saw it come to a halt in an FBI raid in 2013, which left him looking for redemption as the owner of the famously hard-luck and comically inept Browns.,For the past six years, as Haslam's former life dissolved, he tightly gripped every aspect of the Cleveland organization, often creating as much chaos as he inherited, according to more than two dozen interviews with current and former Browns executives, coaches, lawyers, scouts and staffers, as well as league executives and other team owners and executives, most of whom requested confidentiality.,Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the firing of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley does not mean the team is giving up on this season.

IN LATE OCTOBER, owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam summoned all Cleveland Browns employees to the auditorium at team headquarters for a familiar meeting.,TWO MONTHS LATER, Jimmy Haslam is in another familiar meeting -- in the locker room with Browns players after a loss, this time to the Ravens in the regular-season finale.,He made a fortune expanding the Haslam family business of Pilot Flying J truck stops and saw it come to a halt in an FBI raid in 2013, which left him looking for redemption as the owner of the famously hard-luck and comically inept Browns.,For the past six years, as Haslam's former life dissolved, he tightly gripped every aspect of the Cleveland organization, often creating as much chaos as he inherited, according to more than two dozen interviews with current and former Browns executives, coaches, lawyers, scouts and staffers, as well as league executives and other team owners and executives, most of whom requested confidentiality.,Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the firing of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley does not mean the team is giving up on this season.

IN LATE OCTOBER, owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam summoned all Cleveland Browns employees to the auditorium at team headquarters for a familiar meeting.,TWO MONTHS LATER, Jimmy Haslam is in another familiar meeting -- in the locker room with Browns players after a loss, this time to the Ravens in the regular-season finale.,He made a fortune expanding the Haslam family business of Pilot Flying J truck stops and saw it come to a halt in an FBI raid in 2013, which left him looking for redemption as the owner of the famously hard-luck and comically inept Browns.,For the past six years, as Haslam's former life dissolved, he tightly gripped every aspect of the Cleveland organization, often creating as much chaos as he inherited, according to more than two dozen interviews with current and former Browns executives, coaches, lawyers, scouts and staffers, as well as league executives and other team owners and executives, most of whom requested confidentiality.,Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the firing of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley does not mean the team is giving up on this season.

For all the debate stirred by a blatant penalty that wasn't called in the closing minutes of the NFC championship game, the Rams thoroughly earned their 26-23 overtime victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.,And, finally, they came up with a huge interception in overtime to set up Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal — the longest kick ever to win a playoff game.,It was the first home playoff loss for the Saints with Brees and coach Sean Payton, who had been 6-0 at the Superdome since their pairing began in 2006.,If the pass interference penalty had been called, the Saints could've run most of the time off the clock to set up a winning field goal from chip-shot range.,It was another bitter end for the Saints, who lost the previous season in the divisional round on the "Minnesota Miracle" — the Vikings' long touchdown pass on the final play of the game.

That made it 23-20 with 1:41 left in regulation, plenty of time for the Rams to march to Greg Zuerlein’s tying 48-yard field goal.,His heroics almost certainly never would have happened had the call on Robey-Coleman been made.,NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron “couldn’t believe” no penalty call was called on the play, Payton said.,These had more to do with replay, with two critical calls going New England’s way in the fourth quarter.,Reid challenged, and replay indicated far more evidence the ground helped Hogan make the catch than the previous review showed Edelman whiffed on the ball.

Leave it to Aqib Talib, their voluble veteran cornerback, to remind his teammates about the upside of the New Orleans fans' famed investment in the game.,They'll need every bit of Talib's expertise and skill when they attempt to slow Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and a New Orleans (14-3) offense that already carved up the Rams (14-3) once this season.,"Everybody is preparing for this game different," Talib said.,While many of his teammates got their first career playoff victory last week against Dallas, Talib has seen it all before — from big playoff games in New England to a Super Bowl championship run with Denver.,Talib understandably wouldn't give away the Rams' potential strategy for the NFC title game, and neither would Phillips.

Philip Rivers just concluded his 15th season with the Los Angeles Chargers but the quarterback's future beyond 2019 is one of many areas that general manager Tom Telesco will have to address during the offseason.,Rivers said Monday that he hasn't discussed his future plans with the team, but noted he wants to play at least through 2020, when the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park opens.,Telesco didn't rule out the possibility of drafting a quarterback this year, but also said that it would have to line up with the team's other needs.,Other notable free agents include cornerback Jason Verrett, who missed the season with an Achilles injury, wide receiver Tyrell Williams and defensive tackle Damion Square.,"We had a very good football team but we played a better football team in New England at New England.