Cardinals hire former Steeler Townsend as coach
The Arizona Cardinals added more Steelers flavor to their coaching staff Thursday when they hired Deshea Townsend.
Townsend, who played cornerback for the Steelers from 1998-09, will coach the Cardinals' secondary. Townsend joined the Cardinals' staff a day after Ray Horton, his former position coach, was hired as Arizona's defensive coordinator.
Horton coached the Steelers' defensive backs for seven seasons before leaving for Arizona.
The Cardinals have six coaches on their staff with Steelers ties, starting with head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
This is Townsend's first coaching job. He played as recently as last season, appearing in eight games for the Indianapolis Colts before getting waived in November. In 12 seasons with the Steelers, Townsend intercepted 21 passes.
He returned to the Pittsburgh area after the Colts released him, and Townsend had been working as a guest host for Trib LIVE, a sport-driven Internet radio show that launched last month.
Talks break down
Negotiations to prevent an NFL lockout took a grim turn Thursday with the cancellation of the second day of a planned two-day bargaining session.
"We wish we were negotiating today," NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah said. "That's all I can say."
There are just three weeks to go before the collective bargaining agreement expires on March 3.
The NFL confirmed that commissioner Roger Goodell has canceled an owners' meeting scheduled for next Tuesday in Philadelphia, where labor was expected to be a topic.
"Despite the inaccurate characterizations of (Wednesday's) meeting, out of respect to the collective bargaining process and our negotiating partner, we are going to continue to conduct negotiations with the union in private," league spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press via e-mail, "and not engage in a point-counterpoint on the specifics of either side's proposals or the meeting process. Instead, we will work as hard as possible to reach a fair agreement by March 4. We are fully focused on that goal."
Broncos suffer loss
The Denver Broncos' deep wide receiver corps has taken another hit with word that last year's top pick, Demaryius Thomas, tore an Achilles' tendon during an offseason workout in Atlanta.
Thomas, the first receiver selected in last year's draft, was working out at his offseason home when he was injured, according to CBS4 in Denver. The extent wasn't known, but if it's a full tear, his entire 2011 season would be in jeopardy.
Last week, slot receiver Eddie Royal had hip surgery that could sideline him for up to six months, although the Broncos are hopeful he'll be back by late May.
Neither Thomas nor his agent, Todd France, responded to messages from The Associated Press.
Metrodome roof to be replaced
The landlords of the Metrodome voted unanimously to replace the snow-damaged roof of the venerable stadium, opting for a more time-consuming fix that could disrupt the Minnesota Vikings preseason schedule.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission approved a recommendation from engineers who said they worried that simply repairing several torn panels of the stadium's Teflon roof wouldn't be enough to prevent another failure.
Commissioners said they hoped the job would be done by Aug. 1 at an estimated cost of $18.3 million, with almost all of it expected to be covered by insurance.