NFL notebook: Ex-Steelers Faneca, Greene among Hall of Fame finalists
Brett Favre is one step away from entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The quarterback who left the NFL after the 2010 season as the leader in most career passing categories, is among three first-time eligibles to make the list of 15 finalists. Receiver Terrell Owens and former Steelers guard Alan Faneca, also in their initial year of eligibility, made the cut.
The class of 2016 will be decided on Feb. 6, the day before the Super Bowl, with inductions scheduled for August.
Also making the cut to 15 are former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene, Morten Andersen, Steve Atwater, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison, Joe Jacoby, Edgerrin James, John Lynch, Orlando Pace and Kurt Warner.
Two senior finalists — players whose careers ended more than 25 years ago — were announced last August: Ken Stabler and Dick Stanfel.
A contributor finalist announced in September was Edward DeBartolo Jr., owner of the San Francisco 49ers from 1977-2000. Five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law (Aliquippa) failed to make the cut.
To be elected, a finalist must receive a minimum of 80 percent of the votes cast by the selection panel. A maximum of eight inductees are allowed per year.
The ultimate gun-slinging quarterback, Favre led the Packers to the 1996 NFL championship and was a three-time league MVP. He retired as the NFL's leading passer with 6,300 completions, 10,169 attempts, 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns.
Owens played for five teams in his 16 pro seasons, making the Super Bowl with the 2004 Eagles. He ranks second in yards receiving (15,934), third in touchdown receptions (153) and set a then-record for catches in a single game with 20 against the Bears in 2000.
Faneca was one of the NFL's best blockers for 13 seasons and 206 games, making the All-Decade Team of the 2000s. A six-time All-Pro, he anchored the offensive lines of the Steelers, Jets and Cardinals, winning one Super Bowl.
Among the other finalists, Dungy rebuilt the moribund Tampa Bay franchise, then won the 2007 Super Bowl with Indianapolis, the first black coach to win the NFL championship. The other coaching finalists is Coryell, whose offense (Air Coryell) was the most potent of its day. Considered an innovator in the passing game, Coryell was 111-83-1 with the Cardinals and Chargers in 14 seasons.
Greene was one of the NFL's top sackmasters from 1985-97 for four teams. He finished his career with 160 sacks, third on the career list when he retired, and made the 1990s All-Decade Team.
Broncos name Manning starter for playoffs
Gary Kubiak stuck to his word in naming Peyton Manning his starter even after declaring Brock Osweiler had done nothing to deserve a demotion.
Manning is healthy and ready to go.
So, he will be under center for the Broncos (12-4) in the playoffs.
Kubiak called his quarterbacks into his office Thursday when players returned from a three-day furlough and informed them of his decision.
“I feel really good about this,” Kubiak said. “I feel good about how far Peyton has come, where he's at physically, mentally. I could see it happening throughout the course of the last two weeks. I'm excited for him to get going.”
Manning said his left foot is fine now and he's even refreshed after taking nearly two months off.
He also suffered no lingering effects from Damion Square's textbook helmet-to-chest hit Sunday in what the 39-year-old quarterback called his welcome-back-to-football moment.
“I felt good going into the game Sunday, had no issues coming out,” Manning said. “And these past couple of days off certainly helped as well.”
Manning praised his backup, saying the Broncos wouldn't be the AFC's top seed without him, “but I'm looking forward to being back” calling the shots beginning Jan. 17 in the divisional round.
Osweiler reacted the way Kubiak and GM John Elway hoped he would: with disappointment and determination.
“I stand behind Peyton. I stand behind coach. I stand behind this team,” Osweiler said. “You're going to see the same exact guy out of me as you've seen the whole season. Bottom line: I just care about this football team winning games. If coach thinks Peyton gives the team the best chance, then I fully support that.”
Manning missed seven starts with a torn plantar fascia. He returned to action Sunday when he relieved Osweiler in the second half and led the Broncos to a 27-20 win over San Diego. That marked Manning's first game as a backup since his freshman year at Tennessee.
Coaching candidates interview
The Browns are interviewing Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and Jaguars offensive assistant Doug Marrone for their head coaching job.
Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo interviewed with the Eagles for their coaching vacancy.
The Giants interviewed defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and talked with Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
The 41-year-old McDermott has no head coaching experience, but his defenses have finished ranked in the top 10 in each of the past four seasons. The Panthers led the league with 39 takeaways this season. Marrone was Buffalo's coach for two seasons before opting out of his contract following 2014. He coached at Syracuse before joining the Bills.
Pro Bowl moves
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson won't play in the Pro Bowl while he contemplates his future.
The Jaguars announced Allen Robinson, a second-round pick out of Penn State in 2014, will take Johnson's place in his first Pro Bowl.
Jets center Nick Mangold was added to the Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for the injured Mike Pouncey of the Dolphins.
Browns' QB Manziel cited for expired plates
Troubled Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was cited for driving with expired license plates last weekend before he was spotted in Las Vegas.
According to police in North Olmsted, Ohio, Manziel was stopped at 8:28 a.m. on Saturday while driving on Interstate 480. Police gave him a traffic ticket for the expired plates. Manziel can pay a $125 fine for the offense.
Manziel was in the NFL's concussion protocol last week after the team said he got hurt in a Dec. 27 game. He wasn't required to be at Cleveland's season finale Sunday, but owner Jimmy Haslam said the 23-year-old failed to report to the team's facility for a required medical assessment.
The Browns did not confirm a report that Manziel was in Las Vegas.
Vikings coach: AP's back will not keep him out
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Adrian Peterson's lower back injury will not keep him from playing in Sunday's playoff game against Seattle.
Peterson had to leave the game against Green Bay last Sunday with the injury but was able to return late in the game. He did not practice Wednesday.
Zimmer said the NFL's leading rusher is feeling “much, much better.”
Around the league
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he hired former Ravens assistant Ted Monachino as his new defensive coordinator. … Injured Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari could be ready for Sunday's wild-card playoff game against the Redskins.