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Cowboys demote Kiffin, promote Marinelli

IRVING, Texas — In a switch of former Bucs assistants, the Cowboys on Tuesday demoted defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and gave his title to Rod Marinelli.

Dallas also hired Scott Linehan as the passing game coordinator who will call plays.

The Cowboys announced a change in Kiffin's title to assistant head coach/defense. Kiffin and Marinelli, the defensive line coach, came to Dallas together last year after the Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and switched to a four-man front.

Kiffin was the Bucs defensive coordinator from 1996-2008 and Marinelli was a defensive assistant under Kiffin until becoming Lions head coach in 2006.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Kiffin, who will turn 74 next month, will serve more as a mentor who will "help coach coaches and coach players."

Marinelli was Bears defensive coordinator for three years under Lovie Smith before Smith was fired in 2012, when the Bears led the league in interceptions and takeaways and were third in points allowed.

The staff shuffling — the second in as many years — comes after the Cowboys gave up the most yards in franchise history and finished last in total defense and had their worst offensive output in yardage since 2005.

"The success (Marinelli) had in Chicago as a coordinator speaks for itself," Garrett said. "To have him as a point person is exciting and to have Kiff in the overseeing role is something we think is good."

Linehan, the former Rams coach who was the Lions' offensive coordinator the past five seasons, takes play-calling duties from Bill Callahan, who remains on the staff. Quarterback Tony Romo will have his third play-caller in as many seasons after Garrett had that role in 2012.

MARTIN opens up: Tackle Jonathan Martin says the persistence of vulgar language around the Dolphins made him feel trapped. Martin's comments, which aired Tuesday on NBC Nightly News, came in his first interview since the scandal broke. He left the Dolphins in October and alleged he was harassed daily by teammates, including guard Richie Incognito, who was suspended for the final eight games. "I'm a grown man," said Martin, 24. "I've been in locker rooms. There's vulgar language used in locker rooms. One instance doesn't bother me. It's the persistence of it. I wish I would have had more tools to solve my situation. I felt trapped, like I didn't have a way to make it right. It came down to a point where I thought it was best to remove myself from the situation."

TITANS: Running back Chris Johnson tweeted that surgery to repair torn meniscus in his knee went perfectly. He is due $8 million in 2014.

Cowboys demote Kiffin, promote Marinelli 01/28/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:41pm]

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