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Panthers Ron Rivera, Luke Kuechly keep on winning

KANSAS, CITY, Mo. Kansas City’s Andy Reid was honored as the AFC Coach of the Year on Saturday at the NFL 101 Awards, and Carolina’s Ron Rivera – Reid’s former protege – took the NFC award.

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year and Indianapolis linebacker Robert Mathis took the AFC honor.

One of Reid’s former players, Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy, was selected the NFC Offensive Player of the Year, and Denver quarterback Peyton Manning took the AFC award for the eighth time.

Rivera was an assistant under Reid in Philadelphia.

“The one thing about Andy that stands out about him is his presence,” Rivera said. “With him walking into a room, especially a new room like Kansas City last year, I promise you there was probably instant credibility because of the success he had had and people could see that.”

Reid led Kansas City to nine-win turnaround in in his first season with the team. Fired after going 4-12 in Philadelphia, Reid directed the Chiefs to a 9-0 start, 11-5 finish and a wild-card playoff berth.

“I feel very blessed to be in the city of Kansas City and having the opportunity to work in this community and for a great organization, a phenomenal organization,” Reid said. “I’m humbled that you’d even think of me to be the AFC Coach of the Year.”

Len Dawson, the former Chiefs quarterback and current radio analyst, received the Lamar Hunt Award, a national award given to someone who helped shape pro football.

“I told (Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt) I’ve been in broadcasting for 50 years and I’m speechless,” Dawson said. “I wonder what the National Football League, professional football, would be like if there was not a Lamar Hunt.”

Around the league

Miami: John Benton has been promoted to offensive line coach by the Miami Dolphins, replacing Jim Turner, who was fired in the aftermath of the team’s bullying scandal.

Jack Bicknell Jr. was hired as assistant offensive line coach, the team said Saturday.

Benton joined the Dolphins as assistant offensive line coach on Jan. 29. He has 27 years of coaching experience, including the past eight as the Houston Texans’ offensive line coach.

Bicknell was fired in January after one season as offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, and spent 2009-11 as an assistant with the New York Giants.

Turner was fired Feb. 19 after two years with the Dolphins.

New England: Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard reported to a Lincoln, Neb., jail to begin his 60-day term for a 2012 assault on a police officer.

Dennard, 24, reported to the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility on Saturday morning, according to corrections officers with the Lincoln facility who spoke on condition of anonymity because of jail policy.

The former Nebraska football standout will have to serve at least 35 days, after credit for good behavior and the three days he’s already spent in jail.

In April, a judge sentenced Dennard to two years’ probation, 30 days in jail and community service for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest outside a Lincoln bar days before he was chosen in the NFL Draft. Dennard had been projected to be a middle-round NFL draft pick, but the Patriots took him in the seventh round.

The judge later extended his probation to three years and doubled the jail time after Dennard was again arrested in Lincoln on suspicion of drunken driving in July. That charge was later dismissed in exchange for Dennard’s no contest plea for refusing to submit to a chemical test. He was fined $500 and placed on probation for that offense.

Dennard finished this season, his second in the NFL, with 40 tackles and one interception. The Patriots fell just short of the Super Bowl, losing to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game.

St. Louis: A federal jury in St. Louis has found in favor of the Rams in a lawsuit filed by a woman who claimed she was forced out because of her age.

Lory Fabian was 56 when she sued the Rams in 2012, claiming she was one of a number of older employees who lost their jobs to younger workers.

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