NFL notebook: McCarthy opens up on Packers firing

Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was surprised to be fired before the end of the 2018 season.

FILE PHOTO: Aug 29, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy addressed the situation in his first sit-down interview since the Packers fired him Dec. 2, which he said “couldn’t have been handled any worse.”

“If we missed the playoffs, I expected change might happen,” McCarthy told ESPN in the conversation four months after his dismissal. “But the timing surprised me. Actually it stunned me. But time provides the opportunity for reflection and clarity, and that’s where I’m at now. And it’s clear to me now that both sides needed a change.”

McCarthy was fired immediately after his team’s 20-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals that left Green Bay 4-7-1. The Packers missed the postseason after finishing 6-9-1. McCarthy was in his 13th season with the Packers, which included a Super Bowl victory in 2011.

—Recently retired receiver Jordy Nelson says he would consider playing in 2019 — if Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers asks him to.

“It would probably be hard to say no,” Nelson said during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show.”

Nelson, who turns 34 in May, announced his retirement last month after one season with the Oakland Raiders. He caught 63 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns in 2018.

—Prosecutors in Houston announced they are dismissing their case against defensive end Michael Bennett, who had been accused of shoving an elderly, wheelchair-bound NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

“We dismissed this case in the interest of justice,” said Vivian King, chief of staff of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “After looking at all the evidence, this was the right thing to do.”

Bennett, now with the Patriots, had been facing a felony charge of injury to the elderly, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound lineman was accused of pushing and injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman as he tried to get onto the field to celebrate with his brother, former Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, after New England defeated Atlanta on Feb. 5, 2017.

—The wife of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford announced she has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and will undergo surgery.

Kelly Stafford said an MRI showed she has acoustic neuroma, which is a benign tumor, that is abutting her cranial nerves.

She said she had been suffering from vertigo and experiencing other unusual symptoms and had the MRI performed on the advice of the Lions’ team doctor.

—The Raiders signed wideout Ryan Grant, adding the veteran to an overhauled position group that includes Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson.

Grant, 28, caught 35 passes for 334 yards and one touchdown in 14 games last season with Indianapolis.

He played the previous four seasons with Washington, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2014. In 64 games with the Redskins, Grant caught 84 passes for 985 yards and six touchdowns.

—The Buffalo Bills announced the signing of veteran guard Quinton Spain to a one-year deal.

Spain, 27, started 48 games for the Tennessee Titans over the past four seasons.

Spain is the sixth new addition to Buffalo’s offensive line this offseason, joining Spencer Long, Mitch Morse, Ty Nsekhe, Jon Feliciano and LaAdrian Waddle.

—The Atlanta Falcons re-signed linebacker Kemal Ishmael and guard Adam Gettis to one-year contracts.

Ishmael, who turns 28 in May, played 330 of his 394 total snaps last season on special teams. Gettis has not played in an NFL game since 2016, when he was with the New York Giants.

—The Cleveland Browns re-signed tight end/fullback Orson Charles. Terms were not announced.

Charles, 28, caught three passes for 23 yards in 13 games (two starts) for Cleveland last season.

Slideshow (3 Images)

—The Giants released wideout/return specialist Quadree Henderson, ESPN reported.

Henderson, 22, returned nine punts for 68 yards (7.6-yard average) and five kickoffs for 112 yards (22.4 average) in five games last season as an undrafted rookie out of Pittsburgh. He did not catch a pass.

—Field Level Media

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.