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Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was one of five players selected unanimously for the AP All-Pro Team. Bruce Kluckhorn/Associated Press

NEW YORK — Five players, including dynamic pass catchers Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams, are unanimous choices for The Associated Press 2021 NFL All-Pro Team.

Joining the Rams’ Kupp and the Packers’ Adams in receiving votes Friday from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league are Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

While Donald is a perennial pick – the three-time Defensive Player of the Year makes the team for the seventh time in his eight pro seasons – Watt is on it for a third time. He tied the NFL record for sacks with 22 1/2. Adams makes it for the second time, and the other two are newcomers as All-Pros. Kupp led the NFL in receptions (145), yards receiving (1,947) and TD catches (16). Taylor was the top rusher by a landslide with 1,811 yards and scored 18 touchdowns on the ground, two as a receiver.

“Obviously, it’s an honor to be recognized, and it wouldn’t be possible without my coaches and incredible teammates, but the awards and accolades aren’t what drives me,” said Watt, whose Steelers play at Kansas City on Sunday. “It’s competing with and for them, this franchise, and this city, that drives me. My coaches and teammates are the people that put me in a position to make splash, help us win, and this recognition honestly doesn’t come without them.”

Like Donald, although not nearly as often as the offense-wrecking DT, several players are making another appearance on the All-Pro Team. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on for the fourth time, as is Philadelphia center Jason Kelce – one more than his brother, Chiefs’ star tight end Travis. One better than them: Dallas right guard Zack Martin and Baltimore placekicker Justin Tucker at five.

Three-time All-Pros are Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward. Double All-Pros are Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett and Titans safety Kevin Byard.

The other 14 2021 All-Pros are making their debuts. On offense, 49ers left tackle Trent Williams is a newcomer in his 11th NFL season, joined by Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, Buccaneers right tackle Tristan Wirfs, Browns left guard Joel Bitonio, and 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel. On defense, it’s linebackers Micah Parsons of Dallas, the only rookie on the squad, and De’Vondre Campbell of Green Bay; Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs; Bills safety Jordan Poyer; and five special teamers: Las Vegas punter A.J. Cole, Jets kick returner Braxton Berrios, Ravens punt returner Devin Duvernay, Saints special teams ace J.T Gray, and Colts long snapper Luke Rhodes.

TEXANS: General Manager Nick Caserio defended his decision to fire head coach David Culley after just one season, citing differences in opinion about the organization’s path forward.

The Texans announced the firings of Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly on Thursday night following a 4-13 season.

“When you look at the way we played – the effort and toughness and consistency and competitive spirit that we played with – a lot of that should be attributed to David,” Caserio said. “Philosophically, there were some things in the end that maybe we saw a little bit differently, and that was the impetus for the decision that we made yesterday.”

Culley’s dismissal left only one Black head coach in the NFL, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brian Flores was fired this week after leading the Miami Dolphins to a 9-8 record.

The 66-year-old Culley spent 43 seasons as a college and NFL assistant before finally getting his first head coaching job.

Caserio declined to go into details over where he differed with Culley and stressed that it was his decision to fire him.

CHIEFS: Kansas City will be without Clyde Edwards-Helaire for their wild-card playoff game against the Steelers on Sunday night after their starting running back was unable to put together a full week of practice because of a hurt collarbone.

Chiefs Coach Andy Reid confirmed that Edwards-Helaire would be ruled out for the playoff opener after he returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday but did not practice at all Thursday or Friday.

CHARGERS: Coach Brandon Staley has started the process of making changes to his staff after Los Angeles fell short of making the playoffs for the third straight year.

Staley fired special teams coordinator Derius Swinton II and assistant special teams coach Mayur Chaudhari. Staley said on Wednesday that he was beginning the process of staff evaluations after exit interviews with players on Monday and Tuesday.

The Chargers (9-8) were in position for a wild-card spot, but dropped three of their final four games, including a 35-32 overtime decision at Las Vegas last Sunday.

GIANTS: New York interviewed two members of the Tennessee Titans’ front office for their vacant general manager’s job.

Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara, the owner’s brother, spoke with Ryan Cowden and Monti Ossenfort by videoconference. Cowden is the Titans’ vice president of player personnel and Ossenfort is in his second year as Tennessee’s director of player personnel.

The Giants have now spoken with six men over the past three days about the opening created earlier this week when Dave Gettleman retired after New York went 4-13 this past season.

The Giants also have interviewed Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen, Cardinals vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson on Wednesday, and Quentin Harris, Arizona’s vice president of player personnel, and Ryan Poles, the Chiefs chief executive director of player personnel, on Thursday.

Cowden, 43, is in his 22nd year in the NFL, the past six with the Titans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. He oversees all areas of Tennessee’s scouting department, both college and pro.

Before coming to Tennessee, the 43-year-old Ossenfort spent 14 years with the New England Patriots, the last six as the organization’s director of college scouting.


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