Redskins tab Allen as new GM

ASHBURN, Va. - The Washington Redskins brought back a familiar name and dusted off a long-unused title Thursday in a major front office shake-up, the first of many anticipated changes resulting from a losing season.

Bruce Allen, son of late Redskins Hall of Fame coach George Allen, is the team's new general manager. He becomes the first person hired by owner Dan Snyder to hold the GM title, a notable milestone after a decade of various front office arrangements that usually centered around Snyder and good friend Vinny Cerrato.

"It's exciting because of the history, the tradition, the comfort about coming home," said Allen, whose father coached the Redskins from 1971-77.

Out the door goes Cerrato, Snyder's right-hand confidante for most of the past decade and the executive vice president of football operations for the past two seasons. The team announced that Cerrato had resigned, but Snyder made it clear it was not a unilateral decision.

"I think the best way to put it," Snyder said, "is it was time for a change."

And probably not just one. Allen barely had time to get used to wearing his burgundy and gold tie before he was asked about the team's coaching situation. The names of Jon Gruden - with whom Allen worked in both Oakland and Tampa Bay - and Mike Shanahan were raised during his introductory news conference.

Allen responded that he had only just had his first meeting with the current coach, Jim Zorn. Zorn's job status is tenuous with the record at 4-9 and three games to play. The Redskins host the rival Giants on Monday night.

"Jim Zorn is our coach," Allen said. "Give us some time to see how our relationship develops."

It's uncertain how much leeway Allen will have to make the final call about the coach or the roster. Neither he nor Snyder would give details of their working agreement, but Snyder indicated that Allen will have more autonomy than some of the owner's previous front office hires.

As for Zorn, he's got three weeks to impress his new boss. He admitted there had been "some difficulties" with Cerrato, who stripped the coach of play-calling duties six games into the season.

Former RB Dunn to become Falcons minority owner. Former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn is buying a piece of the team. The Falcons announced that Dunn, who retired after the 2008 season, has an agreement to become the team's seventh limited partner. The purchase was unanimously approved by NFL owners on Wednesday and is expected to be completed by March 1.

Dunn spent 12 years in the NFL with Atlanta and Tampa Bay and was only the seventh player to reach 10,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards receiving.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Blank will continue to hold more than a 90 percent stake in the team after Dunn becomes a minority owner.

NFL fines O'Hara, Cole $15,000 apiece for fight. Giants center Shaun O'Hara and Eagles defensive end Trent Cole have been fined $15,000 by the NFL for a scuffle at the end of Sunday's game at Giants Stadium.

Rams cancel practice due to swine flu. The Rams canceled practice Thursday due to an undisclosed number of swine flu cases on the team, just three days before a home game against the Texans.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo would not say how many players had the illness but said five or six players had flulike symptoms, and added that other players had reported symptoms the past few weeks. He anticipated the Rams would return to practice today.

Injury news. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez practiced for the second straight day and took 75 percent of the snaps, but a patient coach Rex Ryan remained undecided on his starter for the game against the Falcons. ... Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has missed another practice while struggling with migraine headaches.