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J.J. Watt journeys to South Park - sort of

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J.J. Watt has moved from the football field to South Park.

A cartoon version of Houston's defensive end appeared briefly on an episode of the Comedy Central show this week. He appears in the episode called (#)HappyHolograms as part of a Christmas special some of the characters on the show were involved with. He's depicted in his No. 99 jersey hugging a reindeer.

Watt said he wouldn't watch the show, but was a bit worried that they'd make fun of him.

"I have never seen an episode of South Park before, but I've heard what they do to people, so it will be pretty interesting to see what they have to say," he said before it aired.

Even though he was slightly concerned about how he would be portrayed, he took it as a compliment that they decided to use his likeness in the show.

"There are some pretty big names on there, so it's an honor," he said.

Watt, third in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks and who has scored five touchdowns, said a lot of people had talked to him about South Park since the image was leaked a few days ago.

"A lot of my friends think it's really, really cool so I guess that means something," he said.

SUPPORT FOR HARBAUGH: Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have had their share of tense moments over the years, from the college game to their moves to the NFL. Yet Carroll, the Seattle coach and Harbaugh's biggest rival in the NFC West, is supporting his 49ers counterpart at a time everybody figures Harbaugh is on his way out.

Harbaugh has one season remaining on the $25 million, five-year contract he signed in January 2011. His Niners play Sunday at Seattle, where the Seahawks beat San Francisco by six points in the NFC championship game last January on the way to a Super Bowl title.

Carroll said he wouldn't comment on the "garbage" of speculation surrounding the future for Harbaugh, who recruited Carroll's son to San Diego.

"I've never seen him not be a really good coach," Carroll said. "He's a fantastic football coach. I've watched him do all the stuff he did at Stanford and turned that program around. What he's done at the Niners, I know that he's a great football coach. Not everybody likes everybody or gets along with everybody, but sometimes they don't see the magic that guys have. I think he's a fantastic football coach. He's proven that. There's no question about that."

One of their infamous moments came in a surprising 55-21 rout by Harbaugh's No. 25 Stanford against Carroll's 11th-ranked Southern California team in 2009. The Cardinal even attempted a 2-point conversion with the game way out of reach, prompting Carroll's infamous "What's your deal?" when the coaching rivals met afterward at midfield.

"He's a stud. He ain't going to waver," Carroll said. "He's going to keep battling and do what he does. He's a great competitor. Always has been. That's why they're so dangerous coming in right now because of his leadership, his toughness about the way he runs his program. I have tremendous respect for him.

"All the other stuff you guys have always thought was going on (between us), there ain't much to it. This is two football guys going at it, two guys that love to compete and battle and there's nobody I'd rather play. I love playing against him and that's the way it's been since the beginning."

COMING HOME: This is the time of the season when bottom-of-the-roster transactions pick up with teams positioning for next season. So on the surface Minnesota's signing offensive tackle Carter Bykowski off San Francisco's practice squad was no special move.

Except that Bykowski grew up in Eden Prairie a few miles away from where the Vikings have their headquarters, playing in high school for coach Mike Grant, the son of former Vikings coach and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bud Grant. Bykowski was a boyhood friend and teammate of Ryan Grant, Mike Grant's son and Bud Grant's grandson, so he's no stranger to one of the most influential figures in franchise history.

"He might not recognize me or remember me. I was 240 back then in high school," said Bykowski, who's listed at 6-foot-7 and 306 pounds.

Bykowski went to Iowa State as a tight end but moved to tackle as his upper body filled out. He was a seventh-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2013.

"I had a great time there, but it's a good opportunity here so you've got to take advantage of it," he said.

The call from his agent with the news on Monday was entirely unexpected for Bykowski.

"It was unbelievable. It's pretty sweet to go home," he said.

SUH'S SWAN SONG?: This weekend could be the last home game at Ford Field for Ndamukong Suh. The Detroit defensive tackle can become a free agent after this season.

The Lions are in the mix for a postseason spot, but there's certainly no guarantee of any more home games after Sunday's against Minnesota. Suh isn't tipping his hand on any future plans.

"Not a clue," he said Wednesday. "It's not my decision."

Huh?

Suh said reporters should talk to Jimmy Sexton, his agent, if they want information on his free agency.

"It'll be Jimmy's decision, so we'll go with that," he said.

CHICKEN OR FISH? Von Miller is still in the bird business, raising chickens back home in Texas. But now he's also into fish.

The Broncos pass rusher said he just purchased a 300-gallon saltwater tank for his home in Denver. He wanted some sharks, but they'd knock over the colorful coral. And he doesn't want to mix predators with nonpredators. So he's still deciding which fish to get.

Miller said he can't have a dog because he puts in such long hours at work, so he went with the fish tank.

When teammates asked him this week where they could buy some tropical fish themselves, Miller whipped out his phone and told them, "No, don't go to a pet store. I'll hook you up with my fish dude."

He's a got a guy that handles his fish?

"Yeah, he said he'll come over, and every week, to check on them," Miller said. "He's my fish dude."

ONE-BACK BENGALS: The Bengals are moving away from their two-back approach.

Cincinnati originally intended to use Giovani Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill as complementary running backs. Bernard started the first seven games before he was sidelined for three by shoulder and hip injuries. Hill emerged in his absence, running for more than 150 yards twice.

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson tried blending Bernard back into the mix for three games, with unsatisfying results. Hill carried only eight times for 48 yards during a 42-21 loss to the Steelers on Sunday, while Bernard had six carries for 17 yards.

It's apparent that Hill, more of a power runner, will be getting the bulk of the plays going forward.

"I'm used to having one guy kind of dominate some carries because in order for backs to be really good, they've got to get lathered up to play," Jackson said. "You've got to get a feel for the game.

"We have two capable guys and they're different guys and we'll let it play itself out, but I think we have a pretty good idea which way we're headed."


AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Dave Campbell and Arnie Stapleton, and Sports Writers Joe Kay, Janie McCauley and Kristie Rieken contributed to this notebook.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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