Browns dismiss Mangini after 10-22 record
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Eric Mangini was denied a third season as Cleveland's coach.
Given a second chance a year ago by Browns president Mike Holmgren to improve, Mangini was fired Monday after a second consecutive 5-11 season and one day after a humiliating home loss to the rival Steelers.
Holmgren, who spent several days mulling Mangini's future after last season, wasted no time and dismissed him at a morning meeting.
Mangini went just 10-22 with the Browns and finished his second season with a four-game losing streak. Cleveland went 2-6 following an upset Nov. 7 of NFL heavyweight New England -- a victory that seemed like a turning point. Instead, it only sparked a slide.
Mangini's ouster with two years and nearly $8 million left on his contract seemed set long before an embarrassing 41-9 loss Sunday, but the rout certainly didn't help his cause with Holmgren, a Super Bowl-winning coach who might return to the sideline.
"This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought," Holmgren said. "Although we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That will continue to be our goal in everything we do."
Holmgren has left open the possibility of a return to coaching. He previously coached with Seattle in 2008 before taking a one-year sabbatical. He was hired in December 2009 by Browns owner Randy Lerner, who had set out to find a "serious, credible leader" for his franchise and may have also gotten his next coach.
Mangini's two seasons with Cleveland will be remembered for losing streaks, flickers of hope, injuries and far too much drama for a franchise still looking for a foothold 12 years after its expansion return.
The Browns haven't been able to get it right with a coach since returning to the league; Mangini followed Chris Palmer, Butch Davis and Romeo Crennel on Cleveland's coaching carousel. The instability up top and lack of continuity perhaps best explains the Browns' 64-129 record and one playoff appearance since their rebirth in 1999.
Stressing a team-first mentality, Leslie Frazier took over as Minnesota's head coach and vowed a thorough examination of the roster, the staff and the scheme on both sides of the ball to get the Vikings back in the playoffs.
On the day he reached a contract agreement with the organization to remove the interim tag from his title, Frazier said he believes "it's only a matter of time" before the championship-deprived franchise wins a Super Bowl.
Frazier, 51, took over Nov. 22 when Brad Childress was fired, and the Vikings went 3-3 under Frazier after a 3-7 start.
"I think we'll be able to look back at these last six weeks and say, 'You know what? That was the beginning of something special,' " Frazier said at his introductory news conference.
One of the first orders of business for Frazier is to help devise a plan with the personnel department for the sport's most important position. Quarterback Brett Favre, 41, is finally retiring, and Frazier said he wouldn't call Favre to ask for another season under "any circumstance."
Coach Jack Del Rio's job is safe for another year. His role as defensive play caller is over, though. Team owner Wayne Weaver talked with about 10 players Monday, then had a lengthy meeting with Del Rio. Del Rio explained what went wrong this season and outlined a plan to fix things. Weaver responded by asking Del Rio to give up control of the defense. Weaver also made it clear Del Rio, 66-65 with the Jaguars, needs to make the postseason in 2011 to keep his job.
Tom Coughlin is not only coming back as New York's coach, he's getting a new contract, too. A day after the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention for the second consecutive year, co-owner Steve Tisch said that the team plans to sit down with Coughlin in the very near future and work out a new deal. Coughlin, 64, had one year remaining on a $21 million contract that he signed after the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2008.
Houston is sticking with coach Gary Kubiak. The Texans said that Kubiak will return next season, despite another lackluster year that ended without a playoff berth. But the team made wholesale defensive staff changes, firing coordinator Frank Bush, secondary coach David Gibbs, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and assistant linebackers coach Robert Saleh.
Coach Marvin Lewis gave his players and assistant coaches no hints about whether he will return as Cincinnati's head coach. Lewis met with players and the coaching staff briefly and they said it was a typical end-of-the-year meeting with no mention of his future.
San Diego said special teams coach Steve Crosby will not be back next season. Special teams blunders contributed to a 2-5 start that helped keep the Chargers out of the playoffs.
First Published January 4, 2011 12:00 am