It didn’t take long.
Barely 12 hours after the NFL’s regular season ended, five head coaches were unemployed. Fired on Monday were Washington’s Mike Shanahan, Detroit’s Jim Schwartz, Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier and Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano.
The Cleveland Browns didn’t even wait that long, dismissing Rob Chudzinski on Sunday night after just one season on the job.
Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls in Denver in the 1990s, spent four seasons with the Redskins and was 24-40. Frazier had a little more than three seasons with the Vikings, compiling an 18-33-1 mark, and Schwartz coached the Lions for five seasons, finishing 29-52.
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Schiano only got two years with the Buccaneers, going 11-21. He had three years and $9 million left on his contract.
Tampa Bay also fired general manager Mark Dominik.
“It’s tough for the players to see your coaches go. You never want to see anybody get fired,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy of the Buccaneers said. “Me personally, I haven’t had any, consistently, in my career. Going on my fifth year and three head coaches. Add up everybody, it’ll be six D-line coaches.”
The Buccaneers, who also have fired the likes of Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, hired Schiano out of Rutgers in 2012 and went 6-4 before losing five of their last six games. They dropped their first eight games this season and finished 4-12.
One coach allegedly on the hot seat was retained: Rex Ryan, who has one more year on his contract, is staying with the New York Jets after a surprising 8-8 record in his fifth season at the helm.
While some of the fired coaches might have seen it coming, Chudzinski certainly didn’t despite going 4-12 and losing his final seven games and 10 of 11.
“I was shocked and disappointed to hear the news that I was fired,” said Chudzinski, who grew up a Browns fan. “I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be. It was an honor to lead our players and coaches, and I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. I was more excited than ever for this team, as I know we were building a great foundation for future success.”
As the coaching searches begin, agents will float the names of their clients — Penn State’s Bill O’Brien seems to be the hottest candidate and has interviewed for Houston’s vacancy. The Texans (2-14), who own the top choice in May’s draft after losing their final 14 games, released coach Gary Kubiak on Dec. 6.
Whoever gets hired in each place will face mammoth rebuilding projects. Overall, the six teams seeking new coaches went 24-71-1.
Shanahan had one season remaining on a five-year contract worth about $7 million a season. He blamed salary-cap restraints for part of the Redskins’ collapse from NFC East champion in 2012 to 3-13 and eight consecutive losses.
Washington was hit with a $36 million salary cap penalty over two seasons for dumping salaries into the 2010 uncapped season, and Shanahan said it prevented the team from pursuing free agents it had targeted.
But his real undoing, along with the poor records in three of his four seasons, was a contentious relationship with star quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin did not speak with the media.
Frazier took over for Brad Childress in Minnesota for the final six games of 2010. He got the Vikings to the playoffs as a wild card last season, riding an MVP year from running back Adrian Peterson. But he never solved the Vikings’ quarterback situation — three QBs started in 2013 — and the defense, Frazier’s specialty, ranked 31st overall.
“It’s a harsh business,” safety Harrison Smith said. “As a player, we all love coach Frazier, as a coach, as a man. You can’t meet a better guy. And also as a player, we didn’t make enough plays on the field. So you just feel like you let him down a little bit.”
The Lions were considered an underachieving team the last two years under Schwartz. After a 6-3 start this year in a division where the Packers and Bears lost their starting quarterbacks for lengthy periods, Detroit fell apart down the stretch. It lost six of its last seven.
He had two years and almost $12 million remaining on his deal, signed after the Lions hired him to fix a team that went 0-16 in 2008.
NFL admits officials err on Chiefs’ FG
SAN DIEGO — The NFL acknowledged that referees erred in not penalizing the San Diego Chargers for an illegal formation on a missed 41-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Succop of the Kansas City Chiefs with four seconds left in regulation on Sunday.
Succop was wide right on the kick, and the Chargers went on to win 27-24 in overtime to claim the AFC’s final playoff spot. The Pittsburgh Steelers would have been in the postseason had Kansas City won the game.
San Diego lined up with seven men on one side of the snapper, and NFL rules state no more than six players can be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper.
The NFL said in a statement Monday that the penalty should have been called by referee Bill Leavy’s crew, moving the ball 5 yards closer to the end zone and giving Succop another attempt at the game-winning field goal. Succop was 15 of 16 this season from within 40 yards.
The NFL did not say whether Leavy’s crew would be disciplined.
“We misaligned on it. I’m not going to deny it,” Chargers rookie coach Mike McCoy said Monday. “But hey, those calls all balance themselves out over the year. They’re part of the game. We’re all human. … Things happen for a reason. We didn’t do it on purpose, I can tell you that.”
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin even said Monday he knew the Chargers were lined up illegally before the field-goal attempt.
“What transpired yesterday was unfortunate for our hopes moving forward. We’ll have to find a way to accept that and move forward,” Tomlin said.
• Ed Reed is unsure what his football future holds. The veteran safety would like to keep playing for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. “There’s 32 teams, man,” Reed said. “I know I’m going to be ready to play football next year.”
• Tom Coughlin is returning as Giants coach despite New York missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Giants co-owner John Mara told the 67-year-old Coughlin on Monday morning that he wants him to return for an 11th season with the team that he led to Super Bowl titles in 2008 and 20012.
• Here are Dallas owner Jerry Jones’ quick takes after the Cowboys again finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs: Jason Garrett will return, Tony Romo’s back is going to be fine and another shuffling of the defensive coaching staff could be coming.
• Miami receiver Brian Hartline has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that will not require surgery.
• Cincinnati put tight end Alex Smith (wrist) and defensive tackle Devon Still (herniated disc) on injured reserve.
• Buffalo fired receivers coach Ike Hilliard.
|Four NFL coaches were fired Monday, joining Rob Chudzinski, who was let go by Cleveland on Sunday.|
|Fired coach||Team||2013 record|
|Greg Schiano||Tampa Bay||4-12|
|Gary Kubiak||Houston||2-11; fired Dec. 6|