Mangini fired, Marvin Lewis' contract expires, Tom Cable likely out in Oakland, but sounds like Leslie Frazier will stay put in Minnesota.



Browns fire coach Eric Mangini
Updated: January 3, 2011, 10:38 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Cleveland Browns fired coach Eric Mangini on Monday after his second straight 5-11 season.

"This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought," Browns president Mike Holmgren said in a statement. "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. I want to thank Eric for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the best of luck in the future."

Mangini said he believes the Browns are headed in the right direction.

"I have a deep respect for the players that I have coached the past two years and how they have made a profound difference in changing the culture -- a tougher, smarter, more competitive, selfless team that never gave up," Mangini said in the statement. "Our goal was to build a team for long-term success. The core characteristics we were dedicated to, I believe, will help achieve that goal, and have provided a strong identity for this football team and have helped to create a positive foundation upon which the organization can continue to build."

The Browns ended their 2010 season with an embarrassing 41-9 home loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

In the locker room afterward, Mangini somberly thanked his players for their effort.

"He told everybody he loved them," said wide receiver Josh Cribbs. "He said just what a head coach is supposed to say. We went out there and played for him throughout the year. We tried to do what he asked us to do. He was appreciative of the opportunity that we gave him."

Although the Browns made some statistical improvements across the board, they failed to build on the momentum created by mid-season upsets of New Orleans and New England. Cleveland staggered to a 2-6 finish, losing at Buffalo and Cincinnati in that stretch -- when the Bills and Bengals had just two wins.

The Browns closed with four straight losses, one year after a season-ending four-game winning streak helped Mangini get another year.

Cleveland was much more competitive this season than last. The Browns had 12 games decided by 10 points or less, but they went just 3-9 in those. And, in a bottom-line business where record means everything, the bottom line isn't good for Mangini.

Holmgren could hire someone or appoint himself as coach.

The 62-year-old, who won a Super Bowl title with Green Bay and guided Seattle to its only title game appearance, has left open the possibility of a return to the sideline. He was hired in December 2009 by owner Randy Lerner to restore Cleveland's franchise, but Holmgren has admitted it has been tough to watch games from the press box.

He's a coach, plain and simple.

Holmgren went 161-111 in 17 seasons as an NFL head coach, making the playoffs 12 times and winning eight division titles.

If Holmgren doesn't take over, he'll have a stellar list of potential candidates to pursue, including Jon Gruden, John Fox and Marty Mornhinweg. All three have ties to Holmgren, who could be enticed back into coaching after seeing rookie quarterback Colt McCoy grow into a possible star.
Sources: Marvin Lewis wants changes
Updated: January 2, 2011, 9:02 PM ET
By Adam Schefter
ESPN

People who have spoken to Marvin Lewis say that, as much as he'd like to stay in Cincinnati as the Bengals' coach, he believes it's time to move on from his current job -- unless the team makes changes it has been unwilling to make for years.

Lewis, whose contract expires after this season, will meet with Bengals president Mike Brown on Monday.

"All I know is, officially today I'm no longer employed," Lewis said. "Where I am right now in my coaching career is a different point from where I was eight years ago, and I think this football team is a lot different than it was eight years ago, and that's good. ... We're in a good spot."

Lewis would like the Bengals to upgrade their training facilities and their player personnel department, and he is so adamant on these issues that it is the reason he declined to sign the contract extension offered him before this season.

If Cincinnati is unwilling to budge on these issues -- and there is no indication they Bengals are -- then Lewis will not return to Cincinnati next season and he will become the latest desirable coach on the open market.

The Bengals have had only two winning records and lost their two playoff games during his eight seasons. Lewis has a 60-67-1 record following Sunday's 13-7 loss at Baltimore (11-5).

The Bengals had gone 15 years between winning records when he led them to the division title in 2005. They won it again last year, and splurged on the payroll to try to win their first back-to-back division titles in franchise history.

Instead, Lewis has presided over perhaps the franchise's biggest disappointment. The Bengals tied the club record by losing 10 in a row, and receiver Terrell Owens blamed the coaching staff for the offense's troubles. Cincinnati failed to sell out the last four home games.

Should Lewis leave, the Bengals have an ideal in-house candidate in defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Sources: Tom Cable likely out as coach
Updated: January 2, 2011, 9:01 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tom Cable is unlikely to return as the Oakland Raiders' head coach in 2011, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Oakland has to decide whether to exercise the option on Cable's contract by Jan. 18.

The Raiders finished 8-8 this season despite being undefeated in the AFC West. It was their first unblemished mark in the division since 1976, but Oakland has lost four of six since a three-game winning streak put it on the cusp of the playoff picture in Week 10.

The Raiders are the first team since the 1970 merger to go unbeaten in the division and not make the playoffs.

"We are disappointed because we are not going to the playoffs, but at the same time we stuck to the goal and stuck to the plan as we have done very week, and we got our eighth win," Cable said after the Raiders beat the Chiefs 31-10 to close out their season. "I'm very happy about that."

Asked if he thinks he's coming back, Cable did answer directly.

"We're not losers anymore. We're 8 and 8," he said. "That's not what we wanted. We wanted to be a playoff team. We came here to get the sixth win, which means we went 6-0 in the division and most importantly, we are done with that losing. We are not losers anymore."

The Raiders are 17-27 since Cable became head coach, but posted their best record since 2002 in 2010-11, and this season was the first time since '02, when Oakland went to the Super Bowl, that it didn't lose at least 11 games.

Perhaps part of the problem has been Cable's wavering on the Raiders' starting quarterback. After starting the season with Jason Campbell at the helm, Cable switched to Bruce Gradkowski when Campbell struggled. After Gradkowski separated his shoulder, Cable turned back to Campbell but insisted Gradkowski was still the starter. While Campbell was under center during the Raiders' three-game midseason win streak, Cable fluctuated between both quarterbacks throughout the second half of the year until Gradkowski reinjured his shoulder and was placed on injured reserve.

Yahoo! Sports reported on Dec. 12 that Cable was upset when Hue Jackson was hired as the Raiders' offensive coordinator and that Jackson's associates are pushing him to find another job.

Jackson denied there was a rift when asked about the story days later.

"I don't know where all that stuff comes from," Jackson said. "We all here have a pretty good working relationship. I have known Tom here longer than probably anybody that's on this staff, other than Mike Waufle because I worked with those guys before. I was a little surprised by it. There's no truth to it."

Cable took over as the interim coach for Lane Kiffin four games into the 2008 season and was given the permanent job in Feb. 2009.

Oakland has had five coaches since 2003.

Report: Vikes will hire Leslie Frazier
Updated: January 2, 2011, 9:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Leslie Frazier has agreed to become the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Frazier was named Minnesota's interim coach on Nov. 22, a day after Brad Childress was fired. The Vikings are 3-3 under Frazier and the former defensive coordinator has guided the team through some major headaches in the past few weeks.

Frazier said after the Vikings' 20-13 loss Sunday that he planned to talk with ownership Sunday night or Monday.

"Nothing has been solidified," Frazier said.

The Vikings have had two games delayed by winter storms and the roof of the Metrodome collapsed under weight of snow, forcing the team to play in the University of Minnesota's open-air TCF Bank Stadium in Week 15.

Childress was fired following a 3-7 start in a season where the Vikings were predicted to be Super Bowl contenders. The franchise has endured a failed reunion with Randy Moss, numerous injuries to stars Brett Favre, Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson and Favre was recently fined $50,000 by the league for not cooperating with a nearly season-long NFL investigation into Favre's alleged contact with a former New York Jets employee.

Frazier's deal is expected to be finalized Monday or Tuesday, the paper said.