The Cleveland Browns' housecleaning continued Monday as the NFL club fired head coach Romeo Crennel.
The move came one day after the Browns, who went 4-12 this season, gave general manager Phil Savage his walking papers.
Crennel wasn't the only NFL coach to lose his job Monday — the New York Jets dismissed Eric Mangini, and the Detroit Lions parted ways with Rod Marinelli.
"Romeo was a gentleman through and through," said Browns owner Randy , who met with the coach Monday morning. "He was gracious to a fault."
The Browns sported a 24-40 record during Crennel's four-season tenure in charge of the team. Injuries and sloppy play on defence and offence resulted in the team losing their last six games. Cleveland also lost at least 10 games for the fifth time in six seasons.
Crennel still had three years left on his contract after he signed an extension in January. The contract extension was a reward for leading the Browns to 10-6 record last season and just missing out on the playoffs.
Lerner said he met Saturday with Bill Cowher, but the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach told him he has no intention of returning to coaching in 2009.
"The explanation that he gave," Lerner said, "was that he was very focused on his kids and his life in North Carolina, and the way he's living in a non-coaching or, if you will, a civilian existence and that he wasn't finished with that."
Lerner said he asked the New England Patriots for permission to interview vice-president Scott Pioli for the Browns' GM opening.
Lerner also said Patriots offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels was on his list of coaching candidates and he will likely contact Mangini about the position.
New York started the season with an 8-3 record under veteran quarterback Brett Favre, but finished at 9-7 after losing four of their final five games, failing to make the playoffs when it appeared they would head into the post-season as one of the AFC's top seeds.
The Jets were 23-26 in three seasons under Mangini.
"For the current New York Jets organization, we've made the decision to move on," owner Woody Johnson said at a news conference Monday morning. "It's a judgment call."
Under Marinelli, the Lions became the first team in NFL history to finish the season with an 0-16 record. Detroit completed its winless campaign with a loss to Green Bay on Sunday, eclipsing Tampa Bay's 1976 season of 0-14 as the league's worst.
"You can't go 0-16 and expect to keep your job," Marinelli said at a news conference.
Marinelli won only one of his last 24 games and was 10-38 during his three years as coach of the Lions.With files from Associated Press