'Black Monday' comes early for fired coaches
The annual NFL bloodletting in the coaching ranks right after the regular season ends arrived Sunday.
"Black Monday" usually sees the biggest coaching upheaval in the league, but the Browns and 49ers didn't even sleep on their decisions.
Hours after a 28-12 loss to the rival Steelers in the season finale, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam fired coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after consecutive losing seasons under them.
Pettine went 10-22 in two years, dropping 18 of his final 21 games after a promising 7-4 start in 2014. Haslam's vow at the start of training camp not to "blow things up" changed on the heels of a 3-13 season.
"We greatly appreciate Ray's and Mike's dedication and hard work while with the Cleveland Browns," said Haslam, who owns the team along with his wife, Dee. "…We are all disappointed with where we are and we take full responsibility.
Meanwhile, the 49ers fired coach Jim Tomsula after one season in charge. He was an assistant for eight years with the organization.
"Jimmy has been a valuable member of the 49ers organization for the last nine years," CEO Jed York said. "We all know he is a man of high character, and his contributions on the field and in our community have always been greatly appreciated."
This year, three teams — the Titans (Ken Whisenhunt), Dolphins (Joe Philbin) and Eagles (Chip Kelly) — didn't even wait for the season to end to make changes. Fox Sports reported Sunday that Miami isn't going to keep interim coach Dan Campbell either.
Sean Payton of the Saints, Chuck Pagano, of the Colts and Mike McCoy of the Chargers could be in danger too, according to reports.
Meanwhile, the Titans are leaning toward keeping interim coach Mike Mularkey, ESPN reported.
Johnny Blackjack?: The Browns did not comment on a report that polarizing QB Johnny Manziel, who sat out Sunday's loss after sustaining a concussion last week, went to Las Vegas on Saturday. USA Today quoted an employee and patron who said they saw Manziel at Planet Hollywood. The report said he ate at a restaurant in the casino and sat at a blackjack table. Typically, players with concussions are sensitive to noise, light and are encouraged to rest as they recover. The Browns do not require concussed players to be at the stadium for home games.
L.A. sweepstakes: Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said he expects at least one team to be play in Los Angeles next season, but declined to speculate whether the Raiders, Chargers or Rams are the leading candidate. The three are expected to file for relocation today. Hunt is part of a six-man committee of league owners that will meet to discuss relocation plans. The other owners will meet to review their findings the following week, and could decide whether one or two teams will move for the 2016 season.
Jets: DT Muhammad Wilkerson broke his lower right leg and will need surgery.
Steelers: RB DeAngelo Williams left after an opposing player rolled up on his lower right leg while making a tackle.
Texans: LT Duane Brown was carted after injuring his right knee in the first quarter.