Del Rio, Pagano, Caldwell And Fox Handed Pink Slips; Arians Reportedly To Retire; Is Gruden In Play For Raiders?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s that time of the New Year again.

NFL teams unhappy with their results in 2017 reportedly started cleaning house Sunday night, just hours after the regular season concluded. By mid-morning Monday, at least four head coaches had been relieved of their duties and another retired, with decisions looming in a handful of other cities.

Jack Del Rio told reporters following the Raiders’ 30-10 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers that he had been fired. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Oakland (6-10) will try to lure former Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden out of the broadcast booth to take over.

Jon Gruden coaches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Del Rio said Raiders owner Mark Davis informed him of his firing after Sunday’s game.

“He told me he loved me and appreciated all I did to get this program going in the right direction, but that he felt the need to change,” Del Rio said. “I told him how much I appreciated the opportunity he gave me; very grateful, my childhood team. But it’s a results business. I understand that.”

Del Rio finished his three-year tenure in Oakland with a 25-23 record and one playoff appearance.

When asked Saturday night about the possibility that he could return, Gruden did not shoot down the reports.

When asked about the Raiders job, Gruden gave the most Gruden answer possible.

“I don’t want to sit here and speculate. … There is no news to report,” Gruden said. “I can’t say I haven’t taken any phone calls. I take a lot every year from coaches, some others. … Yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. I’m here to help people.”

The Daily News reported if Gruden does go to the Raiders he might try to recruit Jets offensive coordinator John Morton to go with him and that New York will not stand in his way.

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Hours before Del Rio was let go, Indianapolis reportedly fired Chuck Pagano. The Colts (4-12) never recovered from the shoulder injury that cost starting quarterback Andrew Luck the entire season.

Pagano went 53-45 in six seasons in Indianapolis, missing the playoffs the last three years.

On Monday, the Detroit Lions axed coach Jim Caldwell, who finished the season with a 9-7 record but missed the playoffs for the second time in three years.

Caldwell went 36-28 in four seasons with the Lions.

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Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears parted ways with John Fox, who went 14-34 in three seasons after signing a four-year deal back in 2015. The Bears finished in last place in the NFC North in each season of Fox’s tenure.

In Arizona, Bruce Arians is expected to announce his retirement, Schefter reported, citing league sources. In five seasons, Arians led the Cardinals to a 49-30-1 record. They reached the playoffs in 2013 and 2014, and he won Coach of the Year in 2014. But Arizona went just 15-16-1 over the past two seasons. Arians, 65, has also dealt with multiple health issues in recent years, including kidney cancer.

John Elway, the Denver Broncos’ president of football operations, announced Monday that coach Vance Joseph will be retained despite the team going 5-11 in his first season.

In Cincinnati, the fate of longtime Bengals coach Marvin Lewis remains uncertain. Lewis’ contract expires this month. Cincinnati went 7-9 this season and has not won a playoff game in Lewis’ 15 seasons at the helm.


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