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Three NFL Teams Fire Their Head Coaches

Updated:
Dave Campo is out, along with Tom Coughlin and Dick LeBeau.

Meanwhile, Bill Parcells seems just about ready to take Campo's place in Dallas.

Campo was fired by Jerry Jones on Monday after three straight 5-11 seasons, as much, perhaps, Jones' fault as it was the fault of his coach. The Cowboys' owner, after all, is also the general manager and he assembled the talent _ or what passed for it _ that caused the demise of America's team.

So Jones changed his mind about control, enough so that Parcells, winner of two Super Bowls with the Giants and an AFC title with the Patriots, seems to be considering becoming Dallas' new coach.

If nothing else, it will be Parcell's first NFL coaching job outside of the Northeast _ he also coached the Jets and began his pro career as linebackers coach with New England more than two decades ago.

None of the firings were unexpected.

Jones spent 11 hours in two separate meetings with Parcells over the last 10 days. The Dallas Morning News reported on its Web site that Parcells and the Cowboys had agreed to a four-year deal at $4.5 million a year. ESPN, the network for which Parcells works as an NFL analyst, reported that there was no deal yet.

LeBeau's dismissal in Cincinnati probably won't bring a sudden turnaround for the NFL's worst franchise. The team hasn't had a winning record since going 9-7 in 1990 and winning the AFC Central title. LeBeau went 12-33 in three seasons, but team president Mike Brown said he wouldn't change the front-office structure.

Coughlin had served as coach and general manager during all eight years of the Jaguars' existence. He went 72-64 and twice took Jacksonville to the AFC championship game, but the Jags went 19-29 the past three years.

The firing with the most ramifications is Campo's, largely because the Cowboys are a high-profile team and because of Jones' approach to Parcells.

That is somewhat complicated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' demand for compensation if Dallas hires Parcells. The Bucs contend that Parcells signed a contract with them last year before backing out at the last minute.

The NFL said it is studying the merits of that claim.

``This change is more about a change in philosophy, not about what Dave didn't do,'' Jones said of Campo.

That philosophical change presumably would take Jones out of the coaching equation and off the sideline, where he often watches during games. Jones also has served as his own general manager and has made most of the personnel decisions.

Parcells doesn't seem likely to tolerate that.

In Cincinnati, the philosophy is staying the same. Brown was asked whether he intended to bring in a GM to run the team.

``I've considered many things,'' he replied. ``Do I intend to do that? No, I do not.''

Brown's stand probably will cause a number of potential head coaches to turn down the job. Brown has kept many of the same assistants in place since Sam Wyche left, meaning the hiring options are limited for any new coach.

``There's a point in this business where you have to say, `We need innovative new ideas, new fresh approaches, and we have to move in a different direction,''' Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said. ``And that's what this is all about.''

What it's also all about is attendance.

Ticket sales have declined precipitously in Jacksonville, after the early success turned to mediocrity and then losing. Last winter, Coughlin was enlisted to take part in a sales campaign, but his dour personality wasn't suited to that.

It also alienated some of his players.

``After listening to the same thing over and over, you can have a tendency to shut it out,'' cornerback Jason Craft said Monday.

There are probably more changes to come around the league.

Seattle coach Mike Holmgren was meeting with team officials and may be forced to let go of his dual duties as general manager and coach. He also might have to fire some defensive assistants.

In Detroit, owner William Clay Ford was considering whether to keep team president Matt Millen and coach Marty Mornhinweg or fire one. The team is 5-27 in the two seasons they have been in charge.
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