The New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and winless Detroit Lions fired their coaches yesterday, a day after the end of the NFL regular season. However, Dallas coach Wade Phillips retained his job after Sunday's humiliating 44-6 loss to the Eagles that deprived the Cowboys of a berth in the playoffs.

The Jets axed Eric Mangini, the Browns fired Romeo Crennel, and the Lions gave Rod Marinelli his exit after he became the first coach to go 0-16.

"I'd accept it and move on," Marinelli said about how he may be remembered. "I wouldn't give an excuse and I wouldn't give an explanation.

"You can't go 0-16 and expect to keep your job."

Mangini and Crennel saw their teams' seasons crumble from high hopes to demoralizing finishes.

Two interim coaches who breathed some life into downtrodden clubs - the St. Louis Rams' Jim Haslett and the Oakland Raiders' Tom Cable - awaited word on their fates.

Three coaches were fired during the regular season: Mike Nolan in San Francisco, Scott Linehan in St. Louis, and Lane Kiffin in Oakland.

Mike Singletary replaced Nolan and will be retained after the 49ers went 5-4 in their final nine games.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones insists that Phillips will return as coach.

Phillips vowed to do things differently.

"We know things must improve. The only way is to change things," the coach said. "To get to the standard we want, I don't see another way."

Cable went 4-8 after taking over the Raiders and ended the season with two straight victories, knocking the Buccaneers out of the playoffs. Haslett went 2-10 with the Rams.

Oakland is seeking permission to speak with New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride about its vacancy, reported.


Linebacker Bradie James confronted a fan who was standing outside the driveway to Dallas headquarters wearing a sandwich board that read "Our team has no heart" on the front and "Wade is an embarrassment to the star" on the back.

James tore the sign off the man, breaking his sunglasses. The linebacker went to his locker, got a pair of expensive shades he had been given, and returned with an apology, a handshake and a gift. Police came and left without taking any action.

"I told him, 'I share your frustrations. But where we differ is I wouldn't go to anybody's job, especially not up here with 300-pound guys, trying to tell them what they didn't do right,' " James said.


Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did not stay in a hospital overnight after suffering a concussion Sunday against Cleveland. It was not clear whether he would practice this week. The Steelers have a first-round playoff bye.


Star running back LaDainian Tomlinson was nursing a groin injury one day after San Diego won its third straight AFC West title by routing the Denver Broncos, 52-21, on Sunday night.

The Chargers became the first team to win a division with an 8-8 record since the Cleveland Browns did it in 1985.


Tampa Bay running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams suffered a patellar tendon tear in his left knee in Sunday's loss to Oakland. Williams hurt his right knee 15 months ago.

Pro Bowl moving?

The Pro Bowl will be played one week before the Super Bowl in 2010, and both games will be played at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, a person involved in the decision told the Associated Press yesterday.

The Pro Bowl has been played in Honolulu since 1980.


An extradition hearing has been scheduled for Danny Villa, a former NFL lineman and high school football coach at Walpole High in Massachusetts. He is accused of child rape.

Villa will appear in a Tucson, Ariz., courtroom Jan. 6. Massachusetts authorities will seek to have him returned to the state to face three counts of rape of a child over 14 and three counts of enticing a minor.

Villa resigned last week after school administrators said they received a credible allegation of criminal misconduct. He surrendered to authorities in his native Arizona on Saturday.

Villa played offensive line in the NFL for 12 seasons, including six with the Patriots.