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Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

The answer is not in Cleveland, and not with any NFL franchise, at least not for this coming season.

At 61 (almost 62) years old, Romeo is taking some time off following his recent hip replacement surgery.

Crennel has been a coach in the NFL for decades. He has participated in six Super Bowls, winning five times.

In the 1980s and the early 1990s, Crennel was with his long-time friend, Bill Parcells, and the New York Giants, first as the special teams coach and then as the defensive line coach. Romeo knew Parcells from their days together at Texas Tech in the mid-1970s. Crennel was reunited with Parcells with the New England Patriots (as the defensive line coach from 1993-1996) and then with the New York Jets (as the defensive line coach from 1997-1999).

Crennel spent five seasons (2000-2004) with another long-time friend, Bill Belichick. Romeo was the defensive coordinator with the Browns in 2000 and then filled the same role with the Pats from 2001 to 2004.

In 2003, Crennel interviewed with five teams for the head coach position (Giants, Bills, Cards, Bears and Falcons), however, he was not offered the job by any of them.

In four seasons with the Browns from 2005 to 2008, Crennel had a losing record every year except 2007 (10-6) and an overall record of 24 wins and 40 losses. The Team never made the playoffs. He was fired by Browns owner, Randy Lerner, on December 29, 2008 after winning just 4 games and finishing last in the AFC North division.

New Browns head coach, Eric Mangini, initially proclaimed that he would like to keep Romeo as defensive coordinator, and Crennel said he would stay. That obviously did not happen, as Mangini quickly brought in his own personnel to fill the coaching positions.

There were other teams with serious interest in Crennel given his extensive coaching experience and his in-depth knowledge on the defensive side of the football, including the Kansas City Chiefs. It is unknown whether any formal offers were ever made. In any event, Romeo recently announced that he would not coach anywhere this year in order to take some time for himself and his family and to recover from his hip replacement surgery.

Interestingly, when Crennel got the job in Cleveland as head coach, his defensive coordinator position in New England was assumed by Eric Mangini.

Although Romeo has always been a gentleman on and off the field, and although he has impeccable experience, and notwithstanding that he cannot be blamed for much of the collapse of the Browns in 2008, we believe that it is better for him not to be involved with the Browns this season. Mangini needs a clean slate. The environment that Eric is trying to bring to the Team is so diametrically opposite to the more relaxed, "country club" atmosphere that prevailed under Crennel that having Romeo around would serve as a distraction. We need to move forward and forget about the former regime. And we need at this juncture a man at the helm whose talents are not so limited to defensive football.

We wish Romeo well.

Go Browns!


Devo's Cleveland Browns

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