NFL continues to fire coaches

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

The Associated Press

Almost as soon as the St. Louis Rams announced Monday that Mike Martz was out as head coach, they asked the Chicago Bears for permission to talk to Ron Rivera, their defensive coordinator.

Same thing in Houston: the Texans fired Dom Capers and asked Denver for permission to talk to offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

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Such is the way of the NFL. If there’s a ‘‘hot’’ coaching prospect out there, try to get to him as soon as possible before the competition grabs him.

Four coaches were let go on ‘‘Black Monday,’’ the day after the regular season ends and the traditional day for firing coaches. Martz, Capers, Mike Sherman of Green Bay and Jim Haslett of New Orleans were canned.

They join Mike Tice of Minnesota, fired after the Vikings’ final game on Sunday, and Dick Vermeil of Kansas City, who retired Sunday at the age of 69. With the firing of Detroit’s Steve Mariucci in November, that brings to seven the number of vacancies, with the prospect of one more — Norv Turner of Oakland, who could learn his fate Tuesday.

That’s not an unusual number, especially since there were just three new coaches this season. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, an average of 5.9 jobs per year opened up.

None of the firings were surprises.

Haslett’s job has been in question most of the season as the Saints, who finished 3-13, went through a chaotic period in which the team was driven from its home by Hurricane Katrina; settled in San Antonio; and played ‘‘home’’ games in three different stadiums, including its opener at Giants Stadium, home of its opponent, the New York Giants.