Crennel, Lewis on hot seat

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

Winning “The Battle of Ohio” means bragging rights for the players and fans. It might just mean job security for the two head coaches involved.

The Cleveland Browns’ Romeo Crennel and Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis share a lot of similarities. Both coach in the Central Division of the American Conference, both have had some trouble with player discipline, and both have their jobs hanging in the balance.

There are rumors Crennel and Lewis each bought waterbeds filled with ice in order to cool down their bodies from sitting in their respective hot seats during the day.

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Crennel is coaching a team that has made the playoffs only once since its return from the debacle of owner Art Modell who looked at the Indians new baseball stadium and said, “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us. So I’m leaving.”

Lewis has seen 10 of his players arrested since Jan. 1, 2006. At the rate the Bengals are going, he may get fired and then hired to coach the same players, only this time they will be on the Hamilton County prison team.

Crennel got rid of Reuben Droughns only to replace him with Jamal Lewis. I’m not going to describe what kind of trade that was since this is a family newspaper.

But Crennel may have lost some respect with his players by not dealing quickly and more severely with wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Bengals were only 8-8 last season with all the injuries and suspensions. The one player the Bengals can’t afford to lose is quarterback Carson Palmer who is just one year removed from a near career-ending knee injury.

No Palmer, no playoffs. And if the Bengals don’t make the playoffs, Lewis may want to bank his Christmas bonus check to cover his bills while looking for work.

Crennel and Lewis have plenty of company standing in the chopping block line. Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants may be the first in line followed by Joe Gibbs of Washington, John Fox of Carolina, Jack Del Rio of Jacksonville, Jon Gruden of Tampa Bay, and Jeff Fisher of Tennessee.

If Crennel goes, the Browns might go with an interim head coach to finish the season while talking to former Steelers coach Bill Cowher or Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel.

Jumping to the NFL and his hometown may be more attractive to Tressel if OSU president Gordon Gee carries out his public promise to dismiss players who do not follow the rules.

Ah, don’t you just love the coaching profession.