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Source: Crennel Takes Browns Coaching Job

February 7, 2005

CLEVELAND (AP) _ New England defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel accepted an offer to be the Cleveland Browns’ new coach, a team source told The Associated Press shortly after Sunday night’s Super Bowl.

Crennel’s agent, Joe Linta, is expected to arrive at the team’s headquarters in suburban Berea on Monday to begin negotiations, said the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

As long as talks go well, the Browns will introduce Crennel as their 11th full-time coach _ and first black coach _ in team history on Tuesday.

The Browns’ Web site also reported Crennel had accepted the job.

Crennel’s move to Cleveland is no surprise. It had been expected for weeks, and was only delayed because the Browns weren’t allowed to have contact with the 24-year NFL coaching veteran while the Patriots were still playing.

New England’s season ended Sunday when the Patriots seized a place among the great dynasties in NFL history by beating Philadelphia 24-21 for their second straight title and third in four years.

The Browns are hoping Crennel can bring them back to glory, but there’s much work to be done.

The 57-year-old Crennel, who began his pro coaching career on Ray Perkins’ staff with the New York Giants in 1981, will be Cleveland’s third coach since 1999, when the Browns returned to the league as an expansion team.

Since then, the club has gone just 30-67 and lost its only playoff game in 2002.

This will be Crennel’s second stint with the Browns. He served as their defensive coordinator in 2000 under Chris Palmer, who was fired after going just 5-27 in two years. In Crennel’s one season in charge of Cleveland’s defense, the Browns recorded 42 sacks _ a 17-sack improvement over the previous year.

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