Long-time coach Romeo Crennel announces retirement

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After a half-century of coaching, Romeo Crennel announced his retirement on Monday.

"Football has been my entire life and it's been a dream come true to coach for 50 years," the 74-year-old Crennel said. "There are so many friends to thank who have helped me and supported me throughout my career.

"I especially want to thank the fans and owners of the New York Giants, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans for allowing me to contribute to the game that I have loved so much for so long.

"I'll miss everything about coaching and teaching, but the thing I'll miss the most is being around the guys every day. My goal was to put every player and coach in the best position to succeed and I consider every guy I coached or worked with a part of my family."

After a decade of coaching in college, Crennel broke into the NFL in 1981 as a special teams coach with the Giants. He later coached the Giants’ defensive line under Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, and then followed Parcells to the Patriots and Jets to coach their D-lines.

He served as the Browns defensive coordinator for one season in 2000 before taking the same job with the Patriots, where he won three Super Bowls in a four-year span.

His success in New England led to his first head coaching job with the Browns in 2005, but he was unable to replicate those achievements in Cleveland, going 24-40 in four years.

He later joined the Chiefs as their defensive coordinator before serving as their interim head coach for three games in 2011 and eventually earned the full-time job the following year. He went 2-14 in his lone season as head coach in Kansas City in 2012 before being fired.

For the past eight years, Crennel worked in various positions for the Texans, serving as the defensive coordinator, assistant head coach, interim head coach and senior advisor for football performance.

As interim head coach for 12 games in 2020 following the firing of Bill O’Brien, the then-73-year-old Crennel became the oldest person in NFL history to serve as head coach in a game.

Crennel went 4-8 in those 12 games, leaving him with a 32-63 career record. Among the 142 coaches to serve as head coach in at least 75 games, Crennel's .337 career winning percentage is the fourth lowest.

Despite a lack of success as a head coach, Crennel is considered one of the most accomplished assistants in NFL history, helping guide 17 teams to the playoffs with six conference crowns and five Super Bowl championships.

"After 50 seasons, Romeo retires as one of the most respected figures in NFL history," Texans chair and CEO Cal McNair said. "His incredible resume and contributions to the game of football will be difficult to duplicate. Romeo poured everything he had into his players and led his teams with hard work, diligence and integrity."

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