JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Now that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel owns a share of a third Super Bowl title in four seasons with the Patriots, he's ready to embark on a new challenge.
Crennel, courted by Cleveland before the playoffs began, has accepted the Browns' offer to be their new head coach. His agent will travel to Cleveland on Monday to begin contract negotiations.
As the Patriots celebrated their latest Super Bowl win, Crennel said he was thrilled the Browns called with their offer.
"It felt real good," The Associated Press quoted him as saying. "I've been in this business for a little while. I've always been told if you work hard and you're good at what you do, you'll get an opportunity to move up."
Joe Linta, Crennel's agent, told The Associated Press that Browns president John Collins called him "about
two minutes" after the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles to
offer Crennel his first head coaching job.
"He has accepted, pending us working out a contract," Linta
told the AP. "Hopefully, we can get it done
quickly and he can begin putting together a staff."
Linta said he'll be on a 6:30 a.m. Monday flight to Cleveland
and will go straight to the team's headquarters in suburban Berea
to begin contract talks.
Browns owner Randy Lerner will be in Cleveland on Wednesday, the expected day of Crennel's introductory news conference. It is believed that Crennel, who at 57 will become one of the oldest coordinators of this era to earn his first head-coaching job, will seek a five-year contract.
Crennel will be one of a record six black head coaches in the league in 2005. He has been an assistant in the NFL since 1981 and a coordinator for six seasons.
Linta told the he will seek a five- or six-year deal for Crennel.
"He's not like most first-time coaches," Linta said. "He's a
guy with more credentials. Although he hasn't been a head coach, he
has five Super Bowl rings. The Browns aren't just getting a coach.
They're buying into a program. They are getting 25 years of
experience and knowledge."
Given the fait accompli assumptions on Crennel's hiring over the past week or more, attention in some quarters has turned to who he will hire as coordinators. League sources have confirmed the various reports that current Cowboys offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon will move to Cleveland in the same capacity. Crennel is expected to pursue current Patriots secondary coach Eric Mangini for the defensive coordinator spot, but will have competition from several teams for Mangini.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.