Capers' firing to be announced Monday
Time to face the music • Mike Tice was fired less than an hour after the Vikings' 34-10 win over the Bears in Sunday's regular season finale. The team announced that owner Zygi Wilf would not renew Tice's contract. Tice had already addressed the media before the move was made public. • St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz, away from the job since early October as he received treatment for a bacterial infection of a heart valve, had his contract terminated Monday. Still to be determined is whether Martz's termination will take the form of a contract settlement or an outright firing, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. • Texans coach Dom Capers will be fired on Monday, league and team sources told Mortensen. Capers is the only coach the expansion Texans have had during their four-year existence. Houston was 17-45 record under Capers, the 45th loss being a 20-17 overtime defeat in San Francisco that guaranteed the Texans the top pick in the 2006 draft. • Dick Vermeil went out with a win Sunday, retiring as coach of the Chiefs following a 37-3 dismantling of the Bengals. Kansas City became only the fourth team to go 10-6 and miss the postseason since the NFL expanded the field to 12 teams after the 1990 season. The Steelers' win over the Lions preventing the Chiefs from qualifying. • The Raiders fired Norv Turner Tuesday following consecutive losing seasons. The 53-year-old Turner, who had a year remaining on his contract worth about $1.75 million, had known his job was in jeopardy for the last two months after struggling to get the most out of a stacked offense. The Raiders went 4-12 -- one fewer win than they had in Turner's first season a year ago -- losing their final six games and eight of nine. • Coach Mike Sherman is uncertain of his future after the Packers finished an injury-riddled season at 4-12 Sunday. Packers GM Ted Thompson gave Sherman a two-year contract extension in August. But as injuries and losses have mounted this season, Thompson has sidestepped questions about Sherman's status.
On Monday, he will have been fired by both of them after a fourth season.
The Texans plan to fire Capers, but will retain general manager Charley Casserly.
Capers, 55, was let go by the Carolina Panthers in 1998.
The Texans are widely expected to make the announcement Monday. The team lost Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers to finish the season 2-14, the worst record in the NFL and the worst record in the Texans' history.
When asked about his status after the game, Capers said: "Those decisions are beyond my control. I always tell the players to focus on the things you can control."
But he added that the team's woeful season has been "extremely difficult."
"You don't want to have years like this," Capers said. "I told the guys, you have to learn from this."
The Texans did not immediately return a call from the AP on Sunday night, but following the game team owner Bob McNair said he would "make some announcements [Monday] of where we're going in the future."
While team consultant Dan Reeves wouldn't mind becoming the Texans' next coach, McNair will look closely at offensive coordinators like Denver's Gary Kubiak and San Diego's Cam Cameron, with Iowa's Kirk Ferentz likely on the radar of teams who have or will have openings, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports.
McNair made it clear when hiring Reeves that Reeves was not interviewing to be coach of the Texans, nor was he brought in to critique Capers or Casserly.
"He's here as a resource to assist me as we go forward and to assist the other people in our organization to help us be a better team," McNair said.
McNair said he hired Reeves to get an outside opinion of his organization and that he would spend time talking with coaches, watching practice and reviewing game film.
Upon joining the Texans, Reeves wouldn't rule out the possibility of returning to coaching ("Never is a bad word to say") but said he wasn't actively looking for a sideline job.
Capers' plan for bringing along the Texans slowly and building for future success worked well until this season. The Texans won seven games last season after winning five in 2003 and four in their first season.
Houston opened this season 0-6 before beating Cleveland and then losing six more. The Texans got a win over the Arizona Cardinals and then lost their last two games. They own the top pick in April's draft.
SportsNation on Capers
SportsNation put Dom Capers on the hot seat from Week 1. His approval rating never rose above 28 percent all season. Even after the Texans' first win of the season in Week 8 over the Browns, only 21 percent of Texans fans gave Capers a vote of approval. After the final week of the season, Capers had a 23 percent rating. (Vote)
Capers, who has one year remaining on his five-year Texans contract worth $9.5 million, was hailed as an expansion wizard after leading Carolina to seven wins in its first season and the NFC title game in the team's second year in 1996. The feat earned him NFL Coach of the Year honors.
Things went downhill from there and Capers was fired after the Panthers went 4-12 in 1998. When the Texans hired him in 2001, he said he hoped fans would be patient as they slowly built the program after he failed in Carolina following early success.
"You have to be careful and stay with your step-by-step program," Capers told the AP in 2001. "Then, you have to have the courage to stick with it and not sacrifice the future for the quick fix."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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