Cowboys hire ex-Browns coach Palmer

Updated: January 30, 2006, 6:38 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Former Cleveland Browns head coach Chris Palmer, who most recently served as the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator, has agreed to join the Dallas Cowboys' staff.

Palmer, who agreed to a two-year contract, will be the team's quarterbacks coach. Ostensibly, he replaces assistant head coach/passing game coordinator Sean Payton, who left Dallas two weeks ago to become the New Orleans Saints head coach. It is expected that Palmer will have major input into the passing game but anticipated that coach Bill Parcells likely will resume play-calling duty.

Dallas is not expected to have an assistant with the title of offensive coordinator.

The status of David Lee, who coached Dallas' quarterbacks last season, is not clear. Lee remains under contract. The Cowboys said remaining hires would be announced later; another job still open is linebackers coach after former Oklahoma coach Gary Gibbs became Payton's defensive coordinator on the Saints.

Palmer, 56, will be reunited with quarterback Drew Bledsoe, with whom he worked four seasons (1993-96) with the New England Patriots. It will also be the second time in his career that Palmer will serve on a Bill Parcells-led staff. In addition, he will work closely with current Cowboys running game coordinator Tony Sparano, whom he coached in college at New Haven.

Recently, Palmer met with Payton about the Saints' offensive coordinator position, and spoke to New York Jets officials about a similar job.

Despite having been dismissed by the Texans during the first month of the 2005 season, Palmer, a 15-year NFL veteran, is a highly respected passing game designer. He began his professional coaching career in the CFL in 1993, and also worked in the USFL before joining the Houston Oilers' staff in 1990.

He spent three seasons with the Oilers, and his résumé includes stops at New England (1993-96), Jacksonville (1997-98), Cleveland (1999-2000) and the Texans (2002-2005). He was the coach of the expansion Browns and compiled a 5-27 record in two years.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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