01-05-2005, 09:53 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Antonio, TX
Crennel fielding ALL calls
Patriots' Crennel is taking any and all calls these days
01:00 AM EST on Wednesday, January 5, 2005
BY SHALISE MANZA YOUNG
Journal Sports Writer
FOXBORO -- New England Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has made no secret that he would like to be a head coach in the NFL -- sooner rather than later.
For who knows what reason -- maybe his age (he turned 57 last June), race, or lack of experience on offense, perhaps the perception that he's merely a puppet carrying out head coach Bill Belichick's defensive creations -- Crennel hasn't gotten a head-coaching job despite several interviews in recent years.
It's not because of a lack of desire, however.
Crennel and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis -- whose name also was on teams' short lists in recent years and finally gets his chance at his alma mater, Notre Dame -- were made available to the media on Monday, which happens only a couple of times a season.
Asked whether he'd like to hear from Cleveland, which as of yesterday was the only team with a head-coaching vacancy, Crennel said, "Yes, I would."
"Anyone that comes along or becomes available, I'd like to hear from. At this point, Cleveland is the only (job) that's available. If they call and ask permission, I'd be more than willing to talk."
The Browns asked for and received permission to talk to Crennel about their head job yesterday.
Under NFL rules, Cleveland -- and any other team that might come calling -- can hold one interview with Crennel this week -- the team's bye week. Any other interviews must wait until New England's season ends.
This year, despite a number of injuries on defense, the Patriots had the seventh-ranked defense in the AFC. Last year, during another 14-2 season, they gave up a league-low and franchise-record 14.9 points per game.
In the past, it has been the team's success that has been a factor in Crennel and Weis not getting jobs. Team owners and general managers are so eager to fill a head-coaching spot, they won't wait until after the Super Bowl to hire a coach.
At this point, Crennel isn't picky. He said Monday he'd consider a head job at the college level, like Weis, and wouldn't demand to be coach and general manager, like some NFL head coaches do.
"If (a college opportunity) came up, I would definitely consider that and take a hard look at that," Crennel said. "Anytime that people are interested in me, I think that's a positive, and so if a college came along and my family and I decided that's for us, then we would do that."
Crennel said being a head coach in the NFL is difficult enough without the added duties that come with being GM. But if he had success, he added, he might think about adding the GM hat down the road.
Of course, he has to get a job first.
Crennel has been the defensive coordinator in New England for the last four years, and held the same job at Cleveland in 2000. A former defensive lineman at Western Kentucky, he has spent nearly his entire coaching career -- starting at WKU in 1970 -- on the defensive side of the ball, except for a few years when he coached special teams for the Giants.
Last year, Crennel had several interviews crammed into a two- or three-day period during New England's bye week, giving him little time to adquately prepare for each one.
Crennel said he learned from those interviews, and feels teams got what they wanted.
"In those interviews, what they (wanted) to know was who is Romeo Crennel? I think when they left they felt better about Romeo Crennel than they did coming in," he said.
Crennel said he "would hope" that his age is not a factor in a team's hiring decision, and that he doesn't feel he was a token interview last year (NFL rules stipulate that teams must interview at least one minority candidate in a head-coaching search).
"I don't think that was the case for me last year," he said. "Like I said, all those people who I talked to, I think they genuinely wanted to know who I was and what I was about. I had a good feeling after those interviews."