BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Eric Mangini, one day after a 41-9 home loss to Pittsburgh completed a second straight 5-11 season.
"The experience coaching the Cleveland Browns the past two years has been tremendous," Mangini said in a statement released by the team. "I feel strongly that the Cleveland Browns are headed in a very positive direction and greatly value the commitment and exceptional efforts of the coaches, players and everyone in the building that I've worked with in trying to help achieve our goals."
Mangini was hired before the 2009 season, but his job security came into question later that year when general manager George Kokinis was fired and Mike Holmgren was brought in to run the football operations.
The Browns were just 1-7 when Kokinis was dumped in November 2009, leaving Mangini's status in doubt. When Holmgren took over in December, speculation grew that he would bring in his own coach or return to the sideline himself. The Browns, though, won their final four games in 2009 and Holmgren gave Mangini another chance.
This year's squad opened with three losses and was 1-4 before rookie Colt McCoy was given an opportunity at quarterback. The Browns then won four of their next seven games, including victories over New Orleans and New England, but unlike last year, they sputtered down the stretch with four straight losses to end the season.
"This decision was not easy for me, and it was one into which I put a great deal of thought," said Holmgren in a statement. "Although we have made improvements this season, my responsibility is to ensure that we establish a program that will allow this team to compete at a championship level. That will continue to be our goal in everything we do. I want to thank Eric for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns, and wish him and his family the best of luck in the future."
Before taking over in Cleveland, Mangini spent three years as head coach of the New York Jets and guided the club to a record of 23-25 with one playoff appearance. He was dubbed the "Manginious" after leading the Jets to a mark of 10-6 with a wild card berth in his first year of 2006, but the club stumbled to 4-12 the following year and was off to an 8-3 start with Brett Favre as quarterback in 2008 before a 1-4 finish left New York out of the playoffs and Mangini out of a job.
The Browns have not made the playoffs since the 2002 campaign and have had just two winning seasons since returning to the NFL in 1999 after a three-year absence following the original franchise's move to Baltimore.
Holmgren, who guided Green Bay to a Super Bowl victory and Seattle to the Super Bowl as a coach, has not ruled out a return to the sideline.
"I was hired to be the president of the Cleveland Browns," Holmgren said at a news conference Monday when asked if he would consider himself as coach. "I think this year I've grown into the job. Having said that, I am also a coach and will always be a coach. To tell you right now that I would never coach again -- here or any place -- wouldn't be honest. But as of right now, my job is to find the best coach available for this job. That's what I'm trying to do. And that does not include me right now.
"I probably won't coach again. But I won't rule anything out."
Holmgren added that he has already reached out to a few candidates, but would not divulge any names.