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Broncos fire McDaniels as coach
Josh McDaniels is out as Denver Broncos coach, the team reported on its website Monday, and running backs coach Eric Studesville has been named interim head coach.
"My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly," Broncos president and CEO Pat Bowlen said in a statement. "I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts. In the end, I was not satisfied with the results and the direction this team was headed. The decision to make a change was extremely difficult but one that needed to be made for this organization and our fans."
The Broncos — which first announced the firing via Twitter — are 3-9 this season and have lost their past three games, dropping their last matchup 10-6 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. McDaniels, who still held his regular Monday press conference, compiled a 11-17 record in less than two full seasons.
The Broncos started last season 6-0 and have been in a tailspin ever since.
"Everyone, myself included, is accountable for our disappointing season and is now responsible for restoring the culture of winning that has been established by this franchise," Bowlen said. "Our entire organization is completely focused on returning to the level of prosperity that our fans expect and deserve from the Denver Broncos."
Studesville becomes the fourth interim head coach in team history, and the 13th head coach of the Broncos.
In his 14th season in the league, Studesville has been a running backs coach for 10 of them, guiding four individuals to a total of seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons.
"I am very appreciative of the trust that Mr. Bowlen and the entire Denver Broncos organization have shown in me," Studesville said in a statement. "Although the circumstances that this opportunity resulted from are unfortunate, I am excited to lead this football team. We have a great group of players and coaches who are committed to finishing the season on a promising note and making our fans proud of this team."
The rest of the staff, including McDaniels' brother, Ben, who tutors the quarterbacks, will stay on for the final four games.
"I am very grateful to Pat Bowlen and the Broncos organization for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of such a proud franchise," Josh McDaniels said in a statement released by the team. "I would like to thank all of the people who helped us over the last two years. I am especially appreciative of the efforts of every player, coach and member of the personnel department who worked so hard every day. I wish Pat Bowlen and the Broncos organization nothing but the best in the future."
McDaniels had signed a four-year, $8 million deal to become Denver’s head coach in January 2009. He came from the New England Patriots where he served as offensive coordinator. In addition to being the head coach, McDaniels also called the offensive players for the Broncos.
McDaniels had nearly $7 million left on his contract, and Bowlen is still on the hook for millions more he owes Mike Shanahan, whom he fired last year. That means he'll be paying three head coaches next season.
News of the firing emerged after Broncos players had dispersed for the day.
Earlier Monday, McDaniels said he was reluctant to turn to rookie quarterback Tim Tebow even though the Broncos had been eliminated from the playoff race Sunday with their seventh loss in eight games.
McDaniels, 34, made a series of personnel blunders, notably trading away Peyton Hillis, who has become a power running back in Cleveland.
He also was fined $50,000 by the NFL for failing to report a subordinate who violated league rules by videotaping a San Francisco 49ers practice in London on Oct. 30.
McDaniels might be best known for his decisions to trade quarterback Jay Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall over the past year as well as his surprising decision to select Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft.
According to The Denver Post, players went through their normal Monday conditioning run around 3 p.m. local time. McDaniels, the Post reported via Twitter, was not present for that workout.
The team indicated that an official announcement regarding McDaniels' dismissal will come Tuesday.
FOXSports.com NFL Senior Editor Nancy Gay and the Associated Press contributed to this report.