National Football League

Romeo Crennel retires after 39 NFL seasons, 50 years of coaching

June 6

Romeo Crennel has officially retired after 50 years of coaching football, including nearly 40 seasons in the NFL.

The five-time Super Bowl champion began his coaching career at his alma mater Western Kentucky as a graduate assistant in 1970 before becoming the defensive line coach the following season. After leaving WKU, Crennel spent time at Texas Tech (1975-77), Ole Miss (1978-79) and Georgia Tech (1980). In 1981, he made the jump to the NFL as a special teams coach with the New York Giants

He worked his way up to defensive line coach in New York and won two titles before working as an assistant with the New England Patriots (1993-96, 2001-04), the New York Jets (1997-99) and the Cleveland Browns (2000). After winning three more Super Bowls as a defensive coordinator for the Pats, the Browns gave Crennel his first head-coaching opportunity in 2005. He compiled a 24-40 recover over four seasons. Crennel next became the DC for the Kansas City Chiefs (2010-11) and went 2-14 as their HC in 2012.

The longtime assistant spent the past eight seasons with the Houston Texans (2014-21), mostly serving as their DC but also as their interim head coach in 2020 and a senior advisor in 2021. Crennell went 32-63 as a head coach. His NFL career spanned 39 seasons.

Crennel was awarded with the 2020 Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman Award for lifetime achievement as an assistant coach from the Pro Football Writers of America. 

"My family and the entire Houston Texans organization would like to congratulate Romeo Crennel on his historic coaching career," Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement, per ESPN. "After 50 seasons, Romeo retires as one of the most respected figures in NFL history. His incredible resume and contributions to the game of football will be difficult to duplicate. Our organization is better because of Romeo Crennel in so many ways. He will always be a Texan, and we wish him, his wife Rosemary and his family nothing but the best in all that retirement brings."

Here's how the sports world reacted to Crennel's retirement news.


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