Originally published Monday, January 2, 2012 at 8:16 PM

St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire coaches | NFL

Two NFL coaches were fired at the end of their third seasons — St. Louis' Steve Spagnuolo and Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris.

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Let the coaching changes begin.

The St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the latest teams to fire their coaches, bringing to five the number of league franchises looking for the right man for the job.

The Rams fired coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney on Monday, and about an hour later the Bucs fired coach Raheem Morris and his staff.

Both were first-time coaches who lasted three seasons. Spagnuolo exits with a 10-38 record; Morris with a 17-31 mark.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said he hasn't decided whether to retain Jim Caldwell after the team finished 2-14 without injured quarterback Peyton Manning in the lineup. Irsay did dismiss the father-son team of vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian.

The Jacksonville Jaguars started the coaching carousel by firing Jack Del Rio on Nov. 29; two weeks later, the Miami Dolphins fired Tony Sparano and the Kansas City Chiefs dismissed Todd Haley.

And the search is on, especially in Florida, where all three NFL teams will have new coaches next season.

The Jaguars, with new owner Shahid Khan taking charge Wednesday, reportedly have received permission to interview three offensive coordinators for their coaching vacancy — Brian Schottenheimer of the New York Jets, Mike Mularkey of the Atlanta Falcons and Rob Chudzinski of the Carolina Panthers.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said he and owner Stephen Ross have begun their search. Interim coach Todd Bowles is a longshot, and a front-runner has yet to surface.

The Chiefs went 2-1 under interim coach Romeo Crennel, including a victory over the Green Bay Packers. Several Kansas City players have campaigned for Crennel to be hired.

The Rams finished a 2-14 season with a 34-27 loss to San Francisco, and could be interested in former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher or ex-Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, who is an ESPN analyst.

Morris, 35, was viewed as a rising star in the coaching ranks after the Bucs won 10 games last season and narrowly missed the playoffs. But his team lost its last 10 games and finished 4-12 this season.

In San Diego, Chargers coach Norv Turner said he knows a decision on his future is being made by team president Dean Spanos and will be announced in a matter of days. Turner said he would be "excited" to return to the Chargers for his sixth season because he thinks they "can go do some great things."

Whether he gets the chance is up to Spanos, who also is deciding whether general manager A.J. Smith returns.

It appears Buffalo coach Chan Gailey will be back. On Monday, Gailey fired defensive coordinator George Edwards and replaced him with assistant head coach Dave Wannstedt.

Source: Mendenhall

to miss playoffs

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers' potentially long road through the AFC playoffs reportedly won't include running back Rashard Mendenhall

A person familiar with the injury said Mendenhall tore a ligament in his right knee in Sunday's 13-9 victory in Cleveland and will require surgery, knocking him out of the postseason. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not made an official comment on Mendenhall.

Isaac Redman and rookie John Clay are the only healthy backs on the Steelers' roster.

Pittsburgh plays a wild-card game against the Broncos on Sunday in Denver.


• Indianapolis has the No. 1 pick in the draft, which starts April 26 in New York. The next six teams, in order, are St. Louis, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington and Jacksonville.

• Coach Jim Harbaugh has told San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith the team plans to re-sign him beyond this season.

Smith, a standout at Utah who was the first player drafted in 2005, received a $4.9 million, one-year contract as a free agent in July after the lockout — when many, including Smith himself, figured he would be headed elsewhere. Smith has thrived under first-year coach Harbaugh, a former pro quarterback and Stanford coach.

• The New York Jets (8-8), who played in the AFC Championship Game the past two seasons, failed to make the playoffs this time.

"I don't think I had the pulse of our team the way I've done in the past," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Jets linebacker Bart Scott wasn't eager to discuss a report that he likely won't be back next season.

"All I know is, I've got a guaranteed contract for $4 million," Scott said.

Scott then directed an expletive at a photographer and stuck out his middle finger, adding, "Take a picture of this."

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