Romeo Crennel: Detroit Lions’ Matt Patricia and I are in the same category of NFL coaches

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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Jim Caldwell never had a problem addressing the precarious notion of longevity among NFL head coaches.

“This is a week-to-week business,” the former Detroit Lions coach would say with a smile.

Herm Edwards was famous for his “you play to win the game” rant, but he had an equally profound observation about coaching tenures when he once said, “We all rent the whistle.”

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Now you can add Houston Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel to the list of coaching wisdom dispensers after he chimed in on the uncertain futures facing him and Lions coach Matt Patricia.

“There’s two kinds of coaches, right?” Crennel said in a conference call Tuesday. “There are those that have been fired and there’s those that are going to get fired. And so we both fall into that category.”

As does almost every other coach who has blown a whistle, worn a headset or held a play sheet. It’s rare, especially in the NFL, for coaches to finish their tenures on their terms.

Of the NFL’s 32 current head coaches, only seven have been in their jobs since 2015. And among those, only three have never been fired: John Harbaugh, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin. Even the great Bill Belichick was once fired by the Cleveland Browns.

Crennel also was fired by the Browns and later the Kansas City Chiefs. This season he took over for Bill O’Brien, who was fired after an 0-4 start. Crennel has led the Texans to a 3-3 record since then. He said he wants to try to be above .500 in the final six games of the season and hopes to keep the Texans job.

But Crennel said he and Patricia, both former New England Patriots defensive coordinators who face off Thursday at Ford Field, aren’t about to feel sorry for themselves because they understand the realities of their chosen profession.

“We could get together and cry in the same bucket, because this is a tough business we’re in,” Crennel said. “And we know that it’s tough when we get into it. And so you put your best foot forward and try to do the very best you can and then whatever happens, happens. And then we just have to deal with it.”

Crennel also lauded Patricia for taking an unconventional route to the NFL coaching ranks after he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“But I have a lot of respect for Matt and how hard he works and what he did to become a professional coach,” Crennel said, “because he has an engineering degree and he just decided that coaching might be a better challenge for him. And so I applaud him for the decision that he made.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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