Titans Part Ways with Mike Mularkey After Failing to Agree on Future

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2018

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Mularkey during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec.10, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Mike Mularkey's three-year tenure as head coach of the Tennessee Titans has come to an end after he was fired Monday.

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement:

"I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization," "He took over our team during a low moment and together with [general manager] Jon [Robinson] built a solid foundation for our franchise. I appreciated that Mike devoted himself to this team and the community.

"In fact, we did discuss extending his future with our team over the past week, but in those discussions about the direction of the team, it became evident that we saw different paths to achieve greater success."

At a Monday press conference, general manager Jon Robinson said the decision was made the morning of his firing and that Mularkey's comments Sunday about keeping his coaching staff in place played a part the move.

The firing comes after the Titans' season ended in a 35-14 playoff loss to the New England Patriots.

After joining the organization as a tight ends coach in 2014, Mularkey was named the Titans' interim head coach midway through the 2015 season when Ken Whisenhunt was fired following a 1-6 start.

The Titans took the interim label off Mularkey in January 2016, as Strunk said at the time he was the right person to lead the franchise back to prominence in the AFC. The Titans won the conference in 1999 and the AFC South in 2002 and 2008 while also making the playoffs in 2003 and 2007.  

"Mike is a quality coach and an outstanding person who will help us build this team the right way," she told reporters. "He has experience as a head coach and a track record for developing young quarterbacks and dynamic offenses, and he also brings continuity for our franchise quarterback."

Strunk also said the turnaround "may take time" because of the state of Tennessee's roster after a 3-13 performance in 2015. Things turned quickly as the Titans went 9-7 in 2016, their first winning season in five years.

With expectations raised after that winning season, the Titans' 9-7 record in 2017 was a disappointment, even though they managed to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round.

The first order of business for the next head coach will be fixing quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mularkey's squad lost handily to the Patriots, but he did help set a solid foundation that his successor can build on in 2018.

As for Mularkey's future, Rapoport noted the Cleveland Browns could be a "landing spot" as the team's offensive coordinator.

Given Mularkey's extensive NFL coaching resume, which goes back to 1994, he should be able to land on his feet as soon as he wants to get back into it.

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