The Oakland Raiders fired coach Norv Turner yesterday after consecutive losing seasons in which the team managed only one victory in its division.
Turner, 53, who had a year remaining on his contract worth about $1.75 million, had known his job was in jeopardy for the past two months after struggling to get the most out of star receiver Randy Moss and an offense that also included quarterback Kerry Collins, receiver Jerry Porter and running back LaMont Jordan (Maryland).
Oakland lost its final six games and eight of nine to finish 4-12 and with one fewer victory than Turner produced in his first season. The Raiders have strung together three straight losing seasons for the first time since Al Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team.
"We want to win. The Raider fans deserve it, the Raider players deserve it, even my organization deserves it," Davis said. "You have to win and you have to win with a vision for the Super Bowl. That's our passion here.
"I just didn't feel the fit was right, and I think he agreed with me."
Turner's firing leaves eight coaching vacancies in the NFL.
Detroit fired Steve Mariucci in November and Kansas City's Dick Vermeil retired Sunday. Other coaches who have been fired include Mike Martz of St. Louis, Jim Haslett of New Orleans, Mike Tice of Minnesota, Mike Sherman of Green Bay and Dom Capers of Houston.
Names that have surfaced as potential successors to Turner are Martz, Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel, Ravens quarterbacks coach Rick Neuheisel, former Raiders coach and current NFL vice president Art Shell, and Fresno State coach Pat Hill, a former Ravens assistant.
Browns -- Club president John Collins resigned, ending a late-season power struggle in the team's front office that nearly led to the firing of general manager Phil Savage. Owner Randy Lerner said in a statement that Savage and coach Romeo Crennel will remain in their current roles. Lerner said he will assume Collins' duties until a new president is hired. Savage, the Ravens' former college scouting director, is considered one of the NFL's top talent evaluators. In other Browns news, rookie wide receiver Braylon Edwards had successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee and faces months of rehabilitation.
Saints -- The club was given permission to interview New York Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson for its head coaching vacancy, a source told the Associated Press. Henderson, 48, a former Ravens assistant, has been with the Jets for two seasons.
Lions -- The club has contacted Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary about its vacant coaching job. Asked if he thought he was ready to be an NFL head coach, Singletary said, "Absolutely." Singletary, currently an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers, was the Ravens' linebackers coach in 2003 and 2004.
Rams -- Joe Vitt, who served as interim coach for the last 11 games of the season, has checked into a hospital for treatment of a lingering staph infection. Vitt, 51, a former Towson State linebacker and Baltimore Colts assistant coach, was hospitalized for two days in August because of the infection and went back in Monday night.