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Former Browns, Chiefs, Texans HC Romeo Crennel Retires After 50-Year Coaching Career

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Longtime NFL coach Romeo Crennel announced his retirement Monday.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Romeo Crennel announced his retirement on Monday after 50 years of coaching. pic.twitter.com/8aknsYewXy

Crennel, 74, spent four seasons as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns (2005-08). He also served as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 after finishing the previous season as the team’s interim head coach, and he coached the Houston Texans for 12 games on an interim basis in 2020. He accumulated a 32-63 record in those stops.

“Football has been my entire life and it’s been a dream come true to coach for 50 years,” he wrote in his statement. “There are so many friends to thank who have helped me and supported me throughout my career.”

Crennel’s long NFL coaching career featured a number of stops:

  • New York Giants: Special teams and defensive assistant (1981-82), special teams coach (1983-89), defensive line coach (1990-92)
  • New England Patriots: Defensive line coach (1993-96), defensive coordinator (2001-04)

  • New York Jets: Defensive line coach (1997-99)
  • Browns: Defensive coordinator (2000)

  • Chiefs: Defensive coordinator (2010-12)
  • Texans: Defensive coordinator (2014-16, 2018-19), assistant head coach (2017-20)

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Romeo Crennel coached on 17 playoff teams that won 13 division titles, six conference titles and five Super Bowl victories with the Giants and Patriots. He helped the Texans win 4 division titles in 5 years and 2 playoff games. He also was head coach at Cleveland and KC.

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Not only is Romeo Crennel one of the greatest defensive coaches in NFL history, he’s a first-class guy respected by everyone who’s known him. It was an honor to cover him in his eight seasons with the Texans.

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Of all the coaches I covered in more than 4 decades writing about the NFL for the Chronicle, I never met a better man than Romeo Crennel. Good luck in retirement RAC!

Brian T. Smith @ChronBrianSmith

Another thing about Romeo Crennel: During several of the most chaotic years in Texans history, he was always a pro’s pro and took the time to say hello, answer a Q, etc.

Seth Wickersham @SethWickersham

We always hear how players love their coaches, but with RAC, it’s actually true.

Texans chair and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement:

“My family and the entire Houston Texans organization would like to congratulate Romeo Crennel on his historic coaching career. 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. Romeo poured everything he had into his players and led his teams with hard work, diligence and integrity. He has impacted and influenced so many players, coaches and staff members over the last five decades and we’re honored he spent the last eight seasons with us. 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.”

Before his NFL career, Crennel spent 11 years in the college game as an assistant at Western Kentucky (1970-74), Texas Tech (1975-77), Mississippi State (1978-79) and Georgia Tech (1980).

When Crennel took over as the Texans’ interim head coach in 2020 at age 73, he became the oldest head coach in an NFL game.

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