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Coaching Carousel: Shanahan firing coming Sunday?

The SportsXchange

Mike Shanahan is expected to be fired, and the ax could fall as early as Sunday night.

The Washington Post reported that Shanahan would "definitely" be fired. He has one season remaining on the five-year, $35 million contract he signed in 2009. Owner Daniel Snyder is reportedly planning to withhold most or all of the $7 million remaining on Shanahan's deal, citing "breach of contract."

Per the Post, Shanahan's recourse would come in the form of a grievance.

After the surprising 10-6 record and postseason appearance in 2012, the Redskins retained 21 of 22 starters during the offseason. Their only important loss was Pro Bowl special teams coverage ace Lorenzo Alexander. But Washington tied a franchise record with a seven-game losing streak entering Week 17.

It was the first time in Shanahan's head-coaching career his team had more than 11 losses.

The Redskins were without a first-round draft pick this year and will be without one the next two years thanks to the trade with St. Louis for the 2012 No. 2 overall pick that became Robert Griffin III.

Washington's offense became stagnant with Griffin appearing to be playing at less than full strength. He was shut down for the season after the 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, a decision Shanahan said he made after consulting Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen, but not offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Kyle Shanahan, who is Mike Shanahan's son, openly questioned the decision and lobbied for RGIII to take snaps that could make a major impact in his third-year development.

In a season that set records for scoring around the league, Washington scored 28-plus points just twice -- in victories over the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers.

--Rob Chudzinski's return to Cleveland could be short-lived.

According to multiple reports, the Browns and Chudzinski, a first-year head coach who was previously an assistant coach with the franchise, could move in opposite directions. Cleveland was 4-11 entering Week 17.

The Browns issued a statement in the middle of the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Steelers.

"Our focus is on the game today. We will not discuss any evaluation of the season until this upcoming week," the statement read.

Dan Pompei reported signs of Chudzinski's demise were becoming more evident.

NFL Network followed that report with word that unaccountable players and Chudzinski's indecisiveness in key game situations led to team president Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Mike Lombardi and owner Jimmy Haslam to consider making the change just one year into the coach's contract.

The Boston Globe reported Sunday afternoon that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is likely to be the list of candidates to replace Chudzinski if the Browns make a move.

--Penn State's Bill O'Brien emerged as the favorite to replace Gary Kubiak in Houston, but Texans owner Bob McNair is moving forward with multiple interviews with other candidates this week, a source told The Sports Xchange on Saturday night.

In O'Brien's case, money is an issue. Although Penn State reduced his buyout from $19.33 million to about $6.48 million, the coach and the NFL team are seeking common ground on salary, according to the source, who added that a deal may be close.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle first reported Saturday that interviews with other candidates are scheduled next week.

"The process continues," McNair told McClain. "We have other interviews scheduled next week. It isn't over."

The Texans have already interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith and current interim head coach Wade Phillips. McNair said on Dec. 19 that the Texans were not interested in Mike Shanahan, who could be jettisoned by the Washington Redskins but worked as the boss of Rick Smith in Denver. Smith is the current general manager in Houston.

After ESPN reported that O'Brien was close to signing, he told his Penn State recruits that he was still on board there, which is what coaches in that situation always say.

Before coaching the Nittany Lions, O'Brien was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots for six years and the offensive coordinator when they lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.

O'Brien, 44, went 7-5 in his second season as Penn State's coach. He was named Big Ten coach of the year in 2012. He is rebuilding the Nittany Lions since the school was hit with sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.

O'Brien interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns head coaching jobs last offseason. Penn State made it easier for O'Brien to leave for the NFL by reducing the buyout teams would have to pay the school for hiring him. There have been recent talks of reducing the NFL buyout even more.

Houston fired Gary Kubiak as head coach earlier this month.
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