(Reuters) - Pat Shurmur became the first coaching casualty on what has become known around the National Football League as Black Monday when he was sacked by the Cleveland Browns just hours after the regular season had concluded.
The 5-11 Browns, who closed out the season on Sunday with a 24-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, were among the first teams to begin house cleaning by announcing Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert had both been relieved of their duties.
"We felt that these moves were in the best interests of the Cleveland Browns and our future," said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam in a statement on the team's website.
"I enjoyed getting to know Tom and Pat over the past several months, and want to thank them, not just for their contributions to the Browns, but also the insight they were able to provide.
"They are both fine men and hope they have the best of success as they move forward with their careers."
Black Monday began with the Jacksonville Jaguars announcing they had fired general manager Gene Smith and was quickly followed by the New York Jets dumping GM Mike Tannenbaum.
The Jets, however, ended the speculation swirling around Rex Ryan by confirming the under-fire head coach would be back next season.
"Rex Ryan will remain the head coach of our football team. I believe that he has the passion, the talent, and the drive to successfully lead our team," said Jets owner Woody Johnson on the team's website.
After a tumultuous 6-10 season, overshadowed by a quarterbacking controversy around the use of incumbent Mark Sanchez and polarizing Tim Tebow, Ryan was widely expected to pay for the Jets under-achieving results with his job.
With Ryan back for next season the speculation will now center on the futures of Sanchez and Tebow in New York.
The Jets sputtering offense ranked 30th among 32 teams, generating an average of just 299 yards per game.
Changes had been expected in Jacksonville after the toothless Jaguars finished the season tied with Kansas City Chiefs for the NFL's worst record (2-14).
"Now it is time for the Jacksonville Jaguars to begin a new chapter," Khan said in a statement. "We're not looking back.
"I've made it clear from Day One that we pledge nothing less than to deliver the first Super Bowl championship to Jacksonville.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at: http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp