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Titans fire Mike Mularkey after discussing contract extension


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Titans head coach Mike Mularkey and quarterback Marcus Mariota talk about their 35 to 14 loss against the New England Patriots in their AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium.
George Walker IV / The Tennessean

The Titans fired coach Mike Mularkey on Monday morning after discussions about a contract extension soured, the team announced Monday.

General manager Jon Robinson will conduct a search for a new head coach. Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is at the top of the list, given their long history working together in New England.

► More: Titans’ task: Fix the offense, because the AFC South isn’t waiting for them

Robinson will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

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I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization,” Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a written statement on the team website. “He took over our team during a low moment and together with Jon 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.

“It is certainly unfortunate that we couldn’t find enough common ground. I generally believe that continuity is the best path for success, but I also view this as an important moment for our football team as we try to make that next step to sustained success on the field. Jon will begin the search immediately to identify that person.”

► More: Mike Mularkey, Titans part ways: The reaction on social media

Mularkey was entering the final year of a three-year contract. He had a 21-22 record with the Titans since taking over for Ken Whisenhunt with nine games remaining in 2015.

The Titans finished with a 9-7 regular-season record for the second consecutive season, reached the playoffs for the first time in nine years and won a postseason game for the first time in 14 years, rallying from an 18-point deficit to stun the Chiefs, 22-21, in a wild card game in Kansas City.

The Titans lost to the Patriots, 35-14, in the divisional round Saturday night in Foxborough, Mass.

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But the season largely fell short of expectations, in and outside of the team’s headquarters.

A late-season three-game losing streak caused the Titans to squand an opportunity to win the AFC South.

Franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota regressed in several major offensive categories, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.

And running back DeMarco Murray, who led the AFC in rushing yards in 2016, had the worst season of his career.

During his season-ending press conference Sunday, Mularkey praised offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, said he was pleased with Mariota’s development and that he expected no changes to his coaching staff for the 2018 season.

The Titans will need to wait until the Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs or win the Super Bowl to conduct an initial interview with McDaniels, or any other assistant coach whose team is still playing.

Reach Jason Wolf at jwolf@tennessean.com and follow him on Twitter at @JasonWolf and on Instagram and Snapchat at TitansBeat.

 



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