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NFL

Packers fire two coaches

By Wire services
Published January 17, 2004

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Packers fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and tight ends coach Jeff Jagodzinski on Friday.

"It's a very difficult decision, but it's one that I felt I had to make at this time," coach and general manager Mike Sherman said. "I do feel I have to make decisions that are, I feel, in the best interests of the football team at this time."

Donatell, a 14-year coaching veteran, served as defensive coordinator since 2000, when Sherman was named coach. Donatell coached defensive backs for the Jets from 1990-94 and the Broncos from 1995-99 before joining the Packers.

"I didn't see it coming," Donatell said. "As far as coaching, I had a great time, a blast."

Jagodzinski was a college coach for 14 years before being named to Ray Rhodes' staff in 1999. He was retained as tight ends coach when Sherman succeeded Rhodes. He joined Green Bay after serving as offensive coordinator at Boston College in 1997-98.

LeBEAU REJOINS STEELERS: Dick LeBeau returned to Pittsburgh as defensive coordinator, rejecting an offer to stay on the Bills staff.

LeBeau, who ran the Steelers defense the last time the team made the Super Bowl during the 1995 season, was Buffalo's assistant head coach last season and worked with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. He took that job after being Bengals coach for nearly three seasons.

Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey said he is retaining Gray. Under Gray, the Bills defense ranked second in the league and allowed the fifth-fewest points per game.

CHARGERS HIRE PHILLIPS: Former coach Wade Phillips was named San Diego's defensive coordinator, agreeing to a two-year contract to oversee one of the league's worst defenses.

Phillips spent the past two seasons as the Falcons defensive coordinator. He was interim coach for the last three games this season after Dan Reeves was fired. Phillips went 2-1, including a 30-28 victory at Tampa Bay that knocked the defending Super Bowl champions out of the playoffs.

WALSH'S FUTURE: Bill Walsh said he's not interested in filling the Raiders coaching vacancy, but he didn't rule out joining the 49ers' cross-bay rivals as a consultant, noting he recommended a coaching candidate earlier in the day to Raiders managing general partner Al Davis.

While co-hosting a radio show, the 49ers consultant and former coach said he told Davis that Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore should receive strong consideration.

BENGALS: Former Redskins offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was named receivers coach, filling the only vacancy. Jackson replaces Alex Wood, who left Wednesday to become offensive coordinator for Dennis Green in Arizona.

BROWNS: Former Redskins defensive coordinator George Edwards was named linebackers coach. He replaces Clancy Pendergast, who became Cardinals defensive coordinator Thursday.

[Last modified January 17, 2004, 01:32:39]


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