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What's next for the NFL's seven fired coaches?

Black Monday marked an unhappy conclusion to 2012 for the seven NFL coaches who were sent packing as teams look toward the future. Let's take a peek at what's next for these fallen leaders:

Lovie Smith

Exiled by the Chicago Bears, Smith is certain to attract interest in head-coaching searches. The Bears ran out of patience with Lovie, but his 81-63 regular-season record over nine years boasts one Super Bowl appearance and just three losing seasons. His inability to fix lingering issues on offense might be seen as a red flag.
Next stop: Smith should have no problem finding work. A fresh start might do wonders.

Andy Reid

Reid's like that shaky friend who's coming out of a long-term relationship. He has shown he can commit, but there's baggage. Reid might benefit from a Jeff Fisher-esque year-in-the-wilderness, but he appears determined to forge on. He left the Philadelphia Eagles in a rough place, but that doesn't obscure the Super Bowl appearance and nine playoff seasons.
Next stop: What you see is what you get with Reid. That should be enough to make him a hot candidate as teams reorganize.

Ken Whisenhunt

The Whiz crashed and burned in the desert, spinning a cautionary tale about going into battle without anything resembling a functioning quarterback. The Cardinals correctly diagnosed GM Rod Graves as a part of the problem, but Whisenhunt is culpable for a team that regressed sharply post-Kurt Warner.
Next stop: Whiz finished 45-51 in Arizona but lost 10 of his last 11 games and seemed to drift this season. Forgiving teams looking for a veteran coach might bite, but Whiz also makes sense as an offensive coordinator.

Norv Turner

Turner's dismissal in San Diego comes with a silver lining. The Dallas Cowboys reportedly are looking for a play-calling offensive coordinator. Turner was lashed by Chargers fans, but he remains a talented offensive mind who might do wonders with Tony Romo.
Next stop: Norval Eugene will be heavily pursued as an OC. If Big D doesn't pan out, what about helping to re-imagine that steaming disaster in Florham Park?

Chan Gailey

Gailey drove Buffalo Bills fans nuts with his backfield-by-committee approach, but he also deserves credit for turning C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson into weapons. The Bills were a mess at times, but they were an intriguing (sometimes explosive) mess. Gailey works well with mobile quarterbacks and could be a nice fit for a team looking to break away from a vanilla scheme.
Next stop: Gailey will earn looks at the coordinator level, but head coach seems out of the picture.

Pat Shurmur

Shurmur endured a treacherous situation in Cleveland with class. He inherited a talent-poor roster without a proven passer in a division that feasts annually on the Browns. His team played hard until the bitter end, but Shurmur's next steps are hazy. He spent two seasons as an offensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams, but his play-calling never will be described as cutting-edge.
Next stop: Quarterbacks coach or college-level head coach.

Romeo Crennel

Crennel is the classic better-as-a-coordinator guy. The Kansas City Chiefs were lured into making him Todd Haley's replacement because players love him and he has a lifetime of experience running defenses.
Next stop: Crennel might have spent his last chips as an NFL head coach, but this is a tight fraternity. The beloved Crennel will be back -- unless he just wants to watch the snow fall.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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