Browns fire GM Savage; Crennel to meet with team Monday

Phil Savage has been fired as general manager of the Cleveland Browns after four seasons, a team official confirmed Sunday night to NFL Network's Adam Schefter.

The Browns will announce the move officially Monday, reports Schefter. It's the same day coach Romeo Crennel is scheduled to meet with team owner Randy Lerner.

Crennel is expected to be dismissed at that meeting. Crennel, who was hired shortly after Savage, is 24-40 in four seasons in Cleveland. He dropped to 0-8 against Pittsburgh after the Browns were blanked 31-0 by the Steelers in their season finale.

Savage, who joined the Browns in 2005, had four years left on a contract extension he signed in May.

Savage's ouster is the first move in what promises to be a busy offseason for Lerner.

Lerner was not happy with Savage's overall management this season, which began with the Browns expecting to make the playoffs after going 10-6 in 2007. While Savage was able to significantly upgrade Cleveland's talent during his tenure -- the Browns had six Pro Bowlers last season after having had none since 2002 -- he seemed to mishandle several situations.

First, he put added pressure on Cleveland's coaching staff by declaring the team's Week 2 matchup with the Steelers as "a critical game" and "the biggest in my time here." He also got into an ugly exchange with tight end Kellen Winslow over the player's hospitalization for a staph infection and later embarrassed the Browns by sending a profane e-mail to a fan following a win over Buffalo.

The e-mail may have been the final straw for Lerner, who is expected to make a strong push for former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Although Cowher has given no indications he's ready to return to coaching, Lerner may be able to sweeten the pot by offering him full control of Cleveland's football operations now that Savage is gone.

Lerner, too, may try to bring in New England vice president Scott Pioli to run his football operation.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report

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