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Mike Mularkey, Titans mutually agree to part ways

The Tennessee Titans are breaking up with Mike Mularkey.

The team and coach parted ways on Monday after failing to come to an agreement about their future together, the Titansannounced on their website.

"I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization," Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk wrote in a statement. "He took over our team during a low moment and together with [general manager] Jon [Robinson] built a solid foundation for our franchise."

Strunk stated that "we did discuss extending [Mularkey's] 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's fair to wonder if those "different paths" were rooted in the future of an offense that flatlined for much of this season before finally coming to life in Tennessee's wild-card win over the Chiefs.

While Mularkey's "Exotic Smashmouth" offered moments of great potential in 2016, the attack devolved into an identity-free mess this past autumn and gave the team no shot to compete in Saturday night's divisional-round thrashing by the Patriots.

"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," Strunk said. "Jon will begin the search immediately to identify that person."

Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Robinson said the decision to part ways was made Monday morning and that "a lot of factors" were involved.

"I felt like we needed to go in a different direction and maximize the skill sets of the players on the field," Robinson said. "This is an attractive job ... we'll talk to candidates who we believe will move this team forward."

Chalk it up as the final note in a confusing, see-sawing song and dance between Mularkey and the Titans, with the relationship ending hours after reports emerged suggesting the coach was about to receive an extension -- and just one week after the franchise strongly backed Mularkey following the win over Kansas City.

Mularkey filed back-to-back 9-7 campaigns, but the hyper-ugly Patriots loss did nothing to help his case.

As for who they'll be targeting in their head coaching search, look for Robinson to heat-seek an offensive-minded coach who can develop this young roster and unleash Tennessee's full potential.

Whoever they choose, the Titans aren't wasting time on getting their search started -- they've already reached out to the Texans to request an interview with defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, per Rapoport. They're also interested in talking with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to Rapoport.

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