Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports11:48a.m. EST January 10, 20130 CommentsShare
Make that eight NFL head coaches fired this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Thursday they've fired Mike Mularkey after only one season in which he coached a depleted roster to a 2-14 record. It's the first move of new general manager Dave Caldwell's tenure, which began earlier this week.
Mularkey had two years remaining on a three-year contract.
"I know Mike well and do not want anyone to misinterpret the rationale behind my decision," Caldwell, who was with Mularkey in Atlanta the past few years, said in the team's press release.
"Mike is an excellent coach and I am sure he will succeed in his next stop in the NFL. However, I must do what I believe is best for the Jacksonville Jaguars and immediately explore every avenue possible to turn our football team around.
"For that to happen as seamlessly as we want, and as quickly as our fans deserve, I feel it is in everyone's best interests for an immediate and clean restart."
A person informed of the talks between Jaguars owner Shad Khan and Mularkey immediately following the season said Khan told Mularkey he understands the coach wasn't dealt the best hand talent-wise this past season. The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the conversations weren't to be discussed publicly, said Khan also talked to Mularkey about potential improvements in 2013.
But Khan never publicly stated Mularkey would be back and clearly left the decision up to his new GM.
"Mike Mularkey is leaving our organization with my utmost respect," Khan said in the press release. "Mike gave the Jaguars everything he had on and off the field, and his efforts as our head coach will always be appreciated. Mike will land on his feet soon. Until then, I wish nothing but the best for Mike and his family."
There's been heavy speculation already Caldwell will tab his former college roommate Greg Roman as his next coach. Roman, currently the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator, cannot be hired until the Niners' postseason run is over.
There will be speculation about Mularkey's next move as well, with the New York Jets among the teams that currently need an offensive coordinator.
Mularkey has been on the move plenty of late. After a nice, long run as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996-2003, he became head coach of the Bills for two seasons before resigning in January 2006. He was the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator the following season before being bumped down to tight ends coach when head coach Cam Cameron took full control of the offense and the play calling.
Then, it was on to the Atlanta Falcons, where Mularkey was the team's offensive coordinator for four seasons before being hired by the Jaguars.