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Romeo Crennel Retires from the NFL

The longtime assistant had been with the Texans since 2014.

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Multiple outlets are reporting that Romeo Crennel is retiring from the NFL That group also includes the Houston Texans official site. The announcement wasn’t much of a surprise, but it still is a bittersweet ending to what was a long and storied career in the NFL.

Crennel began his NFL coaching career in 1981. As an assistant coach, he won rings with the New York Giants and New England Patriots as he consistently served under Bill Belichick on the defensive side of the ball. He was the defensive coordinator in New England when they won their first three Super Bowls.

He parlayed that success into two different head coaching opportunities. The Browns hired in 2005 and he managed to finish 10-6 there in 2007. While that might not appear to be any great shakes, anyone familiar with the Browns history knows how rare that kind of season was. However, he was 24-40 overall and summarily dismissed in 2008.

He took over as the interim coach in Kansas City in 2011 finishing the season 2-1. They gave him the full time gig following the season but went 6-22 the next two seasons. He was dismissed following the 2013 season and subsequently joined Bill O’Brien’s staff for the 2014 season. He did go 4-8 in the 2020 season as the interim head coach. So, his head coaching record officially comes in at 32-63.

It would be easy to write off Crennel as a failure, but he did win multiple Super Bowls as an assistant coach and the Houston defenses consistently outranked the Houston offenses while O’Brien was coach. That changed in 2020 and following the season the writing appeared to be on the wall. He served as an advisor to Lovie Smith and David Culley, but Smith has his own defensive ideas and those didn’t mesh with what Crennel typically did as a coach.

Good assistant coaches are hard to find. They are even harder to keep. The fact that Crennel was consistently involved with the Texans since 2014 is remarkable. He officially lasted longer than any of O’Brien’s other assistants and ultimately O’Brien himself. His defenses consistently performed well until the wheels came off in 2020. Buddy Ryan, Wade Phillips, Monte Kiffin, and Belichick himself likely wouldn’t have done any better with that crew.

We here at Battle Red Blog wish Romeo the best in his retirement. He spent more than 40 years in the league in different capacities and he was successful more often than not. Most of us can’t necessarily say that in our line of work. He certainly had a positive impact on a number of young players and young coaches over the years. So, his legacy will live on.