ESPN - Mike Mularkey has agreed to part ways with the Tennessee Titans, who announced Monday that the sides “couldn’t come to an agreement over the future.”
Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk acknowledged in a statement that the organization had discussed a potential contract extension with Mularkey, who this year coached Tennessee to its first postseason appearance since 2008.
But the talks revealed that Mularkey and the Titans “saw different paths to achieve greater success,” according to Adams Strunk. General manager Jon Robinson is expected to address the decision during a news conference later Monday.
The Titans were open to extending Mularkey, whose current contract runs through 2018, but they wanted to make changes to his coaching staff, sources told ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe.
“It is certainly unfortunate that we couldn’t find enough common ground,” Adams Strunk said. “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. Jon will begin the search immediately to identify that person.”
Mularkey, 56, went 20-21 in parts of three seasons with the Titans and guided Tennessee to back-to-back 9-7 records in his two years as the team’s full-time coach.
The Titans ended an eight-year postseason drought and won a playoff game for the first time since 2003 with their 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round earlier this month.
But Tennessee was eliminated Saturday with a 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots.
“I want to thank Mike Mularkey for his contributions to our franchise over his tenure with our organization,” Adams Strunk said in Monday’s statement. “He took over our team during a low moment and together with Jon built a solid foundation for our franchise. I appreciated that Mike devoted himself to this team and the community.”
Adams Strunk had publicly supported Mularkey just over a week ago, saying in a Jan. 7 statement that “to eliminate any distractions moving forward, Mike Mularkey is our head coach and will be our head coach moving forward.”
That vote of confidence was prompted by widespread speculation about Mularkey’s future — a situation that Mularkey called “ridiculous” after Tennessee rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Kansas City on Jan. 6.
The Titans are the first NFL team in 15 years to change head coaches after a season in which they won a playoff game. The San Francisco 49ers fired Steve Mariucci in 2002 after they beat the New York Giants in the wild-card round and lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the next week.