The Buffalo Bills promoted coordinator Perry Fewell to take over as interim head coach after Dick Jauron was fired Tuesday.
Owner Ralph Wilson ran out of patience with Jauron, who ran out of time to build a contender or come up with a way to fix an offense that sputtered even with the addition of Terrell Owens.
The shakeup, which caught some players by surprise, came during the players’ day off and after the Bills (3-6) stumbled out of their off week with a 41-17 loss at Tennessee on Sunday.
Fewell is in his 12th NFL season, and fourth with Buffalo as the team’s defensive coordinator, after being hired by Jauron.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The Bills held a news conference later Tuesday.
Fewell is the team’s fifth head coach since Wade Phillips was fired after the 2000 season, and the team’s first black head coach. Wilson credited Fewell for having done “a great job with our defense and demonstrated excellent leadership skills.” Wilson added that Bills players and staff have confidence in Fewell.
Fewell, who’s never been a head coach at any level, will make his debut Sunday when the Bills play at Jacksonville.
Wilson described his decision to change coaches as a difficult one, but one “for the best interest of our team.”
“I really don’t have anything to say,” was all Jauron would say when reached on his cell phone by The Associated Press.
The Bills are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the 10th straight year. The Buffalo defense has been credited for keeping the Bills competitive, but the offense has been inept, averaging just over 15 points a game.
Fewell made no guarantees.
“We are who we are,” he said, adding he would wait until today to announce whether quarterback Trent Edwards or backup Ryan Fitzpatrick will start this weekend. “We have that identity. We’re going to try to give a little spark, but we are who we are.”
Jauron has been on the hot seat ever since last season, after he led the Bills to their third consecutive 7-9 finish.
Chiefs’ Bowe suspended
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City’s third-year wide receiver, was suspended without pay for four games for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing substances.
Bowe’s agent, Todd France, said his client was guilty only of taking a weight loss supplement.
An e-mail from the agent said Bowe apologizes to the organization, his teammates and fans.
Neither the Chiefs nor the league would comment.
Bowe leads the Chiefs with 33 catches, but also infuriated his coaches at times with dropped passes and key mistakes.
Brown out for Panthers
Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown will miss Thursday’s game at Carolina because of an injured right foot, and his status for the rest of the regular season is uncertain.
The Dolphins’ leading rusher was to see a specialist for further evaluation, coach Tony Sparano said. Brown was hurt in Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay.
Ricky Williams will replace Brown and start for the first time this season.
Ravens release kicker
The Baltimore Ravens cut kicker Steve Hauschka, who missed a 36-yard field goal and had a conversion blocked in Monday’s 16-0 win over Cleveland.
No replacement was immediately chosen. Former New York Jets kicker Mike Nugent and former Dallas Cowboys kicker Billy Cundiff worked out for the Ravens last week.
Hauschka won the job from Graham Gano in training camp, but he missed four field goals in nine games, including a potential winning 44-yarder against Minnesota and key 38-yarder against Cincinnati.
Backup linebacker Arnold Harrison was waived, the first player to lose his job after the Steelers allowed three kickoff return touchdowns in four games. Donovan Woods was promoted from the practice squad. ... Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs spent several hours at the Cleveland Clinic undergoing tests after being flattened by Ravens defensive end Dwan Edwards on the last play of Baltimore’s 16-0 win on Monday. Coach Eric Mangini was optimistic Cribbs will play on Sunday in Detroit. ... Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will visit two concussion specialists – neuropsychologist Mark R. Lovell and neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon – in Pittsburgh today. Westbrook sustained his second concussion in three weeks in Sunday’s loss to San Diego. ... Steelers safety Troy Polamalu is “questionable at best,” but hasn’t been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Kansas City despite injuring his left knee for the second time this season. However, he likely will miss one game and attempt to return for the game at Baltimore on Nov. 29. Polamalu strained a posterior cruciate ligament tackling the Bengals’ Cedric Benson on Sunday. ...
Reality TV star Tila Tequila filed a lawsuit against Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman alleging domestic violence, and reportedly is seeking $1.5 million in damages. Merriman was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 6 after Tequila – whose real name is Tila Ngyuen – signed a citizen’s arrest warrant accusing him of battery and false imprisonment at his suburban San Diego home. Merriman was never charged. ... Former Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after he was accused of punching a man outside a downtown nightclub in Cleveland last month. Edwards, who has since been traded to the Jets, was arraigned in Cleveland on Tuesday. ... The Bengals released tight end Ben Utecht and receiver Antonio Chatman, both of whom were out for the season with injuries, and signed safety Brannon Condren to their practice squad. ... The Buccaneers reinstated guard Arron Sears to the team from the reserve/did not report list. Sears has not been with the team since offseason workouts because of personal reasons.