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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fox Official: Fired; What It Means For Assistants

Jerry Richardson announced today that John Fox and staff would not return.

It's not a new suggestion - Fox has been in contract dispute since 2008, has had significant turnover on staff since, and more recently has been in conflict with GM Marty Hurney.

But the firing of all the assistants - none of which were technically under contract anyway - is more a sign of what's to come.

In the past, new staffs here included holdovers - Richard Williamson stayed with Fox in 2002, and George Seifert inherited four offensive coaches in 1999. This makes the job more attractive, in theory, to someone who might have a staff already.

So, who already has a staff? Certainly not assistant coaches - it's very rare in this league you can get promoted to head coach with a new team and take teammates with you. It wouldn't impact former head coaches who haven't been coaching, since they don't currently employ assistants.

So, obviously, it's a move you'd imagine would involve guys who are head coaches already.

Or, Jeff Fisher and Jim Harbaugh, each of which have viable NFL assistants on board already.

It also doesn't mean the team won't want to keep some current assistants - Brian Baker, for instance, shows promise, and the team would be interested in others if it fit the coach's philosophy.

But, for now, it looks like the idea might be to get established quickly. If the team wants to attract Andrew Luck (and who knows if they do), having a friendly staff (or lacking Harbaugh as an option, just a complete, winning staff) would go a long way.

And, with plenty of pending Panther free agents, it's clearly time to see who will fit (and be asked to stay) so negotiations can begin.
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