Denver Broncos fire McDaniels |

Denver Broncos fire McDaniels

Arnie Stapleton/The Associated Press

Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels paces the sidelines during the final minutes of the Broncos' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, 10-6, on Sunday at Arrowhead in Kansas City, Mo. McDaniels was fired Monday in the midst of the franchise's worst skid in four decades.

The Denver Broncos wanted Josh McDaniels to bring the New England Patriots' winning ways with him to the Rocky Mountains when they hired Bill Belichick's brash, young disciple 22 months ago.

What they got instead was the ash-gray hoodie and their very own videotaping scandal to go with a pile of losses and personnel blunders that cost him his job not even halfway through his four-year contract.

McDaniels was fired Mon­day in the midst of the franchise's worst skid in four decades.

Running backs coach Eric Studes­­­ville will serve as interim coach for the final month, succeeding McDaniels, 34, whose hiring by team owner Pat Bowlen in January 2009 now is viewed as a big mistake.

"My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly. I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts," Bowlen said in a statement after firing McDaniels with two years left on his contract.

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"In the end, I was not satisfied with the results and the direction this team was headed. The decision to make a change was extremely difficult but one that needed to be made for this organization and our fans," Bowlen added. "Everyone, myself incl­uded, is accountable for our disappointing season and is now responsible for restoring the culture of winning that has been established by this franchise. Our entire organization is completely focused on returning to the level of prosperity that our fans expect and deserve from the Denver Broncos."

Players didn't know about McDaniels' firing when they left team headquarters after a conditioning run ended at 3 p.m. Shortly after that, McDaniels was called into Bowlen's office and fired. McDaniels then met with his assistants. He didn't return a message left by the AP seeking comment.

The rest of his staff, including McDaniels' brother, Ben, who tutors the quarterbacks, will stay on for the final four games.

At his weekly news conference four hours before he was let go, McDaniels reiterated that he wasn't focused on his job being in jeopardy.

Studesville and chief operating officer Joe Ellis will meet with the media today. There was no word on whether McDaniels would hold a farewell news conference.

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