Green Bay Packers fire Rhodes and staff

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The Independent Online

The Green Bay Packers fired first-year coach Ray Rhodes and his entire staff after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years, a source close to the team told The Associated Press.

The Green Bay Packers fired first-year coach Ray Rhodes and his entire staff after the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years, a source close to the team told The Associated Press.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Packers will announce the firings at a press conference today.

ESPN and WFRV-TV, the CBS affiliate in Green Bay, also quoted sources reporting Rhodes' firing.

Phone calls to team president Bob Harlan and general manager Ron Wolf were not returned Sunday night. ESPN said Wolf told Rhodes of the decision hours after the Packers (8-8) learned they would not return to the playoffs despite beating Arizona 49-24.

Less than a month ago, Wolf dismissed as "ludicrous" the idea that he would fire Rhodes after his first season. Rhodes was under intense fan and media scrutiny as the Packers struggled to their worst season since 1992.

Rhodes was hired almost exactly one year ago to replace Mike Holmgren, who led the Packers to two Super Bowls and one NFL championship during the franchise's return to prominence during the 1990s. In January, Holmgren left Green Bay after seven seasons to become the coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks.

Rhodes has three years left on his four-year, dlrs 4 million contract. Though most of his staff was new to Green Bay, offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis completed his eighth season with the Packers on Sunday.

Though most of Rhodes' staff was new to Green Bay, offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis completed his eighth season with the Packers on Sunday. Along with defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas, Green Bay's staff was the first in NFL history with African-Americans in all three top positions.

Green Bay played one of its best games of the season in trouncing the Cardinals, snapping a three-game losing streak. A victory by Dallas over the New York Giants later Sunday eliminated Green Bay (8-8) from postseason contention on a conference tiebreaker.

"Everybody feels bad about the way things have gone this season," Rhodes said after the Packers were eliminated.

Rhodes was Holmgren's defensive coordinator in Green Bay for two seasons. He spent the previous four seasons as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, who fired him a year ago.

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