CLEVELAND -- Sam Rutigliano, fired Monday as coach of the Cleveland Browns, plans to spend a few months considering his career but probably will return to coaching.
Rutigliano, who posted a 47-50 record in 6 seasons with the Browns, was replaced by defensive coordinator Marty Schottenheimer following Sunday's 12-9 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns hold a 1-7 record.
The announcement came at a news conference, featuring Browns owner Art Modell, Rutigliano and Schottenheimer.
Rutigliano, noted for his humor, was unusually subdued but displayed no bitterness.
'Let's look at it as a fresh start,' Rutiligiano said. 'Today I've become the No. 1 fan of the Cleveland Browns. I think I was treated fairly.'
Modell said he will honor the last 4 years remaining on Rutigliano's contract and hoped he would move into the front office.
But Rutigliano deferred making any immediate plans.
'I have a daughter who is a senior in high school and I'll be visiting colleges with her,' he said. 'And, very frankly, take the opportunity to reflect and sort some things out in my own mind, look at some options and have the time to evaluate what would be the best direction for me to go.'
As a comic aside, he added, 'And to start to read the newspapers' in reference to the some of the lately heated news conferences over reports about the Browns problems.
Rutigliano, who has coached at the high school, college and pro levels, indicated he probably will return to coaching.
'I'm a football coach,' he said. 'I've been a football coach all my life and probably that is what I would like to do, but I would like some time to reflect on that.'
Rutigliano started with the Browns in 1978 and took the club to an 8-8 season in his first year. He followed with a 9-7 record in 1979, 11-5 in 1980, 5-11 in 1981, 4-5 in 1982 and 9-7 last year.
He was named UPI's Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1980. In 1980, the Browns won the AFC Central Division but were knocked out of the playoffs by the Raiders on a last-second interception. The Browns made the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1982 season before being manhandled by the Raiders.