Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis resigned on Tuesday, leaving a last-place team with five games left in a sinking season filled with close losses and costly injuries.
The Browns lost their fifth straight game on Sunday, 58-48 at Cincinnati. The team went 24-36 and made the playoffs just once in Davis' four seasons as head coach.
Davis left with three years remaining on a contract worth about US$12 million. Browns president John Collins said the team worked out a financial buyout with Davis, but did not reveal any details of the settlement.
Collins said he was surprised when Davis' agent, Marvin Demoff, informed the team on Monday of Davis' intention to resign.
"This was Butch's decision," said Collins.
Davis had total control of all football decisions with Cleveland, and Collins said the Browns will immediately begin a search for a general manager before they hire a new coach.
Offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie will coach the Browns for the rest of the season. His first game won't be an easy one: The Browns host the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sunday.
The Browns, 3-8 this year, have 13 players on injured reserve, including six starters.