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Coughlin steps down after 12 years

AP

With the New York Giants facing a difficult decision on his coaching future after four straight years out of the playoffs, Tom Coughlin walked away gracefully, doing what was best for him.

The Giants gave him 12 years to run one of the NFL’s flagship organizations. He delivered two Super Bowls and restored the franchise to the league’s elite for a while.

It was mutually beneficial, and so was the departure Monday when the 69-year-old Coughlin resigned rather than force co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch to fire him.

The Giants announced the decision one day after the Giants (6-10) capped their third straight losing season with a 35-30 defeat against Philadelphia, their third in a row and sixth in seven games.

“I met with (owners) John Mara and Steve Tisch this afternoon, and I informed them that it is in the best interest of the organization that I step down as head coach,” Coughlin said in a statement. “I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and . . . the Giants organization.”

The move may signal the end of a 20-year NFL head coaching career for Coughlin, one of 13 coaches to win multiple Super Bowls. It also may not. Coughlin loves to coach and if the right job popped up, who knows?

“It is difficult to come up with words adequate to describe the appreciation we have for everything Tom Coughlin has done for our franchise,” Mara said.

“In addition to delivering two Super Bowl titles, Tom represented us with class and dignity, and restored the pride to our entire organization. He has all the qualities you could ever ask for in a head coach, and set very high standards for whoever will succeed him.”

Coughlin, Tisch, Mara and general manager Jerry Reese planned to hold a news conference Tuesday morning.

The league’s oldest active coach and third-longest tenured among the 32 who finished the season, Coughlin came into 2015 knowing he had to get the Giants back to the postseason to keep his job. It didn’t happen because the Giants lost six games either in the final 1:14 of regulation or in overtime.

“Obviously, the past three years have not been what any of us expect, and as head coach, I accept the responsibility for those seasons,” he said.

Where the Giants go from here is uncertain. They have traditionally hired from within or gotten someone with NFL coaching experience. A college coach would be a reach, especially a high-profile one who would want too much control.

Colts keep Pagano

Indianapolis AP

A personal with knowledge of the contract told AP on Monday night the Indianapolis Colts have given coach Chuck Pagano a contract extension.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not officially announced the extension. The team called a 10:30 p.m. news conference.

Pagano led the Colts to the playoffs in his first three seasons in charge, advancing one step further each year, losing in the 2014 AFC championship game. But plagued by injuries, including to star quarterback Andrew Luck, Indianapolis went 8-8 this season as Houston won the AFC South.

The 55-year-old coach’s job appeared to be in jeopardy, but he and team owner Jim Irsay spent most of Monday meeting, and the deal was reached.

49ers retain Baalke

Santa Clara California AP

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York is retaining Trent Baalke with the idea that the general manager will hire a new coach and turn around this once-proud franchise in a hurry.

York made the announcement that Baalke would stay Monday, one day after firing first-year coach Jim Tomsula after a 19-16 overtime victory against the St. Louis Rams.

“Trent understands that I’m not satisfied with the current state of this team. Trent’s role is to find the next head coach and continue to build this roster and get us back to championship form,” York said in his first public remarks to the media this season. “Trent has the skills to do this and get this done. He’s built championship rosters in the past. He’s got respect from folks around the league and his peers.”

San Francisco went 5-11 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season after going 8-8 a year ago in now-Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s fourth and final season before what the team called a “mutual” parting.

“I think it’s well understood what effort we made to keep him here,” York said.

Harbaugh went to Twitter on Sunday night after Tomsula’s firing with a post reading: “Do not be deceived. You will reap what you sow.”