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Josh McDaniels fired by Broncos

FILE-This Sept. 26, 2010 file photo shows Denver

FILE-This Sept. 26, 2010 file photo shows Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Denver. The Denver Broncos have fired McDaniels. Monday Dec. 6, 2010. There was no immediate word on who will succeed McDaniels. (AP Photo/ Barry Gutierrez,File ) Credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez

Josh McDaniels, who went just 5-17 after winning his first six games as head coach in Denver, was fired by the Broncos on Monday. Running backs coach Eric Studesville will serve as interim coach.

In addition to the team's struggles, McDaniels was broiled in controversy over Spygate II, as the Broncos were caught videotaping the 49ers' walkthrough in London.

He was also responsible for trading Jay Cutler and Peyton Hillis, two players succeeding in their new homes.

"My decision to relieve Josh McDaniels as head coach was not taken lightly," said Denver owner Pat Bowlen. "I will always be appreciative of his passion, enthusiasm and hard work, and I thank him for his efforts.

"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. 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 left team headquarters at about 3 p.m. today, and McDaniels met with Bowlen shortly thereafter. The 34-year old McDaniels did not return a message from the Associated Press seeking comment. McDaniels still has $7 million remaining on his contract, and the Broncos are also still paying Mike Shanahan, meaning they'll be on the hook for three head coaches.

"I'm not worried about that," McDaniels said at a morning news conference when asked about his job status. "I'm going to coach as hard as I can because that is my job and that's somebody else's decision."

McDaniels is the third head coach to be fired this season joining Wade Phillips in Dallas and Brad Childress in Minnesota. He certainly won't be the last.

The new coaches, Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier, are 5-1 since taking over.

Studesville, 43, is in his first season in Denver. He was a former running backs coach of the Bills (2004-09) and Giants (2001-03).

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