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FATE OF CRENNEL, SAVAGE TO BE DETERMINED AFTER SEASON

Browns coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Phil Savage are undoubtedly on the hot seat, but owner Randy Lerner says no firing will be coming during the season. ''I’m going to take the issues and concerns and criticisms very seriously and think through them and deal with them in January,’' Lerner told the Beacon Journal today. ''Hopefully late January.’' Lerner says he hasn’t made up his mind about either Crennel or Savage. But reading between the lines, it sounds like Savage’s job is safer than Crennel’s, because Lerner thinks the Browns’ roster is talented. Asked if Cleveland could be a playoff team in 2009, Lerner answered, ''Yeah, I sense it could be,’' adding, ''We’ve got to win and they’ve got to live up to their potential. When you go 10-6 and have six Pro Bowlers, there are signs you have the right people.’' Lerner went on to describe the Browns as “a very, very strong group of players who are underperforming.’' As for the man who has most often been mentioned as a possible replacement for Crennel? Lerner said he has not contacted Bill Cowher.