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Dallas — Scott Linehan is out as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys only days after coach Jason Garrett sent mixed messages about the future for the oft-criticized assistant.

Garrett, in a statement released by the team Friday, described the move as a mutual decision after he and Linehan had some open and positive discussions this week. The former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator, who just completed his fifth season in Dallas, had one more season left on his contract.

“This was very much a mutual decision, and there was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings,” Garrett said. “Scott has had an incredibly positive impact on our football team. He has been instrumental in the development and success of a significant number of our veteran and younger players.”

The Cowboys rebounded after a 3-5 start to win the NFC East. They beat the Seattle Seahawks in a home wild-card game before a 30-22 loss at the Los Angeles Rams last weekend.

Garrett said on his radio show Monday he thought Linehan would return and didn’t expect any significant changes to his staff. But at a news conference later in the day, Garrett was far from definitive and said discussions about a coaching staff hadn’t happened.

Dallas’ slow start this season was largely blamed on a misfiring offense.

There were questions about creativity, including from Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-analyst Troy Aikman, who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys in the 1990s.

Bolting early

A record number of college football players will bypass their remaining years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

The 135 players forgoing eligibility surpasses the 119 from last year. The NFL released the official list on Friday. There are 103 underclassmen eligible for the April 25-27 draft. Another 32 players have graduated but still have college eligibility.

The vast majority of players made their intentions known ahead of Monday’s NFL deadline. Among the most notable were Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Browns’ hires

New Browns coach Freddie Kitchens added seven assistants to his staff, including Tosh Lupoi, Alabama’s defensive coordinator last season.

Lupoi will coach Cleveland’s defensive line. He spent five seasons working under Nick Saban with the Crimson Tide.

Kitchens also hired Chris Jones (senior defensive assistant), Joe Whitt (pass game coordinator/secondary coach), Al Holcomb (run game coordinator/linebackers coach), John Lilly (tight ends), John Parrella (assistant defensive line) and Jeff Blasko (assistant offensive line).

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