NFL

Atlanta Falcons to name Morris head coach

By Sports Desk January 25, 2024

Raheem Morris will be getting a second chance with the Atlanta Falcons.

Multiple outlets reported Thursday that the Falcons will hire the Los Angeles Rams' defensive coordinator as their next head coach following an extensive search that included several high-profile candidates.

Morris returns to Atlanta, where he went 4-7 as the Falcons' interim head coach in 2020 after the team fired Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start. The 47-year-old spent the previous three seasons directing the Rams' defence and helped Los Angeles to a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in his first season there.

The Falcons opted not to retain Morris following the 2020 campaign and instead hired former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who went 7-10 in three straight seasons before being dismissed on Jan. 8.

Atlanta chose Morris after interviewing over a dozen candidates that included six-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick and former Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who agreed to become the Los Angeles Chargers' head coach on Wednesday.

This will be Morris' second opportunity to be a permanent head coach, as he guided the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-11. The Bucs went 10-6 in his second season at the helm in 2010, but slipped to a 4-12 record the following season and replaced Morris with Greg Schiano.

Morris compiled a 17-31 record in Tampa Bay and is 21-38 overall as an NFL head coach.

Following his dismissal from Tampa Bay, Morris spent three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Washington Redskins before joining Quinn's staff in Atlanta in 2015. Morris was the wide receivers coach for the Falcons' 2016 NFC championship team that lost to Belichick's New England Patriots in the Super Bowl after infamously blowing a 28-3 lead.

Morris was part of another Super Bowl champion team when he broke into the NFL coaching ranks as a defensive assistant for the Buccaneers in 2002.

The Falcons are the sixth team to fill a head coaching vacancy this offseason, and four of those hires have been minority candidates. Morris, New England's Jerod Mayo and Antonio Pierce of the Las Vegas Raiders are all Black, while new Carolina Panthers head coach Dave Canales is of Mexican descent.

Two teams, the Washington Commanders and Seattle Seahawks, are still in the process of hiring a head coach.

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