The Atlanta Falcons interviewed 14 candidates to become their head coach, including veterans Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel.
On Thursday night, the Falcons announced they were going with Raheem Morris, who has a 21-38 record as an NFL head coach.
Morris has led Atlanta previously. He served as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator for the previous three seasons. But his job before that was as the Falcons’ interim head coach.
During the 2020 season, Atlanta fired Dan Quinn with an 0-5 record. Morris added the interim head coach duty to his role as defensive coordinator for the rest of the season, with the Falcons winning four of their remaining 11 games.
“I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach,” Morris said in a release from the NFL team. “We know from firsthand experience what a first-class organization Atlanta is and what this team means to its city and its fans. I am incredibly appreciative of Arthur Blank for his leadership and for this entire organization for putting its trust in me to help lead this team.
“I can’t thank the Rams organization enough for the experience and opportunity with the team. From the Kroenke family, Kevin Demoff, Les Snead, Sean McVay and the entire staff, the Rams are a first-class organization all around. We loved our time in L.A., loved the fans and know the Rams continue to have a very bright future.”
Morris began his coaching career in 1998. His stops have included three seasons as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs had a 17-31 record in 2009, 2010 and 2011 under Morris.
Belichick is available after compiling a 302-165 in 29 NFL regular seasons, including the past 24 with the New England Patriots.
In the past six seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Vrabel had a 54-45 record.
Among the other prospects interviewed by the Falcons for their opening were Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan. Harbaugh was hired by the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday, and Callahan was hired by the Titans on Thursday.
Morris succeeds Arthur Smith, who was fired on Jan. 8 after going 7-10 in each of his three seasons at helm in Atlanta.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.