Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons Hire Raheem Morris, First Full-Time Black Head Coach In Franchise History

The Atlanta Falcons have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their new head coach.

The Atlanta Falcons have hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their head coach.

ESPN reports Morris is the first former NFL head coach Falcons owner Arthur Blank has hired in his 20-plus-year tenure. He’s also the first full-time Black head coach in the franchise’s history.

“This is a historic day for the Atlanta Falcons,” Blank said in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Raheem Morris back to Atlanta as the team’s new head coach.” 

“His time in LA has given him an enhanced perspective on everything from personnel, team operations, game planning, working with an outstanding offensive staff, and many other things that has helped him develop into an even more prepared coach in all aspects of the game. I believe his leadership skills have grown and his understanding of what it takes to have a highly collaborative one-team culture are now at a much higher level.”

Morris, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 through 2011, was hired after an extensive search by the Falcons that included two interviews with six-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Bill Belichick, ex-Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel, and former University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.

Morris was raised in New Jersey and played college football at Hofstra University in Long Island. It’s also where he started his coaching career as a graduate assistant. His first full-time coaching job came in 1999 as Hofstra’s defensive back coach. His first NFL job came in 2001 as a defensive assistant with the Buccaneers.

There has been a notable influx of diversity in NFL coaching hires since the end of the regular season. Along with Morris, Antonio Pierce was promoted to the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach while Jerod Mayo was hired as Belichick’s replacement in New England, giving the NFL six Black head coaches.

Additionally, Dave Canales, who was hired by the Carolina Panthers, is Mexican-American, making him the only Latino coach in the NFL.

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