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Raheem Morris named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons

The former Rams defensive coordinator becomes the Falcons’ 19th head coach in franchise history. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Atlanta Falcons hired Raheem Morris as their next head coach, the organization announced Thursday, and there's no "interim" in the title this time around.

Before getting into Morris' full background, let's quickly rewind to Oct. 12, 2020. That was the day Morris was named the Falcons interim head coach a day after the Falcons parted ways with Dan Quinn. At the time, the Falcons had 11 games remaining in the 2020 season. Atlanta went 0-5 under Quinn, then 4-7 with Morris in temporary charge.

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Fast forward to present day, and Thursday's announcement is essentially a welcome back for Morris, but better. Morris also makes history as the first Black full-time head coach in franchise history.

"I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach," Morris said in a statement. "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."

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Since Morris left Atlanta after his interim stint, he has only further proven his abilities to lead a team to success.

Morris returns to Atlanta after three seasons as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator. During that time, the Rams went 12-5, 5-12 and 10-7 between 2021-23. The Rams won the Super Bowl championship in 2021, with a defense that ranked No. 6 in rushing yards allowed, No. 22 in passing yards allowed and No. 17 in total yards allowed.

Before that was Morris' six-year run in Atlanta. He got his start with the organization in 2015 as the Falcons assistant head coach/pass game coordinator. He swapped out the second half of his title in 2016 for wide receivers coach and then added passing game coordinator to it from 2017-19. In 2020, Morris was promoted to defensive coordinator. As previously noted, five games in, he stepped up to interim head coach instead.

The Falcons' last winning and playoff seasons happened during Morris' tenure, 2016-17. In 2016, the Falcons lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The next year the Falcons lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.

Prior to his years in Atlanta, Morris was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach for three years from 2009-11, with a stint with the then-Washington Redskins as their defensive backs coach for three years before coming to Atlanta in 2015. The Buccaneers went 17-31 with Morris at the helm. He became the head coach after two seasons as the defensive backs coach.

There was a year off from the NFL in 2006 for Morris when he was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State. That split up his time with the Buccaneers, since he had been with them before the NCAA, too.

In fact, Morris actually got his professional start in Tampa Bay. He was the defensive quality control coach in his 2002 league debut. He was then the defensive assistant in 2003 and the assistant defensive backs coach in 2004-05.

There were four more years of college work beforehand, three at his alma mater of Hofstra University and one at Cornell University.

Morris was born on Sept. 3, 1976, in Irvington, New Jersey. He attended college at Hofstra, where he played safety.

The Falcons began their search for a new head coach immediately after parting ways with Arthur Smith on Jan. 8, ultimately interviewing 14 candidates. Smith concluded his three seasons in Atlanta with a 21-30 overall record, going 7-10 every year from 2021-23.

Now, Morris goes down in the history books as the Falcons' 19th head coach.

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