Raheem Morris hired as head coach by Atlanta Falcons, who pass on Bill Belichick

Three years ago, the Atlanta Falcons passed on an opportunity to hire Raheem Morris as their head coach.

They didn't let him get away this time, despite an extensive search that included six-time Super Bowl champion Bill Belichick.

The Falcons hired the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator on Thursday, reintroducing a familiar face who served as Atlanta's interim coach for the final 11 games of the 2020 season after Dan Quinn was sacked.

The Falcons chose Morris, 47, after interviewing 14 candidates, the most noteworthy of which was Belichick

Earlier Thursday, the team held a second interview with Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik.

In the end, the Falcons chose an experienced coach who has been in the league all but one season since 2002,

 with a three-year tenure as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He formerly worked in Atlanta from 2015 until 2020.

Morris is the first non-interim Black coach in Falcons history, joining general manager Terry Fontenot, who is also Black, in guiding a team that has not won a season since 2017.

The hiring ensures that at least nine minority head coaches will begin the 2024 season, which is the most ever.

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