Joe Lombardi named a Falcons' assistant

Updated: February 14, 2006, 5:33 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The facial resemblance is undeniable, the bloodlines are unparalleled, and the future is still undetermined.

But thanks to the Atlanta Falcons, Joe Lombardi, the grandson of Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi (for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named), now has a chance to make a name for himself.

The Falcons have hired Lombardi, offensive coordinator at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., for the last four seasons, as a defensive assistant. Lombardi, who primarily will work in quality control, replaces Dennis Allen, who left the Atlanta staff two weeks ago to become the New Orleans Saints' assistant defensive line coach.

"Joe brings a great deal of energy, excitement, and enthusiasm to his new role as defensive assistant," Falcons head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. "He has been a coach on both sides of the ball and has extensive experience at the collegiate level working with the defensive line. We are excited that he has agreed to become a member of our team."

Lombardi was not immediately available for comment.

A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in 1994, Lombardi was a tight end and three-time letterman as a player.

He coached the defensive line at the University of Dayton from 1996-98, a period in which the Flyers posted a 20-game winning streak. Lombardi was also the special teams coordinator at Dayton during part of his tenture.

Lombardi coached offensive linemen and tight ends at Virginia Military Institute in 1999 and then was the defensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Bucknell in 2000. In 2001, Lombardi was the tight ends and running backs for the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of of the short-lived XFL.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.