Falcons hire ex-Bills head coach Mularkey as offensive coordinator

Updated: January 25, 2008, 10:03 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

ATLANTA -- First-year Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith on Friday evening made the second major addition to his fledgling staff in two days, securing the services of former Buffalo Bills head coach Mike Mularkey as his offensive coordinator.

The addition of Mularkey, whom ESPN.com reported Wednesday night was the front-runner for the key job of overhauling an Atlanta offense that statistically ranked 29th in the league in 2007, followed the Thursday announcement that Brian VanGorder would be the team's defensive coordinator.

Mularkey, 46, served as the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator under Nick Saban in 2006 and was the team's tight ends coach under Cam Cameron in 2007.

In two seasons as the Bills' head coach (2004-05), Mularkey compiled a 14-18 record.

It is believed that Mularkey opted for the opportunity in Atlanta over an offer to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as a position coach.

Mularkey is known for favoring a strong, run-based offense but also for incorporating innovative, gadget-type plays and for his use of players at multiple positions. He is very good at varying his personnel packages and for creating diverse roles for his skill-position players.

Before landing the Buffalo job as a first-time head coach, Mularkey worked for eight years on the Pittsburgh Steelers' staff (1996-2003) and was the offensive coordinator for the last four of those seasons. He also served on the Tampa Bay staff as an offensive quality control assistant (1994-95).

A ninth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in the 1983 draft, Mularkey played for nine seasons in the league as a tight end. Released by the 49ers as a rookie, he was claimed on waivers by Minnesota and played six seasons for the Vikings (1983-88) and then three years with the Steelers (1989-91).

The former University of Florida standout appeared in 114 games and had 102 receptions for 1,222 yards and nine touchdowns.

Mularkey coached the 1993 season in the college ranks, at Concordia, before moving onto the Tampa Bay staff the following year.

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

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