Rusty Tillman has landed on his feet.
Swept aside when the Seattle Seahawks cleaned house and quickly dismissed when new head coach Dennis Erickson assembled his staff, Tillman has been hired as defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I couldn’t be happier where I am going,” said Tillman, who spent 16 seasons with the Seahawks.
Tillman, 48, was selected by Sam Wyche, a former NFL teammate with the Washington Redskins, to replace Floyd Peters, who was fired by Wyche last Wednesday.
Tillman had been a candidate to replace Tom Flores as the Seahawks’ head coach and was the only candidate other than Erickson interviewed for the job.
Tillman, who aspires to be a head coach in the NFL, will find himself in a position in Tampa Bay that could be much like his last in Seattle. Wyche has gone 16-32 in three seasons and appeared headed for a fate similar to Flores’ until a late-season winning streak apparently saved his job.
The Buccaneers and Seahawks each finished 6-10 in 1994, and a coin flip will decide which team drafts seventh and which picks eighth.
Tillman also was interviewed for vacant defensive-coordinator positions at Buffalo and New Orleans after he was fired along with Flores and the rest of Flores’ staff Dec. 29.
Erickson interviewed Tillman a week ago, but it soon became obvious that Erickson had his eye on others, including Greg McMackin, his defensive coordinator at the University of Miami. Erickson is expected to name a Seahawks defensive coordinator this week.
Erickson also is expected to sign Tom Catlin, 63, a former Seahawks defensive coordinator, to a quality-control position. Catlin will become the fifth member of Flores’ staff retained by Erickson.
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