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Atlanta Falcons hire Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as head coach

Charles Odum Associated Press

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Falcons’ long wait for new leadership on the field finally ended Monday when Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was named the team’s coach.

The Falcons said Quinn will be introduced at a news conference today. Quinn replaces Mike Smith, who was fired following a 6-10 finish in 2014.

The team did not release details of the deal, but a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press earlier Monday that Quinn agreed to a five-year contract.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he was impressed by Quinn’s “definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis.

“He also has a proven ability to develop players by maximizing their individual strengths.”

The Falcons exercised patience while waiting for Quinn, who could not be offered a job until after Seattle’s 28-24 Super Bowl loss Sunday night to the New England Patriots.

“This felt like the right fit from the beginning, and I want to thank Mr. Blank for his resolve as this was an extended and complicated process,” Quinn said in a statement released by the team. “My goal is to build upon the foundation that has been laid here and to play a physical brand of football as we build a championship-caliber team.”

Quinn, 44, helped Seattle reach back-to-back Super Bowls. Seattle beat Denver in last year’s championship game.

His strong record in his two years with Seattle won over the Falcons, who have struggled on defense the past two seasons. The Falcons allowed the most total yards and yards passing in the league this season.

The Seahawks led the NFL in scoring defense, total defense and takeaways while winning the Super Bowl last season. Quinn’s defense shined in the Super Bowl win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos. He previously was defensive line coach for the Seahawks, 49ers, Dolphins and Jets.

Seattle ranked first in total defense again this season.

“I would like to personally thank Seahawks coach Pete Carroll for his patience and support during our head coach search,” Blank said. “I’m sure the Seahawks will be sorry to see Dan leave, but no one has been more supportive of this opportunity for Dan than Pete.”

Carroll described Quinn as “a great communicator” and “a fantastic teacher. He’s got a real toughness about him – innovative.”

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