NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have agreed to hire Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan as their head coach, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Monday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been finalized.
Callahan replaces Mike Vrabel, who was fired on Jan. 9 after six seasons and losing 18 of his final 24 games.
The 39-year-old Callahan had a virtual interview with Tennessee on Jan. 12, the first of 10 candidates to speak to the team. The Titans interviewed Callahan in person on Monday and decided to hire him, the person said.
The Titans declined to comment Monday night.
The NFL had not allowed in-person interviews of current league employees until Monday, the day after the divisional playoff round.
Callahan becomes the third coach hired since the season ended Jan. 7. New England promoted Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick, and the Raiders elevated their interim coach, Antonio Pierce. Carolina, the Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta, Seattle and Washington are still looking for coaches.
Callahan has 14 years of NFL experience. He has been the Bengals’ offensive coordinator since 2019 and is credited with aiding in the development of quarterback Joe Burrow. He will get the chance now to work with Will Levis, the quarterback Tennessee took at No. 33 overall last April.
The Titans also have the seventh overall draft pick and currently have the third-most salary cap space in the NFL. They believe they have their quarterback after Levis went 3-6 as a rookie. The 33rd pick overall out of Kentucky took over at the end of October after veteran Ryan Tannehill sprained his right ankle.
Callahan was with the Bengals when they stunned the Titans, who were the AFC’s top seed, in the divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 22, 2022. Cincinnati went on to reach the Super Bowl, where it lost to the Los Angeles Rams.
The son of former Raiders coach Bill Callahan has been a popular target in head coaching searches. He interviewed with several teams last year before opting to stay in Cincinnati. Callahan also interviewed recently with the Chargers for their coaching vacancy.
This season, Callahan helped former practice squad quarterback Jake Browning go 4-3 as a starter after a season-ending injury to Burrow, keeping the Bengals in the playoff mix until the end. Browning completed 70.4% of his passes, throwing for 1,936 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Callahan played quarterback at UCLA and began his NFL career as a coaching assistant for the Broncos in 2010 before being promoted to offensive quality control coach in 2011, and then offensive assistant in 2013.
He was quarterbacks coach for the Lions in 2016-17 and then for the Raiders in 2018 before joining the Bengals.
The Titans also interviewed former Stanford head coach David Shaw, Pierce, a trio of defensive coordinators in Dallas’ Dan Quinn, Detroit’s Aaron Glenn and Mike Macdonald of Baltimore, and three other offensive coordinators in Carolina’s Thomas Brown, the Giants’ Mike Kafka and Brian Johnson of Philadelphia.
Maaddi reported from Tampa, Florida.
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