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Ravens Hire Billick As New Coach


Brian Billick was hired as coach of the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, two days after his team was upset in the NFC championship game.

Billick replaces Ted Marchibroda, who was fired last month after the Ravens completed a 6-10 season.

He came to Baltimore for an interview Tuesday after the Cleveland Browns crossed him off their list of prospects.

"This thing could happen at any time," Billick said Monday before leaving Minnesota."I think they have all the information they need. I certainly have all the information I need about the organization."

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Billick was a candidate to become the expansion Browns' first head coach. But Cleveland eliminated him from contention Monday, with president Carmen Policy citing "philosophical differences" as the main reason behind the surprise announcement.

Billick has been the Vikings' offensive coordinator the past five years. Under his direction, the Vikings scored an NFL-record 556 points this regular season.

That's attractive to the Ravens, who need to bolster an attack to complement a defense that held opponents below 17 points in half the games. Minnesota beat Baltimore 38-28 this season.

"Baltimore has some intriguing aspects," Billick said Monday. "I'm very impressed with Mr. Modell -- both Modells, Art and David -- in terms of their concept of where that organization is going.

"(Vice president of player personnel) Ozzie Newsome is one of the best personal people in the business. They've got talent, and I was excited by the city of Baltimore, the energy that was there when we (played) there."

Billick became available after the Vikings were upset 30-27 in overtime by the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Had the Vikings won, the Ravens would not be able to interview Billick until after the Super Bowl.

Before Billick was hired, another prime candidate for the Ravens' job was Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Chris Palmer,

The Ravens also interviewed Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Emmitt Thomas as considered a candidate until he followed Ray Rhodes from Philadelphia to Green Bay as the defensive coordinator.

Baltimore originally wanted either George Seifert or Mike Holmgren, both having already established themselves as outstanding NFL coaches. But Seifert signed with Carolina, and Holmgren canceled a trip to Baltimore after accepting a job with the Seattle Seahawks.

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