JANUARY 25: The Titans are giving the five-year Bengals offensive coordinator a five-year deal to lead their staff, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes. Callahan’s contract length matches what the team handed Vrabel back in 2018.
JANUARY 22: Brian Callahan had a second interview with the Titans today, and the organization isn’t letting him leave Tennessee without a deal. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Titans plan to hire Callahan as their new head coach. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the two sides are working to finalize a deal.
In recent days, there’s been growing momentum towards Callahan earning his first head coaching gig. Besides his second interview with the Titans today, the coach was also expected to meet a second time with the Panthers and Falcons. Per The Athletic’s Paul Dehner, the Titans viewed Callahan as a top target, and they were clearly determined to make sure he didn’t land elsewhere.
Callahan has been on the head coaching radar for a while after guiding a talented offense in Cincinnati. While his first two years at the helm didn’t necessarily go as planned, the Bengals finished top-seven in points scored in both 2021 and 2022. The offense took a step back in 2023, although that was partly attributed to Joe Burrow‘s injury, and suitors clearly recognized that context as they pursued him for HC jobs.
Callahan had a long stint on the Broncos offensive coaching staff before serving as the Lions QBs coach (2016-2017) and Raiders QBs coach (2018). During his time in the NFL, he’s worked with the likes of Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, and Burrow. This has led many to assume that Callahan would be an ideal candidate to guide an offense that’s expected to be led by 2023 second-round pick Will Levis.
The Titans had one of the more surprising head coaching vacancies of this hiring cycle, as Mike Vrabel‘s departure wasn’t necessarily expected. The organization cast a wide net in their search for a replacement, with Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn among those to earn second interviews.
Ultimately, Callahan was the choice. With the head coach soon to be under contract, the Titans will look to fill out the rest of their coaching staff. One name that will surely be connected to Tennessee is Callahan’s father, Bill Callahan. The veteran coach has spent the past four years as the Browns OL coach, and the senior Callahan was previously the head coach for the Raiders.
On the other side, Bengals coach Zac Taylor will now have to hire a coordinator for the first time since he took the Cincy gig in 2019. Dehner notes that Bengals QBs coach Dan Pitcher has been groomed for the job and will likely be a leading candidate to replace Callahan.