Tee Martin

AFC Staff Notes: Steelers, Ravens, Raiders

In contention for the Jaguars’ quarterbacks coach position, Mike Sullivan will instead land in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are hiring the former Giants and Buccaneers offensive coordinator, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Sullivan, 53, will replace Matt Canada, who is now the Steelers’ OC. Pittsburgh’s QB coaching role grew in importance recently, with the Steelers giving Dwayne Haskins an opportunity to reboot his career. While Ben Roethlisberger is planning to return for an 18th season, Sullivan will have multiple developmental QBs — Haskins and Mason Rudolph — to mentor. Sullivan has not coached since the 2018 season, when he served as the Broncos’ QBs coach.

Here is the latest from the AFC’s coaching carousel:

  • The Ravens are adding a few staffers, including former USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin as wide receivers coach, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets. A former Heisman-winning quarterback at Tennessee, Martin has coached at the college level for the past 12 years. The former NFL quarterback has not coached at the pro level, but as wideouts coach with the Trojans and Kentucky Wildcats, Martin oversaw the development of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Pittman and Randall Cobb. Baltimore will also add Jay Peterson as assistant linebackers coach, Jason Brooks as assistant D-line coach and Keith Williams as a passing-game assistant, Hensley adds. Jason Brooks is the son of ex-Ravens D-line coach Clarence Brooks.
  • Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald again passed on an NFL path, but he will poach a Raiders staffer. Las Vegas senior defensive assistant Jim O’Neil left to become Northwestern’s defensive coordinator. A defensive coordinator with the Browns and 49ers from 2014-16, O’Neil coached on Jon Gruden‘s past three Raiders staffs.
  • The Broncos will fill their defensive backs coach position by hiring former Packers assistant Christian Parker, according to the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran (on Twitter). This will mark a big jump for Parker, who spent the 2020 season as a quality control staffer in Green Bay. Parker was DBs coach at Texas A&M previously, however. Previous Denver DBs coach Renaldo Hill left to become the Chargers’ DC.
  • New Texans DC Lovie Smith will hire his son, Miles Smith, as linebackers coach, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Miles Smith previously served under his father as the University of Illinois’ linebackers coach. The Texans will retain previous LBs coach Bobby King but move him to D-line coach.
  • The Steelers will add Chris Morgan as their assistant offensive line coach, per Dan Duggan and Mark Kaboly of The Athletic (Twitter link). Morgan, who also interviewed with the Giants this offseason, spent the past six years as the Falcons’ O-line coach.

Raiders Interviewed USC’s Tee Martin

Before the Raiders hired Jon Gruden, they interviewed a pair of minority candidates to satisfy the league’s Rooney Rule. Initially, the only coach identified was tight ends coach Bobby Johnson. We now know that the other “mystery” coach was USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Tee Martin (vertical)

Martin, 39, played quarterback at the University of Tennessee and spent his first two years in college as Peyton Manning‘s backup. In 2000, he was drafted in the fifth round by the Steelers. His NFL career didn’t go as planned, but he did go on to spend time with the Eagles and Raiders. He also has the dubious distinction of being one of six QBs to be drafted before Patriots superstar Tom Brady in ’00.

This past year, Martin’s Trojans offense ranked 13th nationally. For all of his football acumen, it’s unlikely that he ever had a real chance of getting the Raiders’ head coaching job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.