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I caught this article and thought I'd share it with all my fellow falcon fans. I'm starting to like what I hear from Coach Mularley sounds like he's already working on next seasons team makeup. man i hope we get rid of Dunn, Brooking,Finneran and Horn. sorry if already posted.


Mularkey gets another chance

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ATLANTA -- There's no escaping the stain Michael Vick left on this city.

Just this week, there was more fallout from the story that rocked the nation last year.

There is a push to strengthen Georgia state laws on dogfighting.

There also was an update on training and adoption plans for some of the dogs who survived the hellhole disguised as Vick's mansion in Virginia.

The Falcons, shaken to their core by the sensational arrest, conviction and imprisonment of their star quarterback for a gruesome dogfighting operation, got a further kick in the teeth when coach Bobby Petrino bailed 13 games into the 2007 season.

Against that backdrop, you would think new Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey might have at least a little trepidation, might wonder what kind of carryover there will be.

But no.

"That had absolutely zero to do with me coming here," Mularkey said during a break between interviewing position coaching candidates and taking a quick tour through the team's video version of last season.

"It was never talked about, and, to be honest, I never thought about it."

Mularkey, a tight end for the Steelers the final three seasons of Chuck Noll's tenure and a coach for eight seasons under Bill Cowher, including three as offensive coordinator, has his own career to resurrect, but it's doubtful he'll be able to escape the effects of Vickgate.

The biggest chore, of course, is retooling an offense that was built around the mobile quarterback. Mularkey said the new staff already is hip deep in looking ahead to free agency and the draft.

"This is a new staff, a new direction with a new head coach," Mularkey said. "Obviously, we have no control over the past."

The past no doubt will have a grip on the Falcons for some time.

It's not just the loss of Vick's talent. It's also the PIRATED VIDEO IS ILLEGAL of reminders and links to the Falcons every time the Vick incident and the torture of those dogs comes up, every time his prison sentence is mentioned, every time there is speculation about whether he will be permitted to resume his NFL career.

Add that to the humiliation of being dumped by Petrino, who would have been a sympathetic figure if he had had the guts or the class to ride out what turned out to be a 4-12 season. Instead, he jumped ship and ran back to the college level to join former Pitt athletic director Jeff Long at Arkansas.

It all leaves the Falcons pretty well plucked.

"There's nowhere to go but up," Mike Smith said when he was hired as Falcons head coach.

One of Smith's first moves was hiring Mularkey.

Within four days of accepting the job, Mularkey had an office strewn with items he had unpacked from boxes but hadn't put away.

"We were let go relatively quickly in Miami, so I tried to catch my breath and have some family time," said Mularkey, who was tight ends coach on a 1-15 Dolphins team. "I'm not sure I'm 100 percent recovered."

No time for that now.

The Falcons job, despite all the baggage attached to the franchise, should be a good thing for Mularkey if he is as good as his Steelers days made him out to be.

Mularkey was tight ends coach in Pittsburgh from 1996-2000, then got promoted to coordinator, where he spent three seasons before becoming head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

In 2001 his offense led the NFL with 173.4 yards rushing a game and was third in total offense as the Steelers advanced to the AFC championship game. In 2002 the Steelers were fifth in total offense.

"I spent 11 years, almost half my time in the NFL, either playing or coaching there," Mularkey, 46, said. "I know there's pieces of me on that playing field. Pieces of my heart, too."

At that point, no one had a clue Cowher might resign or retire or whatever you call it so soon. So Mularkey jumped at a chance to move into a bigger office.

His head coaching career started out well enough. The 2004 Bills were 9-7, their first winning season in five years. But following a 5-11 showing in 2005, and with signs Buffalo upper management was overhauling the chain of command for the worse, Mularkey surprised many by resigning.

He resurfaced in Miami as coordinator in 2006, but the Dolphins were spiraling. After one season, Mularkey accepted a demotion to tight ends coach for 2007, and he got swept out with the staff Jan. 3.

That's a precipitous fall -- from head coach in seemingly good standing with the bosses to coordinator to position coach to the street in a little more than two years.

But it took just 22 days for the Falcons to put Mularkey back on the map.

"It's a little bit of a fresh start for me," Mularkey said. "It's good for me. I'm excited to get back into it."

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