Arthur Smith signs deal to be Falcons coach

FILE – Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith instructs his players during NFL football training camp in Nashville, Tenn., in this Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, file photo. The New York Jets interviewed Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, for their head coaching vacancy. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool, File)

By The Associated Press
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Arthur Smith has signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons to be their next coach, the team announced Saturday.

Smith, a former Tennessee Titans assistant, agreed to terms Friday. Neither Smith nor any other team official will be made available to reporters until next week.

“Throughout our research and interview process, Arthur stood out amongst a very deep and very talented candidate pool with an outstanding plan for our organization to return to the level of competition our fans deserve and expect,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement.

“He has all the characteristics of a strong leader and while his achievements have primarily come on the offensive side of the ball, he has provided a plan that is comprehensive within all three phases of the game.”

Smith comes to Atlanta after two years as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. He thanked Blank, team president Rich McKay, his family and others for the opportunity.

“We are beyond excited to become a part of the Atlanta community, embrace its culture and experience all the city and our fellow citizens have to offer,” Smith said in the statement.

“The Falcons organization stood out to us in this process primarily due to the leadership and support from the top in Arthur Blank. His actions and core values provide a great model on how to operate for so many, and align with how I plan to move forward in reaching the levels of competition the passionate Atlanta fans so richly deserve.”

Smith takes over a franchise that’s 28-36 since losing the Super Bowl four years ago under predecessor Dan Quinn. The Falcons haven’t reached the playoffs since 2017.

Smith has no head coaching experience, but Blank made the same move with Jim Mora, Mike Smith and Quinn. The lone exception was Bobby Petrino, who lasted 13 games in 2007.

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