Bengals hire Callahan as coordinator, add 3 other coaches
CINCINNATI (AP) — In his first moves as the Cincinnati Bengals coach, Zac Taylor hired longtime friend Brian Callahan as offensive coordinator and Jim Turner — fired by the Dolphins in 2014 for his part in a bullying scandal — as offensive line coach.
Callahan’s move from the Raiders, where he was quarterbacks coach, was expected. The two have known each other since college and share offensive philosophies.
Hiring Turner was Taylor’s first surprising decision . Turner hasn’t coached in the NFL since a report commissioned by the league documented his involvement in the bullying of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and others with the Dolphins. Taylor was on the Dolphins’ staff at the time.
Turner spent the last three seasons as offensive line coach at Texas A&M. He was suspended for two weeks in 2016 for derogatory comments during a football clinic for women.
Taylor said he knows Turner well, giving him confidence to hire him.
“I think everyone gets caught in some situations sometimes that they wish they would do differently, but again, I know those situations inside and out and I feel very comfortable bringing Jim in here and all the other guys we’re bringing in,” Taylor said.
The Bengals also hired James Casey as tight ends coach and Ben Martin as assistant offensive line coach on Thursday, three days after Taylor left the Rams for his first head coaching job.
Taylor played for Callahan’s father, Bill, at Nebraska. Callahan, who is a year younger than Taylor, went to UCLA but developed a friendship after meeting him.
“As the years went on, we gained some mutual friends and kind of started to keep in touch and kind of talked football every year at the (NFL scouting) combine and go to breakfast and talk quarterbacks,” Callahan said. “We would call each other during the years if we were crossing over with teams: ‘What did you think of these guys?'”
Callahan will be the Bengals’ third offensive coordinator in the last three years. They finished last on offense in 2017 and were near the bottom again last season, when quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green were hurt.
Taylor plans to call the plays, with Callahan helping to create the offense, develop the weekly game plans, and provide input during games.
“The play-calling thing is really irrelevant to what the relationship is going to be and the function of my job here,” Callahan said. “Outside of just the game day, I think it would be the same as any offensive coordinator in the league.”
Casey spent the last three seasons at the University of Houston, where he coached tight ends and special teams.
Martin also was on staff with the Dolphins from 2014-15 as an offensive assistant. Since then, he’s been the offensive line coach at Bryant University and offensive coordinator at Union College in New York.
Taylor’s hires give the coaching a much younger look than previous Bengals staffs. Taylor is 35, Callahan and Casey are 34, and Martin is 35. Turner is 54.