Former Buffalo Bills coach Mike Mularkey, who abruptly resigned after just two seasons on the job, is the Miami Dolphins' new offensive coordinator.
Mularkey, 44, replaces Scott Linehan, who last week was named head coach of the St. Louis Rams. Mularkey interviewed late last week with Miami coach Nick Saban and was offered the job on Saturday, then took a day to mull his options.
The Atlanta Falcons also interviewed Mularkey, a Florida Native, last week for the quarterbacks coach post. It is believed the Houston Texans also had some interest in Mularkey. The Texans have not been able to officially introduce Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak as head coach because the Broncos are still in the playoffs.
"I am looking forward to returning to South Florida and joining
the Dolphins," Mularkey said in a statement.
"Having faced Miami twice last year, I saw for myself how
well-balanced their offense was, and the progress they made during
the course of the season. I'm looking forward to working with Coach
Saban, his staff and the Dolphins players to help continue that
improvement this year."
Mularkey walked away from the Buffalo job with at least two years remaining on his contract. In his two seasons, Mularkey compiled a 14-18 record, including a disappointing 5-11 mark in 2005, when many pundits expected the Bills to contend for a playoff berth.
Linehan was earning about $800,000 per year on his contract, so Mularkey likely is in the same compensation category. The Miami offense statistically ranked No. 14 in the league in 2005.
The Bills' offense ranked 28th in the NFL last year, when
Mularkey was working with a shaky offensive line and a second-year
quarterback, J.P. Losman.
"It was clear that his teams always played hard and were
well-coached in all aspects of the game," Saban said. "He
instilled in his players a sense of belief in his system, and those
leadership skills will serve him well in his new role."
Sources said that, while family considerations played a large role in Mularkey's decision, his views on the future of the franchise were also a significant factor. Since the end to a dismal season, the Buffalo organization has undergone a quick overhaul, and people in the NFL have questioned the Bills' direction.
Wilson fired team president/general manager Tom Donahoe, re-hired Marv Levy, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Bills to four Super Bowl appearances, and made other changes to the front office. It is believed that Wilson also suggested, but did not mandate, changes in the coaching staff. Mularkey subsequently dismissed five assistants.
Mularkey played nine seasons in the league as a tight end and was an assistant coach for 10 years, much of that as an offensive coordinator, before succeeding Gregg Williams as the Bills' head coach in 2004.
In Mularkey's first two of three seasons as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offsensive coordinator, the Steelers ranked third and fifth in the NFL in offense, and quarterbacks Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox enjoyed the best
seasons of their careers.
"His expertise produced an explosive and physical style of
play, and he raised the production level of his quarterbacks,"
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was also used in this report. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.