NFL.com’s Michael Silver reports that Atlanta Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice has departed the team in order to take the same job with the Oakland Raiders. The Falcons reportedly blocked Tice from interviewing with the Raiders upon the hiring of head coach Jack Del Rio, whom Tice has a previous coaching history with. Tice and Del Rio worked together most recently when the latter was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. They were also teammates with the Minnesota VIkings from 1992 to 1995. Silver reports that Tice plead his case to the Falcons to let him out of his contract and the team relented.
Tice joined the Falcons last season along with Wade Harman as the team’s offensive line coach. He was responsible with helping improve a unit that gave up 44 sacks in 2013 to one that gave up 31 in 2014. The Falcons also went from the league’s worst rushing team in 2013 with 1,247 yards to 24th in 2014 with 1,498 yards.
Tice was not coaching in 2013 after two seasons as the offensive line coach and one as the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as an assistant with the Jaguars (2006-09) as an assistant head coach to Del Rio and worked with tight ends and offensive linemen. He arrived in Jacksonville after four full seasons as the head coach of the Vikings from 2002-05 where he compiled a 32-32 record. That came after serving as the team’s interim head coach for a single game in 2001, a loss. Prior to his promotion to interim status, Tice served as the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 1997, after one season coaching the team’s tight ends.
Tice finished his playing career as a tight end in 1995 with the Vikings, which also marked Del Rio’s final season in the pros as a linebacker. He played the bulk of his 14-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks (1981-88, 1990-91), but also spent time with the Washington Redskins (1989).
Earlier reports indicated that Tice would not be the only former Falcons coach to join Del Rio in Oakland, as former head coach Mike Smith was considered the front-runner to land the team’s defensive coordinator job. Smith served in that same capacity for five seasons under Del Rio in Jacksonville prior to being hired by the Falcons in 2008. However, recent reports indicate that Smith is not ready to accept that position.