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Del Rio Pegged as Defensive Coordinator

Posted Jan 27, 2012

Former Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio, who worked with Head Coach John Fox in Carolina in 2002, agreed to terms to become the Broncos' next defensive coordinator on Friday.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- On Friday, the Broncos announced that the club has agreed to terms with Jack Del Rio to be the team's next defensive coordinator.

He replaces Dennis Allen, who the Raiders named their next head coach.

Del Rio, the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 to 2011, held the defensive coordinator position under Head Coach John Fox in 2002 in Carolina.

"We are thrilled to be able to add such a well-respected defensive coach to our staff," Fox said. "He was an integral part of our turnaround on defense during my first year with the Panthers in 2002."

That year, Del Rio helped improve the Carolina defense, which ranked 31st in the league -- last at the time -- in 2001, to the NFL's second-best.

Del Rio continued that defensive success as a head coach in Jacksonville.

From the 2003 to 2010 seasons, the Jaguars defense ranked 10th in the NFL in total yards allowed and seventh in rushing yards allowed.

This past season in 2011, Jacksonville had the league's No. 6 overall defense, which ranked in the top 10 against both the pass and the run.

"His defenses with the Jaguars have ranked among the NFL's best, and we are excited he's a Bronco," Fox said.

2012 will be Del Rio's 16th season as an NFL coach and his 27th year in the league.

Prior to his one-year stint in Carolina, Del Rio served as linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 1999 to 2001, helping the team win Super Bowl XXXV. He coached a linebacker corps that included Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Ray Lewis, who was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 under Del Rio's tutelage.

Del Rio began his coaching career in 1997 with the New Orleans Saints -- also where he began his 11-year NFL playing career -- as assistant strength coach, serving as linebackers coach in 1998.

In addition to playing for the Saints, Del Rio spent time with Dallas, Kansas City and Minnesota during his playing career.

Broncos players voiced their approval on Twitter.

"Love the hire," Brian Dawkins wrote.

"Think Del Rio was a great piece added to our team," Cassius Vaughn wrote. "Looking forward to learn from him."

"I knew we would hire a good one," wrote Robert Ayers, who reminded his followers that the last time he played under Del Rio, he won the Defensive Player of the Game in the 2009 Senior Bowl. "Can't wait to do damage in 2012."

Also on Friday, the team hired Luke Richesson as its head strength and conditioning coach. Richesson spent the last three years in the same position with the Jaguars.