Mattison accepts Ravens' offer
Published: Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 1:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 1:46 p.m.
Greg Mattison made what he called “the toughest decision of my life” on Saturday night. Now that he has, it's time to move forward.
But not without looking back.
Mattison accepted a job as the linebackers coach of the Baltimore Ravens, making official what had been speculated for days.
“You know, you coach at different places — Texas A&M, Michigan, Notre Dame — and you always wonder how you'll see yourself,” Mattison said Sunday. “I'll always be a Gator fan. I'll always see myself as a Gator.
“That's what made this so tough. To leave this community, to leave Urban Meyer, to leave Jeremy Foley, the best athletic director in the world, and to leave these players. They came here for the right reason — to win a national championship.”
Mattison said he struggled with the decision and wasn't sure on Saturday whether or not he would take the offer. Mattison, Florida's co-defensive coordinator, turned down Baltimore's first offer.
“I always said that the only way I'd consider the NFL is if it is a perfect situation with coaches I know,” he said. “John Harbaugh (Baltimore's head coach) is like family to me. His sister used to baby-sit our daughter. We worked together at Western Michigan and his dad hired me there.
“And the staff he has put together are guys I know or know about. It was a tough decision, but now that I've made it I feel good about it.”
Mattison met with Meyer on Sunday morning to discuss the future of Florida's defense. For Mattison, it was an emotional decision to leave UF and Meyer but the offer and the promise of financial security was too good to pass up.
Although Mattison's replacement is already on board — former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney — Meyer still has to replace running backs coach Stan Drayton and safeties coach Doc Holliday.
“Dan McCarney is the guy I've always turned to when I've been coaching at other places,” Mattison said. “He is a great coach.”
Meyer said Sunday that McCarney will coach the defensive line now that Mattison has left.
“I have to decide what I'm going to do with the other defensive coach,” Meyer said. “I have to look at it schematically and decide whether to bring in another secondary coach or someone for the front seven.”
Meyer is close to hiring a running backs coach and that announcement could come as soon as today.
For Mattison, the NFL offers some security because of its pension program. Mattison is 58 and five years in the NFL gets a coach vested.
“You look where you are at,” he said. “You figure you're going to do this for seven or eight more years and how are you going to live after that? It played a part in it.”
Although Mattison is known for his work with defensive linemen, which he coached for three years at UF, he said he is looking forward to working with linebackers in the NFL.
“I coached linebackers at Western Michigan and for awhile at Notre Dame,” he said. “I'm excited about getting back there.”
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