Titans to hire Bengals OC Brian Callahan as next head coach, reports say

Tennessee moved on from Mike Vrabel after a six-year stint.


BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 16: Brian Callahan of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on from the sideline during an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 16, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

The offseason's first non-promotion head-coaching hire is here.

Fresh after the Las Vegas Raiders promoted Antonio Pierce from interim to permanent head coach, the Tennessee Titans seemed to have found their man.

Tennessee reportedly is finalizing a deal to bring in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to be the franchise's next head coach, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero first reported, citing sources, on Monday.

Pelissero added Callahan had a second interview with the Titans Monday and they did not want to let him leave the building, thus the deal.

Callahan, 39, joined the Bengals as offensive coordinator in 2019, posting some robust seasons with Joe Burrow leading the way under center.

He began his NFL coaching career with the Denver Broncos as an assistant in 2010, eventually working his way up to an offensive assistant until the 2015 season when he left to become the Detroit Lions' quarterbacks coach.

Callahan also served as the then-Oakland Raiders' QB coach in 2018. Along with Burrow, he's worked with Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Derek Carr.

Now, Callahan, who went to UCLA, appears set to develop second-year quarterback Will Levis, who showed flashes behind an inconsistent offensive line as a rookie.

Levis took over the starting role on Oct. 29. In nine appearances to end the season -- he suffered an early injury in the regular-season finale -- the second-rounder out of Kentucky threw for 1,808 yards, eight touchdowns and four picks on a 58.4 completion rate.

Tennessee went 3-5 in games Levis finished, though Callahan will be tasked with finding weapons who could help the young signal caller in his development.

Running back Derrick Henry doesn't appear to be returning while DeAndre Hopkins, 31, will be in the final year of a two-year contract following a 1,000-plus-yard receiving campaign. The other two leading receivers were 2022 fourth-round tight end Chigoziem Okonko (528) and 2016 fourth-round wideout Chris Moore (424).

Callahan's highest draft pick will be the No. 7 overall selection, where he could lean toward an offensive skill player to pair alongside Levis. The offensive line could be an area worth exploring, too.

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