Falcons DC Dean Pees Retires After 50 Years; Won Super Bowls with Patriots, Ravens

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 08: Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees of the Atlanta Falcons wearing a t-shirt in support of Damar Hamlin #3 of the Buffalo Bills prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 08, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons announced Monday that defensive coordinator Dean Pees will retire.

Pees informed the team's players he would retire earlier in the day, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

"You appreciate all the work and the sacrifice," head coach Arthur Smith said of Pees. "We all get paid to do this and we're lucky as hell, but there are sacrifices you have to make. Dean's a guy who has coached at every level and had success. He has impacted a lot of lives and he has impacted the game."

Per Pelissero, Pees had been "weighing the decision in recent weeks."

The 73-year-old has had an extensive coaching career, serving as an assistant coach at multiple colleges from 1979 to 1997 before taking over as Kent State's head coach from 1998 through 2003.

Atlanta Falcons @AtlantaFalcons

Coach Pees always had sage advice <a href="https://t.co/R0xfdI1Jyx">pic.twitter.com/R0xfdI1Jyx</a>

William McFadden @willmcfadden

This isn't surprising given his age, recent pre-game scare and that he came out of retirement to join Arthur Smith in Atlanta.<br><br>A big part of being a head coach is coaching your assistants. Pees knew what to do from the jump and was likely a big help in getting Smith started. <a href="https://t.co/W8kZjePqoG">https://t.co/W8kZjePqoG</a>

He then worked as a linebackers coach for the New England Patriots for two seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009. He followed a similar path with the Baltimore Ravens, working as the inside linebackers coach in 2010 and 2011 before being promoted to defensive coordinator (2012-17).

He won Super Bowls with the Pats (2004) and the Ravens (2012).

He then had stints as the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans (2018-19) and the Falcons (2021-22).

Twelve former assistants under his watch—Josh Boyer, Patrick Graham, Don Martindale, Leslie Frazier, Steve Spagnuolo, Teryl Austin, Shane Bowen, Mike Macdonald, Matt Eberflus, Joe Cullen, Todd Grantham and Ted Monachino—went on to become defensive coordinators, per Tori McElhaney of the Falcons website.

Cam Marino @MarinoNFL

Wonder if Lovie Smith is on Atlanta's short list at defensive coordinator in wake of Dean Pees' retirement. Jim Haslett &amp; Gregg Williams are names as well.

The Falcons, who finished 23rd in points allowed and 27th in yards sacrificed this season, will be on the lookout for a new defensive coordinator.