IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys hired former Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach Friday, a day after the Chicago Bears said he wasn't returning as defensive co-ordinator.
Marinelli's hiring reunites him with new Dallas defensive co-ordinator Monte Kiffin. Marinelli held the same title from 1996-2005 under Kiffin in Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers consistently finished in the top 10 in total defence.
Marinelli left Kiffin's staff in 2006 to become head coach of the Lions, who had the only 0-16 record in NFL history in his final season in 2008. His three-year record was 10-38.
A four-year stint in Chicago ended this week when Marinelli decided he didn't want to return after coach Lovie Smith was fired. New Bears coach Marc Trestman said he wanted to keep Marinelli, who was defensive co-ordinator the past three seasons.
The Cowboys hired Kiffin after deciding to switch back to the 4-3 defence. Marinelli and Kiffin won the Super Bowl under Jon Gruden after the 2002 season, the year after Gruden replaced Tony Dungy. The Bucs were the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the league in total defence, points allowed and interceptions.
Under Marinelli, Tampa Bay's defensive line, led mostly by Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice, had an NFL-high 328 1/2 sacks from 1996 to 2005. In Marinelli's three years as Chicago's defensive co-ordinator, the Bears' defensive line had 88 sacks.
"The big part of playing the defence this way is getting people who really, really believe in it," said Dungy, who was in the Dallas area Friday for the NCAA convention. "You have to sell it to your group. And what we had back then, we hand Monte, Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli. And they all believed."
Marinelli has 17 years of NFL experience among his 37 in coaching. He was a college assistant at Utah State, California, Arizona State and Southern Cal.