Ravens tap Harbaugh as coach


OWINGS MILLS, Md. - John Harbaugh was hired yesterday as coach of the Baltimore Ravens, who hope their second choice proves to be a first-rate success.

Harbaugh spent this season as Philadelphia's secondary coach after making a name for himself working with special teams. He has never been a head coach, but he has coaching in his genes - his father, Jack, is former coach at Western Kentucky, and his brother, Jim, is coach at Stanford and a former quarterback with the Ravens.

The 45-year-old Harbaugh, who received a four-year contract, will be introduced as the third coach in Ravens history at a news conference today.

His salary wasn't released, but most first-year NFL head coaches get slightly more than $2 million a season.

Harbaugh replaces Brian Billick, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a nine-year run. The Ravens were 5-11 this season after going 13-3 in 2006.

The Ravens earlier this week offered the job to Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who spurned Baltimore on Thursday in favor of staying in Dallas. Garrett rejected the Ravens' job offer after receiving a raise from owner Jerry Jones and a promotion to assistant head coach.

Harbaugh coached in the college ranks at Miami (Ohio), Western Michigan, Pittsburgh, Morehead State, and Cincinnati before joining the Eagles in 1998.

TAMPA - Monte Kiffin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has signed a contract extension, extending the longest tenure for a NFL defensive coordinator and ending speculation he'd leave after 12 seasons.

The Buccaneers have finished in the top 10 in total defense 10 times since Kiffin joined the team in 1996.

Tampa Bay allowed the second-fewest yards in the league in 2007 after ranking 17th the previous season.

Terms of the contract were not announced by the team.

Kiffin is the father of Oakland coach Lane Kiffin, and there were rumors that he might be willing to leave to join his son. There also was talk that he might join close friend Pete Carroll if the USC coach decided to take over the Atlanta Falcons.

All along, Bucs coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen said they expected Kiffin to return.

Under Kiffin's guidance, the Bucs have led the NFL in total defense twice, including 2002 when Tampa Bay won its only Super Bowl title.