Less than a year after being placed on administrative leave and ultimately fired at Maryland, DJ Durkin has resurfaced in the NFL. The former Terps head coach will serve as a guest coach for the Atlanta Falcons during training camp.
Durkin worked with Falcons head coach Dan Quinn at Florida from 2011-12, when Quinn was the Gators’ defensive coordinator and Durkin was the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. It’s important to note that Atlanta hasn’t hired Durkin; Quinn emphasized that his former colleague is simply a guest.
“The fact that I know this coach firsthand, and I know what his character is, and then the due diligence that goes with that,” Quinn said, “I would certainly hope that anyone covering the team or the fan base knows that I always have the team’s best interest in mind and would never put anybody into a space that would be otherwise.”
Dan Quinn backs the addition of DJ Durkin as a coaching intern. pic.twitter.com/n7JdoaHeBw— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) July 22, 2019
After going 10-15 in his first two seasons at Maryland, Durkin was placed on administrative leave one day after ESPN reported harrowing details of the circumstances surrounding offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death and a “toxic” culture within the program. Two months and two external investigations later, the Board of Regents recommended Durkin’s reinstatement. This prompted widespread backlash, and school president Wallace Loh fired him one day later. Maryland hired Mike Locksley in December.
Durkin made an appearance at Alabama during the leadup to the College Football Playoff. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he was simply “observing our operation” and Alabama never hired Durkin, but having him around the program was still poorly received. Durkin also reportedly watched tape with multiple NFL teams last season.