Brian Billick took a 15-year hiatus from coaching but never lost his passion for being part of a team, game-planning and helping players develop.
The Ravens' first Super Bowl-winning head coach joined Arizona State's staff Monday as an offensive analyst and advisor. When Billick's nine-year run as the Ravens' head coach ended in 2007, he wasn't sure if he'd ever coach again, and he thoroughly enjoyed working as an analyst for FOX, NFL Network and Ravens Media.
However, everything about joining ASU's staff under former NFL head coach Herm Edwards felt right. The school's athletic director, Ray Anderson, is a longtime friend of Billick's. So are Edwards and Sun Devils Defensive Coordinator Marvin Lewis, who was once Baltimore's defensive coordinator under Billick.
Arizona State reached out to Billick several weeks ago when he was coaching college draft prospects at the Hula Bowl. The attraction of working with experienced coaches who he also knew well convinced Billick it was time to return to coaching full-time.
"I coached college football before I ever came to the NFL and I've missed the college environment, when you take a young player out of high school and watch them mature and grow in so many ways," Billick said in a telephone interview. "This seemed like a perfect situation with people that I'll really enjoy working with."
Billick said his experience as an analyst will give him a fresh perspective as he returns to coaching. He'll provide a strong voice on Edwards' staff, providing his expertise on offensive game-planning while also working with players.
"I spent years working for FOX and NFL Network watching so many teams practice," Billick said. "Coaching friends in the business would often allow me to sit in on meetings, knowing that I didn't have a horse in the race, knowing I wasn't attached to any team. It gave me great insight, broadened my perspective, gave me a look at how different places did things.
"Then leading up to the draft, I'd be immersed in the college game watching film, which will be helpful in this new position as well. Whatever insight I can add through my experiences to help ASU, that's what I'm going to bring, helping us get the most out of our players."
Billick was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor in 2019 as the second winningest coach in team history (80-64 regular season, 5-3 postseason). As head coach of the Super Bowl champion 2000 Ravens, Billick will be forever linked to one of the greatest playoff runs in NFL history. The Ravens stormed to four straight postseason victories as a wild-card team, capped by a dominant 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV.
Billick will always be linked to the Ravens and will still follow them closely even in his new position. He expects them to have a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
"You can't just minimize the injuries they dealt with, acting like it was a non-issue," Billick said. "They had players in and out of the lineup all season, they had challenges that were difficult to deal with. Having said that, you still have to take a hard look at your team after every season. What else do we need? What do we need to do differently? Whatever changes they feel they need to make will be thought out thoroughly, with the aim toward having another strong season."