Do you remember linebacker Stephen Nicholas? Sure you do.
He was a vocal leader for the Falcons during his time with the team, and played admirably at linebacker during his time as a starter. Well, plot twist: he’s now going to be helping a divisional rival beat the Falcons twice a year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Nicholas as their defensive quality control coach, where he will join Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, his former Atlanta head coach. Nicholas has been in the same role at USF the past three seasons.
Nicholas has had the preparations necessary to join the ranks of NFL coaching, per the Bucs.
The addition of Nicholas to the Buccaneers’ staff marks another success story for two training programs for potential NFL professionals, the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship. Nicholas was one of 144 participants in the Walsh program last year, working with the Buccaneers during last year’s organized team activity practices (OTAs).
The South Florida graduate was drafted in 2007, right before the Mike Smith/Thomas Dimitroff era began, and held down a starting linebacker spot for the better part of Smith’s time with the team. He was also one of the team’s vivacious personalities, and a leading face on Falcons web show D-Block (perhaps the greatest form of Falcon-related visual media ever committed to screen).
So, let’s wish Nicholas a successful time in his particular job...on a team that isn’t particularly successful. Fair trade off, no?
In the mean time, enjoy a soda with this D-Block “Best of” reel (Nicholas is #54).