Arbella Early Edition

What was Rich McKay's role in Falcons not hiring Bill Belichick?

Atlanta's team president reportedly had staff believing that they would be 'out' if Belichick was hired.

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After the New England Patriots parted ways with Bill Belichick, many believed he would be the front-runner to land the head coaching job for the Atlanta Falcons. Instead, the team went with the former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris.

At the time, many speculated that the decision may have come down to Belichick's inability to relinquish full control of a team -- a report that was later refuted by team owner Arthur Blank. As Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Thursday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition, the Falcons' decision may have been influenced by team president Rich McKay.

"I think the bigger factor was Rich McKay," Breer said of what he's hearing on why the Falcons passed on Belichick. "My understanding is that he made people in the building feel like if Bill Belichick was coming in, whether it was now or later, they would all wind up being out."

With a concern around job security within the organization, Breer added that Falcons staffers quickly rallied around Morris over Belichick, hoping it would keep their jobs safe for a longer duration.

"To some degree, there was a campaign going on in that facility that was anti-Bill Belichick," Breer added. "If Arthur Blank is going around to different people in that organization and asking them 'Do you want Bill Belichick or do you want Raheem Morris?' Of course it's going to be marked by their own job security."

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that Patriots owner Robert Kraft had called Blank, telling him that they should not trust Belichick. A spokesperson for Kraft has since come out with a statement refuting the report.

The same report also stated that Falcons team brass voted for their new head coach by giving each coach a ranking -- Belichick was not in anyone's top three.

Watch the video above for more insight from Breer on why the Falcons passed on Belichick.

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