Ohio State assistant Jeff Hafley reportedly was the latest target of the Cincinnati Bengals’ search for a defensive coordinator.
And he reportedly is the latest target to turn them down.
NFL.com revealed that over the weekend as the Bengals search continues.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day hired Hafley in January to be the secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator of the Buckeyes.
The two had worked together in 2016 in San Francisco for the 49ers, part of a seven-year stint in the NFL for Hafley, a New Jersey native who also worked for the Buccaneers and Browns.
When he met with local reporters for the first time in February, Hafley said he had chosen Ohio State over other offers (presumably not including the Bengals based on the wording and timing of the most-recent report).
"You get a chance to coordinate at a place where you can win a lot of games — that’s important — but there's more to it than that,” said Hafley, whose first 10 seasons in coaching were at the college level. “You get to coordinate where you can win a lot of games with the right type of people, and that's the culture here. That's where it's different.
“I didn't want to go to a place where the culture wasn't right, where you weren't around good people, and that's what I talked to Ryan about, and I know Coach Meyer has done that, and I know Ryan will continue to do that. It's the right type of player here. It's the right type of head coach here, and it's the right staff here.”
The Bengals hired Zac Taylor as head coach Feb. 4, more than three weeks after reports he was their choice and began putting together a staff.
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The 35-year-old has no head coach experience and has struggled to find a fit for defensive coordinator.
According to various reports, the list of potential candidates has included former head coaches Jack Del Rio and Dom Capers, Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and University of Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.