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Falcons Name Emmitt Thomas as Interim Head Coach

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The first step in closing out the 2007 season after the abrupt resignation of Bobby Petrino as Falcons head coach took shape early Wednesday afternoon. Veteran coach and Hall of Fame candidate Emmitt Thomas will lead Atlanta through its final three regular season games, the team announced.

Thomas, 64, has coached both sides of the ball during stops with six NFL teams. He was defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles (1995-1998), Green Bay Packers (1999) and Minnesota Vikings (2000-2001). This is his first role as a head coach at any level of football.

Thomas is perhaps best known for his time as a player. He was named to the Chiefs hall of fame in 1986 after a 13-year career that included a team-record 58 interceptions. He was added to a list of potential Hall of Famers by the Seniors Committee in August.

At the time of his retirement, Thomas ranked fifth in the NFL in career interceptions. He also had five returns for touchdowns in his career, which helped earn him slots in five Pro Bowls. He was a key player on the Chiefs 1966 and 1969 AFL title teams and recorded an interception in the Chiefs’ 23-7 Super Bowl IV win over Minnesota.

In 1974 he picked off a career-high 12 passes.

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