TAMPA — Raheem Morris' quick rise from defensive quality control assistant to head coach with the Bucs might be one of the NFL's best examples of someone working their way from the bottom to the top.
But after being fired Jan. 2, he never considered taking a timeout.
"I'm a football coach. This is what I do. It's who I am," Morris, 35, said. "I'm entirely too young to sit out a season. I don't need any rest. Coaches don't get to coach for long, and any opportunity to go out and compete is a great one."
Wednesday, Morris agreed to coach defensive backs for the Redskins.
Morris, also the Bucs' defensive coordinator, said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan will allow him to seek opportunities as a coordinator next season.
"That was part of the selling point," Morris said.
Morris interviewed with the Vikings about becoming their defensive coordinator. He said he has had no further contact with them and didn't want to make the Redskins wait.
Morris will be reunited with Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who held the same position with Tampa Bay when he convinced Morris to return to the Bucs from Kansas State after the 2006 season. Morris worked for one year as the Wildcats' defensive coordinator. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan came to the Bucs as an assistant the same year as Morris.
"They were the first ones to approach me," Morris said of the Redskins. "They talked about giving me time to give them an answer, but I didn't want to screw up a good thing with a great organization. They were patient. They waited and gave me time to go through the process. But I've been a head coach, and I know how tough it is when you feel like you're getting the runaround. And I wanted to be fair to everybody in Washington."
Morris' career in Tampa Bay began in 2002 when he was hired as a defensive quality control assistant. And Tampa Bay is the only pro organization he has been with.
"It's been pretty easy for me to have nothing but great feelings about the Bucs and Tampa Bay," Morris said. "Everybody wants you to be angry and have negative things to say about the Glazers or (GM) Mark Dominik and the organization. But this is where I grew up at. They gave me my first opportunity to win a Super Bowl, and now I want to win one elsewhere.
"It didn't end the way I'd want it to end, but for what the Bucs have done for my family and for me personally, I can't complain."
Morris went 17-31 in three seasons as Bucs coach, and he said he hopes to get another chance to be a coach.
"It feeds the beast," Morris said. "It gives me confidence going 10-6 in 2010 and lets you know you can do it. Starting 4-2 this season under the circumstances we were facing lets you know you can do it. If the opportunity presents itself again, I'll embrace it. But I always believed you have to do the job you have the best you can and be focused on what you're doing at this point and good things will happen."