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Jags hire Monte Kiffin as defensive assistant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Monte Kiffin, who built a defense that carried the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship, is back in the NFL.

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Monday that they hired Kiffin as a defensive assistant. The team also hired John Benton as assistant offensive line coach and John Donovan as offensive quality control coach.

The 76-year-old Kiffin has been assisting Jaguars coach Gus Bradley off and on over the past eight months on an unpaid basis. He reviewed film during training camp but also was a consultant during the team's search for a defensive coordinator in January (the Jaguars eventually promoted defensive line coach Todd Wash).

"We are excited about Monte Kiffin joining our staff," Bradley said. "His wealth of experience and knowledge about the game will be a tremendous asset to our entire coaching staff."

Kiffin has been a coach in the NFL for 28 years, including 17 as a defensive coordinator. He spent 13 seasons as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator (1996-2008), where he built the Bucs' unit into one that ranked in the top 10 in the NFL 11 times. Kiffin coached a pair of Hall of Famers in linebacker Derrick Brooks and defensive tackle Warren Sapp.

Kiffin's defense carried the franchise to its only Super Bowl title after the 2002 season by leading the NFL in yards allowed, points and interceptions. The Bucs intercepted Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon five times -- three for touchdowns -- and also sacked him five times in a 48-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Kiffin left the NFL following the 2009 season and worked as the defensive coordinator at USC from 2010 to '12 under his son Lane. Monte Kiffin returned to the NFL in 2013 as a defensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys. He spent the 2014 season as the Cowboys' assistant head coach/defense, but the team did not renew his contract.

Benton spent the past two seasons as Miami's offensive line coach. He has 29 years of coaching experience, including 12 in the NFL.

Donovan was the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Penn State for the past two seasons after serving as the offensive coordinator/running backs coach at Vanderbilt. He has 19 years of collegiate coaching experience; this is his first coaching job in the NFL.