Ravens coach John Harbaugh filled one of his coaching staff vacancies Thursday, hiring Joe D'Alessandris as his offensive line coach. D'Alessandris has 39 years of coaching experience, including stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers.
He replaces Juan Castillo, who departed last week to become the offensive line coach and run game coordinator under new Bills coach Sean McDermott.
"We had a number of very good, qualified candidates for this position, and we have the right fit with Joe," Harbaugh said in a news release. "He's a hard-nosed, experienced coach, who is an excellent teacher. He'll be able to work with our veterans to get the best out of them, and he'll take our young linemen to higher levels."
The well-traveled D'Alessandris has coached at the college level, in the Canadian Football League, the World League and most recently in the NFL. He was the Chiefs assistant offensive line coach from 2008-09. He then coached the Bills' offensive line from 2010-12 and was in that same role with the Chargers from 2013-15. He did not coach this past season.
"I feel very privileged and honored to come work with such a tremendous organization," D'Alessandris said. "I very much look forward to the great opportunity of working for John Harbaugh and [general manager] Ozzie Newsome on an incredible staff."
With the Chiefs in 2009, D'Alessandris was instrumental in guard Brian Waters getting selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. Running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 1,120 yards and seven touchdowns that season. In 2011, D'Allessandris' offensive line in Buffalo allowed a league-low 23 sacks.
His experience includes college stops at Western Carolina (1977-78), Livingston University (1979-83), Memphis (1984-85), Tennessee-Chattanooga (1986-89), Samford (1993), Texas A&M (1994), Pittsburgh (1996), Duke (1997-2001) and Georgia Tech (2002-07).
In 1990, he was the offensive line coach for Ottawa in the CFL before returning to that league to coach Memphis in 1995. He spent two seasons in the World League as the offensive line coach for Birmingham from 1991-92.
With the Ravens, D'Alessandris will work with recently-hired senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach Greg Roman and assistant offensive line coach Richard Angulo.
Harbaugh has made clear that he views solidifying the offensive line as a significant priority this offseason. The Ravens are set with 2016 draft picks Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis as the left tackle and left guard, respectively, and Marshal Yanda, a perennial Pro Bowl selection, will return to right guard next season. There are questions at center, where veteran Jeremy Zuttah struggled last season, and at right tackle, because Rick Wagner will be an unrestricted free agent.
Harbaugh still has a couple more coaching decisions to make as the Ravens have openings at quarterbacks coach and secondary coach. Harbaugh is considering internal options for both positions.