Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock named Northern Illinois coach

Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock was named the Northern Illinois head coach Friday morning.

Hammock, 37, a former Huskies running back who served on his alma mater’s coaching staff from 2005-06, replaces Rod Carey, who accepted the same position at Temple.

"I can't describe it," Hammock said in a release. "It's an unbelievable feeling to have the opportunity to come home to a place that I love, to the school that has meant so much to me. I can't wait to get started with the players and have a chance to put a product on the field that the alumni and fans will be proud of."

The Ravens hired Hammock in 2014, his first NFL job after three years as an assistant head coach at Wisconsin. The team cycled through No. 1 backs in Hammock’s five years in Baltimore, with a different running back leading the Ravens in rushing yards each of the past four years.

This season, the Ravens were one of the NFL’s worst rushing teams over the first half of the season. But Lamar Jackson’s midseason insertion at quarterback helped rejuvenate their ground game, and Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon both finished the year averaging over 5 yards per carry.

“I got comfortable with Coach Thomas and felt this was a good spot to come to,” Edwards, an undrafted rookie, told the team website in November. “It’s been great. He knows a lot about the game. He’s made me better. I’m just trying to take everything that he’s teaching me.”

Hammock’s departure leaves the Ravens with two vacancies on coach John Harbaugh’s staff. The Ravens also must hire a wide receivers coach, as Bobby Engram was moved over to tight ends coach with Greg Roman’s promotion to offensive coordinator.

jshaffer@baltsun.com

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