Mark Carrier, a three-time Pro Bowl selection as an NFL safety, is in his third season coaching Bengals defensive backs. In 2013, his unit helped lead the Bengals to NFL rankings of third in net defense (305.5), fifth in net pass defense (209.0), tied for fifth in scoring defense (19.1) tied for ninth in lowest opponent completion percentage (59.0).
Handling the largest position group on the team, Carrier in 2014 will be joined in the DBs position coach role by Vance Joseph, DBs coach the last three seasons for Houston.
Carrier’s group made its contributions to the Bengals’ high 2013 rankings despite significant injuries at the cornerback position. Leon Hall, a team leader as well as a top player, was lost for the season to an Achilles tendon injury on Oct. 20 at Detroit, and the other veteran starter, Terence Newman, missed the last three games and the Wild Card playoff due to a knee injury. Veteran Adam Jones did mainstay work replacing Hall, and second-year pro Dre Kirkpatrick moved in capably to replace Newman.
In 2012, Carrier’s unit helped lead the Bengals to a No. 7 NFL rank in fewest passing yards allowed (212.5 per game) and to a No. 6 rank in total defense (319.7). The Bengals fielded a particularly effective air defense in the end zone, as their 16 TD passes allowed ranked tied for fourth in the NFL and was Cincinnati’s fewest since 1984 (15).
Carrier is in his ninth year as an NFL position coach. He spent two seasons (2010-11) as defensive line coach for the N.Y. Jets and was defensive backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-09.
In 2011, Carrier’s defensive line helped the Jets finish fifth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game (312.1), fifth in fewest yards allowed per play (5.0) and seventh in fewest yards allowed per rushing play (3.9).
During Carrier’s term as defensive backs coach in Baltimore, the Ravens had the NFL’s second-most INTs (93), with S Ed Reed performing as one of the league’s premier players. Reed earned Pro Bowl selections in each of his four years playing under Carrier.
As a player, Carrier was a standout safety over 11 seasons for Chicago, Detroit and Washington, earning three Pro Bowl selections. He was an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year selection in 1990, when Chicago made him the sixth overall pick in the draft. He also went to the Pro Bowl with the Bears after the 1991 and ’93 seasons, and he opened his career by playing in 108 consecutive games, not missing a contest due to injury until his seventh campaign.
As a Detroit player, Carrier twice received the team’s Joe Schmidt Leadership Award, named for the Lions’ Hall of Fame linebacker.
He finished his NFL career with 168 games played, 164 starts, 32 INTs, 111 passes defensed, 16 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 556 tackles.
He played in college at Southern California and won the 1989 Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the player voted the nation’s top defensive back.
Carrier’s hometown is Lake Charles, La. He and his wife, Andrea, have a son (Mac) and a daughter (Lexi). Mark established the MacKids Foundation in honor of his son, to raise money for causes including disaster relief.
In 2001 and ’02, before beginning his career in coaching, he worked as a full-time sports commentator with various radio and TV outlets, including a role as co-host of the pregame and postgame shows on the USC Football Radio Network. He prepped for his media work by serving in a part-time role during his playing career as an on-air personality with two Chicago television stations.
Playing and coaching history: 1987-89—Played safety, Southern California. 1990-96—Played safety, Chicago Bears. 1997-99—Played safety, Detroit Lions. 2000—Played safety, Washington Redskins. 2003—Assistant coach (AC), Brophy College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.). 2004-05—AC, Arizona State. 2006-09—AC, Baltimore Ravens. 2010-11—AC, N.Y. Jets. 2012-present—AC, Cincinnati Bengals.