Browns' Callie Brownson to become first woman to work as position coach in NFL history on Sunday

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

The Cleveland Browns are giving Callie Brownson a bigger role for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brownson will take on tight end coach Drew Petzing’s game day responsibilities after Petzing’s wife gave birth Saturday. As a result, Petzing will miss the game against the Jaguars.

With Petzing out, Brownson — who is normally the team’s chief of staff — will take an expanded role with the team.

Per NFL rules, teams are required to announce when a coach misses a game in 2020. Teams must also disclose which coach will assume new responsibilities as a result of that absence.

According to Sam Rapoport, the NFL’s senior director of diversity and inclusion, Brownson will be the first female interim position coach in NFL history. Essentially, she’d be the first woman to ever work at that level in the league.

Brownson’s elevation is the latest step taken among female coaches in the NFL.

Jen Welter broke through in 2015 as an intern with the Arizona Cardinals, while Kathryn Smith became the NFL’s first female full-time coach in 2016 as a special teams quality control coach for the Buffalo Bills. Katie Sowers followed Smith a year later as an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers, eventually becoming the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl (as well as the first openly gay coach) in 2019.

The NFL also hired its first female referee in 2015 with Sarah Thomas.

Callie Brownson has worked her way up in NFL

Brownson has quickly made a name for herself as a coach. In 2018, Dartmouth made Brownson the first full-time woman coach in Division I. The following year, Brownson joined the Buffalo Bills as an intern. She was named the Browns’ chief of staff in January. In that role, Brownson is tasked with being a liaison between head coach Kevin Stefanski and the rest of the staff.

The contest should have massive AFC playoff implications. At 7-3, the Browns are in the thick of the postseason race in the conference.

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