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Browns hire CFL head coach/GM Chris Jones as defensive specialist

Jones and Freddie Kitchens were together at Alabama in 1997.

Edmonton Eskimos v Saskatchewan Roughriders Photo by Brent Just/Getty Images

Long-time connections sometimes pay off with respect to finding your way into the NFL.

Tuesday night, David William Naylor of TSN reported that Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach and general manager Chris Jones has accepted a job with the Cleveland Browns. TSN also reported that Jones’ title with the Browns will be Senior Defensive Specialist.

Jones has worked as a college and CFL coach since 1995, but has never held a position in the NFL. Why did Freddie Kitchens pluck him away, then? Because of the connection. As Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer points out, Jones was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 1997, which is the final year that Kitchens was a quarterback for the club. Jones was named CFL coach of the year in 2018 — so even though he lacks NFL experience, it still says something to get that type of recognition in a professional football league.