On Friday, the Cleveland Browns announced the hiring of Callie Brownson, who will serve as the Chief of Staff for head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Brownson served as a full-time coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills in 2019, but the title of Chief of Staff for an NFL coaching staff may leave one wondering, “what does that role entail?” It is not a title that I recall seeing on Cleveland’s coaching staff since I’ve been covering the Browns. Fortunately, in the team’s announcement, the role is compared to the title of “assistant to the head coach,” which is a title that Stefanski held in 2006 when he got his first NFL job under then-Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
Stefanski talked about Brownson’s potential and the unique position she is in to make a wide-ranging impact:
“It’s very involved in every aspect of a football operation. Callie is uniquely situated where she can go interact with football ops or PR or the locker room or the equipment room. She’s really the liaison to the rest of the building for me. I’m going to lean on her heavily and already have. I think she’s a go-getter. She’s self-motivated. She’s going to put all of her energy into this gig. What’s exciting for me is ultimately I want to develop young coaches. She’s someone that has worked on the offensive side of the ball, worked on special teams, has a great knowledge of the game and I want to let her expand that knowledge and develop her as a head coach.”
Brownson brings a solid football background to the team, having played for eight seasons with the D.C. Divas of the Women’s Football Alliance. She is also a two-time gold medalist with Team USA, bringing home medals at the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championships in Finland in 2013 and Vancouver in 2017.
She began her coaching career while still playing the game, working for three seasons with the Mount Vernon High School team. From there, she went on to spend the 2017 season as a college/professional personnel scouting intern with the New York Jets, turned a two-week internship at Dartmouth College into a full-time position as an offensive quality control coach in 2018. As mentioned previously, she spent last season as a coaching intern with the Bills. You can read more about Brownson’s background here.
Brownson is the first woman in NFL history to hold the title of Chief of Staff for a team, and the first female coach in Browns history. The hire has been made with near-universal praise, with many crediting the Browns for their diversity and inclusion hirings, not just with Brownson, but general manager Andrew Berry, among others.