The Cleveland Browns have found their replacement for Mike Priefer, as multiple reports on Thursday indicated that they are hiring Bubba Ventrone to be their new special teams coordinator. This goes along with the strong speculation from the past few days that Ventrone would be offered the job.
The #Browns are hiring Bubba Ventrone as their assistant head coach/special teams coordinator, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 23, 2023
Ventrone, 40, played four seasons in Cleveland (2009-12). Now, he returns on Kevin Stefanski’s staff after building one of the NFL’s top units in Indianapolis. A big hire. pic.twitter.com/qdI4aSRxL1
An interesting wrinkle to the hiring is that Ventrone was also given the title of “assistant head coach.” Some teams will do that when coaches are making lateral moves, but that didn’t seem to be the case with Ventrone, who has been the special teams coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts since 2018. The Colts hired Shane Steichen as their head coach last week, though, and the Browns requested permission to interview Ventrone.
Ventrone played for the Browns from 2009-2012 and was regarded as a special teams ace. He finished off his playing career with the San Francisco 49ers before moving into coaching — first as an assistant special teams coach with the Patriots from 2015-2017, and then as the coordinator for the Colts from 2018-2022.
It’s unclear yet whether Ventrone will bring along Joe Hastings as his assistant special teams coach, as the two worked together the past two seasons. It’s also not known what will happen with Stephen Bravo-Brown, who was a defensive quality control coach in 2021 for the Browns and then the assistant special teams coach under Priefer in 2022.