By Juan Lozano | July 3, 2020
Once a professional football player’s career is over, often times they want some distance from the game. The game isn’t easy on the body and it’s equally as hard on the mind. It takes a toll. Sometimes the departure from the game wasn’t something the player wanted and it becomes for a player to even watch a game.
There are other players that want to be involved with the game. Take for example Luke Kuechly, retired Carolina Panthers linebacker. Kuechkly retired in 2019 but recently accepted a position as a pro scout for his former team.
While front office opportunities might appeal to some former players, coaching attracts others. In this article, we take a look at the former professional football players that are in coaching. We anticipate that there might be more former players entering the coaching profession as the NFL attempts to diversify the coaching ranks.
In order to make this list, a player had to be in training camp, or be a member of a team’s roster.
Here are some tidbits about former players turned coaches.
TEAMS: Some teams and coaches like hiring former players. Others don’t. There’s a benefit to having former professional players on a staff. They can relate to the players and understand what it feels like to sit in a team meeting room, or take the practice field.
Some coaches don’t like hiring former players because of the perception that players are not willing or able to complete or perform some of the administrative tasks necessary in coaching such as data input, drawing up cards, etc. We see that as a convenient excuse that teams use to avoid giving a former player an opportunity.
Here is an example of some organizational hiring practices that stand out:
- Detroit has six former players on their coaching staff. Five of them were members of the Patriots. (OL coach Hank Fraley is the lone non-Patriot).
- New England has Jerod Mayo as the only former player on their staff. However, there are two Belichicks not named Bill on staff. (Sons Steve and Brian are both on the coaching staff).
- Dallas retained two former players (Leon Lett and Kellen Moore). Both are seen as untouchable in their buildings.
HEAD COACHES: There are nine former head coaches that participated in professional football as a player. Five of the nine were quarterbacks.
|QB||Other Offense Position||LB|
HALL OF FAME: There are many former players turned coaches that had long and outstanding NFL careers. However, there is only one that is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Broncos OL coach Mike Munchak.
Below is the complete list of former players turned NFL coaches.
|ATL||Kronenberg, Bob||OL Ass’t|
|ATL||Schulters, Lance||Def. Ass’t|
|ATL||Ulbrich, Jeff||LB/ Ass’t HC|
|AZ||Natkin, Brian||Ass’t OL|
|BAL||Angulo, Richard||Ass’t OL|
|BAL||Hewitt, Chris||Pass Def. Coord.|
|BUF||Cesaire, Jacques||Ass’t DL|
|CAR||Okam, Frank||Ass’t DL|
|CAR||Simmons, Jason||Def. PGC|
|CHI||Jackson, Chris||Ass’t WR/ Off. QC|
|CHI||Raiola, Donovan||Ass’t OL|
|CLE||Lynch, Brandon||Ass’t DB|
|CLE||Peters, Scott||Ass’t OL|
|CLE||Van Pelt, Alex||QB|
|DAL||Lett, Leon||Ass’t DL|
|DAL||Tolzien, Scott||Coach Ass’t|
|DEN||Kuper, Chris||Ass’t OL|
|DET||Warren, Ty||MINORITY COACHING ASS’T|
|DET||Washington, Leon||MINORITY COACHING ASS’T|
|DET||Yates, Billy||Ass’t OL|
|GB||Martin, Ruvell||Coach Ass’t|
|GB||Stewart, Rayna||ST QC|
|HOU||Dent, Akeem||Ass’t HC|
|HOU||Johnson, Andre||Special Advisor to HC/ GM|
|HOU||Weaver, Anthony||DC/ DL|
|HOU||Yates, TJ||Ass’t QB|
|IND||Overstreet, David||Def. QC|
|LV||Clemmons, Cameron||Off. QC|
|LV||King, Austin||Off. QC|
|LV||Storer, Byron||Ass’t ST|
|LAC||Burns, Keith||Ass’t ST|
|LAC||Glover, La’Roi||Ass’t DL|
|LAR||Woodbury, Tory||Ass’t ST|
|JAX||Stukes, Dwayne||Def. Ass’t|
|NO||Johnson, Curtis||Sr. Off. Ass’t|
|NO||Wilhoite, Michael||Def. Ass’t|
|NYG||Wilkerson, Ben||Ass’t OL|
|NYJ||Torrence, Leigh||Ass’t DB|
|NYJ||Vaughn, Chip||Def. Ass’t|
|NYJ||Ward, Hines||Off. Ass’t|
|NYJ||Washington, Todd||Off/ Ass’t|
|NYJ||Wilson, Dennard||PGC/ DB|
|PHI||Bartrum, Mike||Ass’t TE|
|PIT||Klemm, Adrian||Ass’t OL|
|SF||Austin, Miles||Off. QC|
|SF||Clay, Michael||Ass’t ST|
|SEA||Curry, Aaron||Def. Ass’t/ LB|
|SEA||Izzo, Larry||Ass’t ST|
|SEA||Sorenson, Nick||SEC./ Nickels|
|TB||Randle El, Antwan||Off. Ass’t|
|WAS||Del Rio, Jack||DC|
|WAS||Jacobs, Ben||Ass’t ST|
|WAS||Wharton, Travelle||Ass’t OL|
|WAS||Zgonina, Jeff||Ass’t DL|
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