Browns Chief of Staff Callie Brownson will become the first female positional coach in NFL history in Cleveland's game Sunday against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
Brownson will fill in for Browns' tight ends coach Drew Petzing, who will not make the trip after his wife, Louisa, gave birth to the couple's first child early Saturday morning.
Per NFL policy this season, clubs are required to announce when a member of the coaching staff misses a game for any reason. The club must also announce the name and new responsibility assumed by any coach who has his or her normal game-day responsibilities adjusted in response to such absences.
The Browns currently hold the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race.
Callie Brownson knew football was her calling when she felt the devastation of an unexpected defeat, according to a ClevelandBrowns.com feature on her by Andrew Gribble from January. Brownson's father, Bruce, graduated from the University of Miami. Brownson was a child in Virginia when the Hurricanes lost the 2003 Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State. Her favorite team's dream season had ended in demoralizing fashion, and Brownson was crushed.
Brownson served as a full-time coaching intern with the Buffalo Bills in 2019 before being named the Chief of Staff for Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski in January. She grew up in Alexandria, Va., and played in the Fairfax County Youth Football League into her middle school years. She considered playing football at Mount Vernon High School but ultimately shifted her focus to softball, according to Gribble.
Brownson attended George Mason University, figuring her football playing days were long over, but a last-minute tryout with the D.C. Divas of the Women's Football Alliance launched an eight-year playing career (2010-17) that included five seasons as a captain and four as an All-American, per Gribble. Brownson played safety, running back and slot receiver, also won a gold medal with Team USA at the International Federation of American Football Women's World Championships in Finland in 2013 and Vancouver in 2017.