Following the surprising departure of Cardinals receivers coach David Raih after the conclusion of the season, multiple reports have head coach Kliff Kingsbury hiring Shawn Jefferson to fill that role.
Jefferson has had a long career as a player and assistant coach in the NFL dating back to 1991 when he was a ninth-round pick (240th overall) by the Houston Oilers.
While he never played for the Oilers, Jefferson had 470 receptions for 7,023 yards (14.9-yard average) and 29 touchdowns with the formerly-known San Diego Chargers (five seasons), New England Patriots (four), Atlanta Falcons (three) and Detroit lions (one) from 1991 to 2003.
His best seasons were with the Patriots from 1996-99, when he averaged 17.3 yards per catch including a league-leading average of 22.7 in 1998. The Patriots lost to the Green Bay Packers 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI with Bill Parcells as head coach. In three playoff games that year, Jefferson had 10 receptions for 143 yards. New England’s head coach from 1997-99 was current Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.
Jefferson has been a receivers coach for 16 seasons in the NFL, most recently with the New York Jets where he was also an assistant head coach/offense. He coached for the Lions from 2005-2012 when Hall of Fame finalist Calvin Johnson was in Detroit for the first six seasons of his career and subsequently has been with the Titans (2013-2015), Miami Dolphins (2016-2018) and Jets (2019-2020).
Several current Cardinals assistant coaches have shared teams with Jefferson.
Defensive assistant Jerry Sullivan was on the Chargers’ coaching staff when Jefferson played in San Diego.
Concurrent times on coaching staffs occurred with offensive line coach Sean Kugler (Detroit, 2005); defensive backs coach Marcus Robertson (Detroit, 2012); outside linebackers coach Charlie Bullen and defensive assistant Rusty McKinney (both Miami, 2016-2018) and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph (Miami, 2016).
Jefferson’s son, Van, is a wide receiver with the Los Angeles Rams and was selected in the second round of the 2020 draft.