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NFL History: Callie Brownson, Browns Interim Tight End Coach

Callie Brownson Makes NFL History as the First Woman to Hold a Position Coaching Role

It was a history-making weekend for the sport of football. Sarah Fuller, a senior and starting goalie at Vanderbilt University, became the first woman to play in a Power Five game when she took the field as a kicker on Saturday, Nov. 28. Then, the following day, Cleveland Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson filled in for the team's tight ends coach Drew Petzing in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This made her the first known woman to hold a position coaching role in NFL history during a regular season matchup.

Petzing's wife gave birth to their first child on Saturday, and he left Brownson in charge. She therefore acted as the interim tight ends coach — but breaking barriers is nothing new for her. She along with Washington Football Team's full-year coaching intern Jennifer King and down judge Sarah Thomas made history together on Sept. 27. It marked the first time in an NFL game that opposing teams' coaching staffs included women and there was a woman officiating as well.

What's more, Brownson is Dartmouth's first female quality control coach to get hired by the NFL. Her role at Dartmouth also made her the first full-time female coach in Division I football. She was a full-time coaching intern for the Buffalo Bills' 2019 season, then became the Cleveland Browns' chief of staff in 2020, making her the first woman to hold a coaching position with that team.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game on Nov. 29 that Brownson, who also played eight seasons of tackle football for the DC Divas of the Women's Football Alliance (WFA), can fill in "anywhere." He explained, "She is involved with the offence, defence, and special teams, and what she does behind the scenes for us. With what 2020 has brought to us, to me, and to this organisation, we need people to be team players." Stefanski added, "I am proud of her and proud of her journey, and it is going to continue here."

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