Cleveland Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson will become the first woman to coach a position group during an NFL regular season game Sunday against the Jaguars. Brownson will serve as the team's tight ends coach in place of Drew Petzing, whose wife gave birth to the couple's first child on Saturday morning.
Cleveland announced the hire of Brownson on Jan. 31, a few weeks after Kevin Stefanski was hired as head coach. At the time, Stefanski offered what about Brownson has impressed him most.
"Just working with Callie now for the last couple of weeks, she is outstanding," he said. "I could not be more impressed. That role is really where I broke in, and it is the breeding ground for coaches and that is something that Callie wants to do ultimately is work her way onto the offensive or defensive side.
"As of now, she is the chief of staff. What does that mean? It is that role of anything and everything. I can promise you she has made it and it is going to be a big role. She is going to be able to touch each area of this building and keep me on track, but I just think she is somebody that is always trying to learn so making sure she is in every meeting with me and just learning. I could not be more impressed with Callie."
The coach went a step further to identify the qualities that have allowed Brownson to rise in the coaching profession.
"I think she's a go-getter. She's self-motivated," he said. "She's going to put all of her energy into this gig. What's exciting for me is ultimately I want to develop young coaches. She's someone that has worked on the offensive side of the ball, worked on special teams, has a great knowledge of the game and I want to let her expand that knowledge and develop her as a head coach."
The Browns hired Kathleen Wood as a scouting fellow and Riley Hecklinski as a full-time scouting assistant during the offseason.
The announcement comes one day after Vanderbilt kicker Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 college football game.
Diversifying the sports profession has been an important cause for Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam. The Haslam Sports Group, which also owns the Columbus Crew SC of Major League Soccer, created a "Diversity and Opportunity Fellowship" to "improve the pipeline of diverse future sports industry leaders."
Shortly after hiring Stefanski, the franchise added general manager Andrew Berry, who earned the distinction of being the second active African-American general manager.
Cleveland's game against Jacksonville will be broadcast at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.