Browns Connections: Divisional Playoffs

Posted Jan 10, 2013

Several players and coaches competing in this weekend’s NFL Divisional Playoff games have connections to Cleveland and the Browns organization.

With the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs set to begin Saturday, several players and coaches on the participating teams have a connection to Cleveland and the state of Ohio. takes a look at those connections.

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos, 4:30pm ET Saturday on CBS


Browns offensive tackle Oniel Cousins was a third-round pick of the Ravens in 2008 and played three seasons in Baltimore from 2008-10. Defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen was an undrafted free-agent signee of the Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft.

Joshua Cribbs (Washington, D.C./Dunbar High School), defensive backs Joe Haden (Fort Washington/Friendly) Johnson Bademosi (Silver Springs/Gonzaga) and Usama Young (Largo) and defensive lineman Phil Taylor (Clinton/Gwynn Park) are Maryland/Washington, D.C. natives.

Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson played football at the University of Maryland.

Cleveland’s assistant strength and conditioning coach, Rick Lyle, was a defensive lineman for the Ravens during the 1996 season.

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome was selected by the Browns with the No. 23 overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft and became a Hall of Fame inductee after playing with the team from 1978-90. Newsome still holds seven franchise records (most catches in a career, season and game, most consecutive games with a catch, yards in a career and game and most seasons with 50 or more receptions).

Newsome got his start in the front office with the Browns’ pro personnel department from 1991-95.

Baltimore’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator, Jerry Rosburg, coached the Browns’ special teams from 2001-06 and his special teams units ranked in the top 10 in several categories during that time.

Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks served in the same capacity with the Browns in 1999.

Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees was Cribbs’ head coach at Kent State and guided him to 13 school records. Under Pees’ direction, Cribbs became only the second player in NCAA history to rush for and also throw for more than 1,000 yards in a single season.

Chris Hewitt, Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach, served as an intern with the Browns in 2001 through the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Perrysburg/Miami of Ohio), inside linebackers coach Don Martindale (Dayton/Defiance College) and Pees (Dunkirk/Bowling Green State University) are Ohio natives.


Browns tight end Alex Smith (Denver) and offensive lineman Ryan Miller (Littleton) are Colorado natives. Defensive lineman Frostee Rucker was a redshirt freshman at Colorado State in 2001.

Browns offensive assistant Chris Beake grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., and is a graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He was a graduate assistant for the Air Force Academy in 1994. Beake is the son of longtime Broncos general manager, John Beake, who held the job from 1984-98.

Ray Rhodes, the senior assistant to the defense, was the Broncos’ defensive coordinator from 2001-02.

Browns defensive backs coach Tim Hauck played for the Broncos from 1995-96.

Broncos defensive back Mike Adams played for the Browns from 2007-11.

Defensive back David Bruton went to Miamisburg High School, while kicker Matt Prater (Mayfield Heights), linebacker Danny Trevathan (Youngstown), and defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (Lisbon/Beaver Local) are Ohio natives.

Wolfe attended the University of Cincinnati.

Broncos defensive quality control coach Cory Undlin was a Browns assistant from 2005-08. In 2005-06, Undlin was a defensive quality control coach. In 2007, he served as a secondary and assistant special teams coach. He was the Browns’ defensive backs coach in 2008.

Denver defensive line coach Jay Rodgers was a recruiting coordinator at The Ohio State University in 2000, while running backs coach Eric Studesville was the secondary coach at Kent State University from 1995-96. Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert served in the same capacity at Ohio University in 1995.

Broncos director of player development Jerry Butler spent 12 seasons with the Browns, first as a coach (1999-2000) and then in the player development department (2001-2010).

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco, 8:00pm ET Saturday on FOX


Browns running back Brandon Jackson spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Packers and earned a championship ring with the team in Super Bowl XLV.

Browns senior advisor Gil Haskell served as an assistant with the Packers from 1992-97.

Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron was the Packers’ defensive backs coach from 1986-94. Rhodes was the Packers’ head coach in 1999 and also served as the team’s defensive coordinator from 1992-93.

Strength and conditioning coach Kent Johnston served as the Packers’ strength and conditioning coach from 1992-98, while linebackers coach Bill Davis was a defensive assistant/defensive line coach for Green Bay in 2000.

Hauck played for the Packers from 1991-94, and senior assistant Nolan Cromwell was Green Bay’s special teams coordinator from 1992-97, as well as the wide receivers coach in 1998.

Browns offensive coordinator Brad Childress coached the running backs (1991) and served as quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator (1992-98) at the University of Wisconsin.

Running backs coach Gary Brown worked with the Packers in 2006 as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

Five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas is a native of Brookfield, Wis. He went to Brookfield Central High School and played football at the University of Wisconsin.

Packers quarterback Graham Harrell was with the Browns for rookie minicamp in both 2009 and 2010.

Packers wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett and offensive line coach James Campen played for Haskell in Green Bay.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was born in Cambridge, Ohio, and later became a safety/linebacker for the University of Mount Union in Alliance. He also served as an assistant coach at Kent State (1972-74) and Ohio State (1982-83).

Green Bay quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo coached at The University of Akron (2003-04), and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac was a two-sport, All-Ohio athlete at Austintown-Fitch High School. Trgovac was born in Youngstown.

Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (Centerville), tight end Tom Crabtree (Columbus/Bloom Carroll), running back Brandon Saine (Piqua), defensive end Jerel Worthy (Dayton/Huber Heights Wayne) and multi-time Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson (Fremont/Ross) are Ohio natives.

Hawk (Ohio State), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (Ohio State), Saine (Ohio State), and Crabtree (Miami of Ohio) played college football in Ohio.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III is the son of Browns Legend, Clay Matthews, who played in the more games (232) and consecutive seasons (16) than anyone in the history of the Browns organization. Matthews played in Cleveland from 1978-93.

San Francisco/49ers

Haskell was a high school coach in the San Francisco area before working his way through the college and professional ranks.

Hauck played for the 49ers in 2002.

Beake was an assistant coach with the 49ers from 1999-2003 and again in 2010. During his time in San Francisco, Beake was a quality control/defense coach (1999), defensive assistant (2000-02) and offensive assistant (2003, 2010).

Defensive line coach Dwaine Board was San Francisco’s assistant defensive line coach from 1990-93 and the defensive line coach from 1994-2002. Before coaching with the 49ers, Board played with the team from 1979-88. He was part of two Super Bowl teams and won Super Bowl XIX Defensive Player of the Game honors in the 49ers’ 38-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

Davis was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator in 2005-06. Offensive line coach George Warhop served in the same capacity with the 49ers from 2005-08. Rhodes served as San Francisco’s assistant secondary coach (1981-82), defensive backs coach (1983-91) and defensive coordinator (1994).

Wide receivers coach Mike Wilson spent 10 seasons with the 49ers (1981-90) and was part of four Super Bowl championships and division titles. Wilson, along with Pittsburgh’s Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, are the only wide receivers in NFL history to win four Super Bowl championships.

The Browns have several California natives on their roster, including: tight end Jordan Cameron (Newbury Park), offensive linemen Alex Mack (Santa Barbara), Cousins (Fullerton) and Mitchell Schwartz (Pacific Palisades), defensive back T.J. Ward (San Francisco), linebacker James-Michael Johnson (Fairchild), defensive lineman Frostee Rucker (Tustin), and long-snapper Christian Yount (Coto de Caza).

Browns fullback Owen Marecic, Alex Smith and cornerback Johnson Bademosi went to Stanford. Mack and Schwartz went to the University of California-Berkeley.

Brad Seely, San Francisco’s special teams coordinator/assistant head coach, held the same position with the Browns from 2009-10.

Kicker Billy Cundiff played for the Browns during the 2009 season.

Offensive lineman Alex Boone (Lakewood/St. Edward/Ohio State), wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. (Cleveland/Glenville/Ohio State) and Mario Manningham (Warren/Harding) and safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland/Glenville/Ohio State) are Ohio natives.

Linebacker Larry Grant spent two years at Ohio State.

Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00pm ET, Sunday on FOX


Haskell spent nine years with the Seahawks, first as the offensive coordinator (2000-06) and then, the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator (2007-08).

Beake was Seattle’s quality control/offensive coach in 2008, and the offensive assistant/assistant special teams coach in 2009, while Board coached the defensive line in Seattle from 2003-08.

Cromwell was Seattle’s wide receivers coach from 1999-2007, and Johnston served as Seahawks strength and conditioning coach from 1999-2003.

Rhodes was Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2003-05, and was in charge of special projects for the defense from 2006-07.

Seattle quarterbacks coach Carl Smith was an assistant for the Browns from 2001-03, and again in 2009-10.

Seattle defensive end Greg Scruggs (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) is an Ohio native.

Seahawks wide receiver Phil Bates played football at Ohio University.


Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie was the Browns’ offensive coordinator and interim head coach during the 2004 season and spent 2001-03 and 2005-06 as the team’s wide receivers coach.

Thomas Dimitroff, general manager of the Falcons, spent 1998-2001 as a college scout for the Browns.

Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and tight end Benjamin Watson attended The University of Georgia.

Browns defensive back Buster Skrine is a native of Woodstock, Ga.

Browns assistant athletic trainer Andre Tucker was with the Falcons in the same capacity from 2008-09.

Falcons offensive lineman Phillipkeith Manley (Hamilton High School/University of Toledo) is an Ohio native.

Falcons quarterback Luke McCown started his NFL career with the Browns in 2004. He made four starts and completed 48 of 98 attempts for 608 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Atlanta defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi is Mohamed Massaquoi’s cousins.

Houston Texans at New England Patriots, 4:30 ET, Sunday on CBS


Rhodes spent three seasons coaching with the Texans. Rhodes was the assistant defensive backs coach in 2008 and the senior assistant defensive coach from 2009-10. Rhodes is a native of Mexia, Texas and played two years of football at Texas Christian University.

Running back Chris Ogbonnaya spent the 2010 season on the Texans’ practice squad and played in two games in 2011 before being signed by the Browns. Ogbonnaya is a native of Houston.

Johnston is also a native of Mexia and went to Stephen F. Austin University. He coached at both Teague and Willis high schools in Texas.

Cromwell was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M from 2008-09.

The Browns have several Texas natives on their roster, including linebackers Craig Robertson (Stafford) and Tank Carder (Sweeny), kicker Phil Dawson (Dallas/Lake Highlands), defensive lineman Juqua Parker (Houston/Aldine) defensive backs Tashuan Gipson (Dallas/Kimball) and Trevin Wade (Round Rock/Stony Point), quarterback Colt McCoy (Tuscola/Jim Ned), Ogbonnaya (Houston/Strake Jesuit College Preparatory School) and wide receiver Josh Gordon (Houston/Lamar).

Robertson (University of North Texas), Dawson, Ogbonnaya and McCoy (University of Texas), Carder (TCU), Cousins (University of Texas-El Paso), Gordon and Taylor (Baylor) and Ahtyba Rubin (Trinity Valley Community College) all went to college in Texas.

Houston wide receiver DeVier Posey (Cincinnati/LaSalle) is an Ohio native. He played football at Ohio State.

Texans outside linebacker Connor Barwin went to the University of Cincinnati, and guard Brandon Brooks played at Miami (Ohio) University.

Patriots/New England

Patriots coach Bill Belichick compiled a 36-44 record as head coach of the Browns from 1991 to 1995. He took the Browns to the playoffs in 1994, just four seasons removed from a 3-13 finish under Bud Carson and Jim Shofner.

Patriots linebackers coach Thomas “Pepper” Johnson played with the Browns from 1993 to 1995, amassing 5.5 quarterback sacks and two interceptions during his time in Cleveland.

New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels grew up in Barberton, Ohio, and played football at Canton McKinley High School before starring at John Carroll University.

Watson (2004-09), Dawson (practice squad in 1998), punter Reggie Hodges (practice squad in 2008), defensive back Ray Ventrone (2006-08), and Alex Smith (2009 offseason) all played for the Patriots.

Punter Zoltan Mesko (Twinsburg), wide receiver Jeremy Ebert (Hilliard), defensive back Nate Ebner (Dublin/Ohio State) and tight end Jake Ballard (Springboro/Ohio State) are from Ohio.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman, much like Cribbs, played quarterback for Kent State.

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