John Settle, the new running backs coach for the Browns, has returned to the place where his NFL coaching career started, on a Cleveland sideline.
In 1995, Settle served as an offensive assistant and special teams quality control coach on Bill Belichick’s final staff before the team moved to Baltimore following the season.
Returning to Cleveland on coach Rob Chudzinski’s first staff in Cleveland was a chance Settle said he could not pass up.
“I’m very excited,” Settle said. “It’s an opportunity for me. We talk about a career going full-circle, and mine definitely has gone full-circle, as of now. I started here in ’95 and now, I’m back with an opportunity to hopefully be here longer.
“I’m excited about the players I see on the roster. I’m excited about the staff that Coach Chud has put together. They’re very knowledgeable on both sides of the ball, and this city deserves a winner. I think they should be excited about what we’re getting ready to do here.”
Settle said the first thing he noticed about being an NFL coach from working under Belichick was the long hours that go into preparing a team for a game.
“I had just finished playing; I knew that I wanted to get into coaching,” Settle said. “The guy working at my position, Steve Crosby, brought me in as a quality control coach, and I really didn’t know what quality control meant until I got here. It was very extensive. I learned from some of the greatest coaches in the NFL, Bill Belichick, Scott O’Brien on special teams, those types of things. From six o’clock in the morning until two o’clock in the morning, it was all football.”
After learning to adjust to the length of the work day, Settle continued his NFL career as the Ravens’ offensive assistant/special teams quality control coach (1996-97) before returning to the college ranks as running backs coach at Fresno State (1998-2005) and the University of Wisconsin (2006-10).
When Settle returned to the NFL in 2011, he did so as running backs coach for the Carolina Panthers. In 2011, the Panthers became the first team in NFL history to have three players rush for at least 700 yards. Running backs DeAngelo Williams (836 yards) and Jonathan Stewart (761), and quarterback Cam Newton (706) helped the Panthers average a franchise-best 5.4 yards per carry.
After helping the Panthers achieve franchise records, Settle has a new goal in mind.
“This is a city that embraces a team,” Settle said of Cleveland. “You go to some places and they’ll like a player. The people here in Cleveland embrace the team. They want to win, and that’s the thing that drives me. I hope it drives the players. You want to bring a championship to a city like Cleveland because, to me, they deserve it. In 1995, they had been so close, and in my mind, they were starving. I still believe that’s true today.”