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Al Saunders
Sr. Assistant/Special Projects

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Al Saunders joined the Browns as senior offensive assistant on Jan. 22, 2016. He works primarily with the wide receivers. Saunders has more than 40 years of coaching experience, including the past 34 in the NFL. He has been part of 15 playoff teams, five division titles and one Super Bowl championship as an NFL coach. His offensive units have ranked first in the NFL in total offense, passing, rushing or scoring 20 times.

He has been named NFL Offensive Coach of the Year (2005) and credited with the development of the two greatest receiving corps in NFL history (as documented by NFL Films) the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” and the San Diego Chargers “Air Coryell”.

Last season, he helped Terrelle Pryor make a successful transition from quarterback to wide receiver. In his first season at the position, Pryor led the team in receptions (77), receiving yards (1,007) and receiving touchdowns (four). His reception total was the fourth-most by a Browns wide receiver and his yardage total was seventh-most by a Browns wide receiver. Pryor also became just the second player in NFL history to record seasons with 1,000 passing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, joining Marlin Briscoe (1968 and 1970). Saunders also helped develop 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman, who was named NFL Rookie of the Week after a 104-yard, two touchdown performance in Week 2.   

In 2015, Saunders served as senior offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins. Working primarily with the wide receivers, Jarvis Landry set a franchise record with 110 receptions and became the most productive receiver in NFL history during his first two seasons with a total of 194 receptions.

Prior to Miami, Saunders spent four seasons (2011-14) with the Oakland Raiders. In 2011, he served as offensive coordinator for Head Coach Hue Jackson. During that season, Oakland’s offense finished with the second-highest yardage total in franchise history (6,072) and ranked among the NFL leaders in rushing, total offense and passing. In addition, the Raiders ranked second in the league in explosive plays of 20-yards-or-more with 84, first in two minute scoring offense and set a franchise record by allowing just 25 sacks.

Saunders also spent two seasons (2009-10) with Baltimore, serving as senior offensive assistant for Head Coach John Harbaugh. Saunders helped the Ravens advance to the postseason both years.

Saunders served as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2008, returning to the franchise nearly a decade after helping the team win Super Bowl XXXIV with one of the most explosive offenses in league history. Saunders helped create “The Greatest Show on Turf,” establishing NFL records in 2000 of 7,075 total yards, 5,232 passing yards and 540 points (33.8 avg.). In 1999, the Rams finished atop the NFL with 6,412 yards of total offense, 272.1 passing yards per game and 32.9 points per game. As associate head coach (1999-2000), his work with future Hall of Fame receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce was largely cited as a key factor in the Rams innovative and creative offensive success.

Between stints with the Rams, Saunders led Washington’s offense for two seasons (2006-07), under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. As the associate head coach/offense, he helped the Redskins to a playoff berth in 2007. In 2006, the Redskins produced one of the league’s top rushing attacks and quarterback Mark Brunell established an NFL record with 22 consecutive completions in a single game.

Saunders served as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for Dick Vermeil with Kansas City from 2001-05, having previously spent 10 years with the Chiefs as assistant head coach/receivers for Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98). During his second stint with the Chiefs, Saunders’ offense set 46 franchise records and produced 2,157 points, 262 touchdowns and 30,470 net yards, more than any other NFL team during that five-season span. In 2005, he was named USA Today’s Offensive Coach of the Year as the Chiefs led the NFL in total offense in back-to-back years.

In 2004, the Chiefs led the NFL in total offense for the first time in team history, accumulating a franchise-record 6,695 yards (418.4 avg.) and breaking or tying 18 single-season records. The Chiefs also broke or tied numerous NFL records, establishing a single-season record with 398 first downs and tying a 42-year old mark with 63 rushing touchdowns over two seasons. Kansas City became the first team in NFL history to produce three running backs that recorded 150-yard rushing performances and was the first team to post eight rushing touchdowns in one game. Tight end Tony Gonzalez also set the NFL single-season receiving mark for tight ends with 102 receptions and quarterback Trent Green became the fourth player in NFL history to finish four consecutive seasons with a QB rating of more than 90.0.

In 2003, the Chiefs led the NFL in scoring for the second straight season with a franchise-record 484 points and posted the highest red zone touchdown scoring percentage (77.8) in league history. Running back Priest Holmes set an NFL single-season record with 27 rushing touchdowns and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year. In 2002, Saunders’ offense led the league in scoring with 467 points and broke or tied 22 single-season team records, including the long-standing NFL record for fewest fumbles (two) and the mark for longest touchdown pass in league history (99 yards) and the most combined first downs in a game (64). In 2001, Kansas City’s offense ranked in the NFL top-10 in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense, and Holmes led the league in rushing with 1,555 yards.

His first NFL head coaching position came with the Chargers as interim head coach in 1986, following the resignation of Don Coryell. He spent two full seasons as the Chargers head coach after previously filling the roles of assistant head coach (1985-86) and receivers coach (1983-84) for “Air Coryell,” one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. In 1985, the Chargers led the NFL in passing and total offense five times in six seasons. Saunders tutored Hall of Fame Receivers Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner, and oversaw the development of Pro Bowlers Wes Chandler, Lionel James and Gary Anderson.

Prior to entering the NFL, Saunders spent 12 years as an assistant on the collegiate level. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at USC under the legendary John McKay from 1970-71 and served as receivers coach on Missouri’s 1972 Fiesta Bowl team. Following three seasons as play-caller and offensive backfield coach at Utah State, where Louie Giammona led the nation in all-purpose yardage for two consecutive years (1974-75), Saunders spent six seasons at California as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Coaching All-American quarterbacks Joe Roth and Rich Campbell, he guided the Golden Bears to 32 NCAA, conference and school records and finished each season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing. His final collegiate stop was in 1982 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach under head coach Johnny Majors at Tennessee, where he tutored an explosive, record-breaking offense featuring NFL first-round pick wide receivers Willie Gault and Clyde Duncan.

A Native of Hendon, England, Saunders earned Academic All-America honors at San Joe State as a three-year starter and team captain at defensive back and wide receiver from 1966-68. He was later inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He is a former All-American swimmer and national record holder in the sport and also an accomplished distance runner, crowned the Road Runners Club of America’s Master 5K National Champion in 1996. He was the recipient of California’s State Graduate Fellowship and earned a master’s degree in education from Stanford University in 1970. Recognized in “Who’s Who in America”, Saunders was awarded California’s prestigious Golden State Award in 1989, given for community leadership and service. In 2016, he received the “Distinguished Achievement Award” for meritorious professional and life accomplishments. He also was enshrined into the National Hall of Honor of Theta Chi Fraternity.

Saunders attended St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, Calif. His great-uncle, Ron Saunders, was an English soccer player and coach, who managed Aston Villa to a league cup and its first division titles.

Saunders is married to the former Karen Mize, daughter of recording artist Billy Mize, who was a three-time winner of the Academy of Country Music’s Personality of the Year (1965-67). Saunders has three children, distinguished clinical psychologist Dr. Korrin Saunders, Emmy Award winning director/producer Williams J. Saunders and NFL assistant coach Bob Saunders. 

Al Saunders’ Coaching Background:

1970-71           University of Southern California, graduate assistant
1972                University of Missouri, wide receivers coach
1973-75           Utah State University, offensive backfield coach
1976-81           University of California, assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
1982                University of Tennessee, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
1983-84           San Diego Chargers, receivers coach
1985-86           San Diego Chargers, assistant head coach/ receivers
1986-88           San Diego Chargers, head coach
1989-98           Kansas City Chiefs, assistant head coach/wide receivers
1999-00           St. Louis Rams, associate head coach/wide receivers
2001-05           Kansas City Chiefs, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator
2006-07           Washington Redskins, associate head coach/offense
2008                St. Louis Rams, offensive coordinator
2009-10           Baltimore Ravens, senior offensive assistant
2011                Oakland Raiders, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2012-14           Oakland Raiders, senior offensive assistant
2015                Miami Dolphins, senior offensive assistant
2016-               Cleveland Browns, senior offensive assistant

Al Saunders joined the Browns as senior offensive assistant on Jan. 22, 2016. He works primarily with the wide receivers. Saunders has more than 40 years of coaching experience, including the past 34 in the NFL. He has been part of 15 playoff teams, five division titles and one Super Bowl championship as an NFL coach. His offensive units have ranked first in the NFL in total offense, passing, rushing or scoring 20 times.

He has been named NFL Offensive Coach of the Year (2005) and credited with the development of the two greatest receiving corps in NFL history (as documented by NFL Films) the St. Louis Rams “Greatest Show on Turf” and the San Diego Chargers “Air Coryell”.

Last season, he helped Terrelle Pryor make a successful transition from quarterback to wide receiver. In his first season at the position, Pryor led the team in receptions (77), receiving yards (1,007) and receiving touchdowns (four). His reception total was the fourth-most by a Browns wide receiver and his yardage total was seventh-most by a Browns wide receiver. Pryor also became just the second player in NFL history to record seasons with 1,000 passing yards and 1,000 receiving yards, joining Marlin Briscoe (1968 and 1970). Saunders also helped develop 2016 first-round pick Corey Coleman, who was named NFL Rookie of the Week after a 104-yard, two touchdown performance in Week 2.   

In 2015, Saunders served as senior offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins. Working primarily with the wide receivers, Jarvis Landry set a franchise record with 110 receptions and became the most productive receiver in NFL history during his first two seasons with a total of 194 receptions.

Prior to Miami, Saunders spent four seasons (2011-14) with the Oakland Raiders. In 2011, he served as offensive coordinator for Head Coach Hue Jackson. During that season, Oakland’s offense finished with the second-highest yardage total in franchise history (6,072) and ranked among the NFL leaders in rushing, total offense and passing. In addition, the Raiders ranked second in the league in explosive plays of 20-yards-or-more with 84, first in two minute scoring offense and set a franchise record by allowing just 25 sacks.

Saunders also spent two seasons (2009-10) with Baltimore, serving as senior offensive assistant for Head Coach John Harbaugh. Saunders helped the Ravens advance to the postseason both years.

Saunders served as offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2008, returning to the franchise nearly a decade after helping the team win Super Bowl XXXIV with one of the most explosive offenses in league history. Saunders helped create “The Greatest Show on Turf,” establishing NFL records in 2000 of 7,075 total yards, 5,232 passing yards and 540 points (33.8 avg.). In 1999, the Rams finished atop the NFL with 6,412 yards of total offense, 272.1 passing yards per game and 32.9 points per game. As associate head coach (1999-2000), his work with future Hall of Fame receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce was largely cited as a key factor in the Rams innovative and creative offensive success.

Between stints with the Rams, Saunders led Washington’s offense for two seasons (2006-07), under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs. As the associate head coach/offense, he helped the Redskins to a playoff berth in 2007. In 2006, the Redskins produced one of the league’s top rushing attacks and quarterback Mark Brunell established an NFL record with 22 consecutive completions in a single game.

Saunders served as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for Dick Vermeil with Kansas City from 2001-05, having previously spent 10 years with the Chiefs as assistant head coach/receivers for Marty Schottenheimer (1989-98). During his second stint with the Chiefs, Saunders’ offense set 46 franchise records and produced 2,157 points, 262 touchdowns and 30,470 net yards, more than any other NFL team during that five-season span. In 2005, he was named USA Today’s Offensive Coach of the Year as the Chiefs led the NFL in total offense in back-to-back years.

In 2004, the Chiefs led the NFL in total offense for the first time in team history, accumulating a franchise-record 6,695 yards (418.4 avg.) and breaking or tying 18 single-season records. The Chiefs also broke or tied numerous NFL records, establishing a single-season record with 398 first downs and tying a 42-year old mark with 63 rushing touchdowns over two seasons. Kansas City became the first team in NFL history to produce three running backs that recorded 150-yard rushing performances and was the first team to post eight rushing touchdowns in one game. Tight end Tony Gonzalez also set the NFL single-season receiving mark for tight ends with 102 receptions and quarterback Trent Green became the fourth player in NFL history to finish four consecutive seasons with a QB rating of more than 90.0.

In 2003, the Chiefs led the NFL in scoring for the second straight season with a franchise-record 484 points and posted the highest red zone touchdown scoring percentage (77.8) in league history. Running back Priest Holmes set an NFL single-season record with 27 rushing touchdowns and was named NFL Offensive Player of the Year. In 2002, Saunders’ offense led the league in scoring with 467 points and broke or tied 22 single-season team records, including the long-standing NFL record for fewest fumbles (two) and the mark for longest touchdown pass in league history (99 yards) and the most combined first downs in a game (64). In 2001, Kansas City’s offense ranked in the NFL top-10 in rushing, passing, scoring and total offense, and Holmes led the league in rushing with 1,555 yards.

His first NFL head coaching position came with the Chargers as interim head coach in 1986, following the resignation of Don Coryell. He spent two full seasons as the Chargers head coach after previously filling the roles of assistant head coach (1985-86) and receivers coach (1983-84) for “Air Coryell,” one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. In 1985, the Chargers led the NFL in passing and total offense five times in six seasons. Saunders tutored Hall of Fame Receivers Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner, and oversaw the development of Pro Bowlers Wes Chandler, Lionel James and Gary Anderson.

Prior to entering the NFL, Saunders spent 12 years as an assistant on the collegiate level. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at USC under the legendary John McKay from 1970-71 and served as receivers coach on Missouri’s 1972 Fiesta Bowl team. Following three seasons as play-caller and offensive backfield coach at Utah State, where Louie Giammona led the nation in all-purpose yardage for two consecutive years (1974-75), Saunders spent six seasons at California as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Coaching All-American quarterbacks Joe Roth and Rich Campbell, he guided the Golden Bears to 32 NCAA, conference and school records and finished each season ranked in the top 10 in the nation in passing. His final collegiate stop was in 1982 as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach under head coach Johnny Majors at Tennessee, where he tutored an explosive, record-breaking offense featuring NFL first-round pick wide receivers Willie Gault and Clyde Duncan.

A Native of Hendon, England, Saunders earned Academic All-America honors at San Joe State as a three-year starter and team captain at defensive back and wide receiver from 1966-68. He was later inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He is a former All-American swimmer and national record holder in the sport and also an accomplished distance runner, crowned the Road Runners Club of America’s Master 5K National Champion in 1996. He was the recipient of California’s State Graduate Fellowship and earned a master’s degree in education from Stanford University in 1970. Recognized in “Who’s Who in America”, Saunders was awarded California’s prestigious Golden State Award in 1989, given for community leadership and service. In 2016, he received the “Distinguished Achievement Award” for meritorious professional and life accomplishments. He also was enshrined into the National Hall of Honor of Theta Chi Fraternity.

Saunders attended St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, Calif. His great-uncle, Ron Saunders, was an English soccer player and coach, who managed Aston Villa to a league cup and its first division titles.

Saunders is married to the former Karen Mize, daughter of recording artist Billy Mize, who was a three-time winner of the Academy of Country Music’s Personality of the Year (1965-67). Saunders has three children, distinguished clinical psychologist Dr. Korrin Saunders, Emmy Award winning director/producer Williams J. Saunders and NFL assistant coach Bob Saunders. 

Al Saunders’ Coaching Background:

1970-71           University of Southern California, graduate assistant
1972                University of Missouri, wide receivers coach
1973-75           Utah State University, offensive backfield coach
1976-81           University of California, assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
1982                University of Tennessee, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach
1983-84           San Diego Chargers, receivers coach
1985-86           San Diego Chargers, assistant head coach/ receivers
1986-88           San Diego Chargers, head coach
1989-98           Kansas City Chiefs, assistant head coach/wide receivers
1999-00           St. Louis Rams, associate head coach/wide receivers
2001-05           Kansas City Chiefs, assistant head coach/offensive coordinator
2006-07           Washington Redskins, associate head coach/offense
2008                St. Louis Rams, offensive coordinator
2009-10           Baltimore Ravens, senior offensive assistant
2011                Oakland Raiders, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
2012-14           Oakland Raiders, senior offensive assistant
2015                Miami Dolphins, senior offensive assistant
2016-               Cleveland Browns, senior offensive assistant

 

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