A few years back, Brandon Lynch was burning the midnight oil as he prepared for his team's upcoming opponent. A question about a player's technique popped into his head, and he needed an answer.
Instead of waiting until the next morning, Lynch reached out to a mentor he knew was likely doing the same thing he was. It didn't surprise him at all when Joe Woods provided a prompt response.
"I am thinking who in the world is going to be up right now studying ball," Lynch said. "I texted him and immediately he texts back feedback, situational, some certain technique things that we needed that week."
Lynch will just need to make a quick walk down the hall whenever that kind of situation pops up in his new role as Browns assistant defensive backs coach. A former NFL and CFL defensive back who spent the past three years coaching at East Carolina University, Lynch is one of the final additions to Woods' first defensive staff in Cleveland.
"Brandon Lynch has been putting in his work at the collegiate level. Everywhere he's been, people just speak so highly of him," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "He interned with us back at the Vikings with Leslie Frazier and when Joe was there. We have some mutual people that highly recommended Brandon in this role. He really blew us away in his interview process. He's really knowledgeable about the defensive back aspect of the game and is really a first-class individual as well."
Lynch, following a three-year stint as secondary coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University, joined the Vikings in 2013 as a Bill Walsh NFL diversity coaching fellowship. It was a short but impactful stretch of Lynch's career, as he worked closely with Woods, who was the Vikings' defensive backs coach at the time, and other members of Frazier's staff. At the same time, Jeff Howard, who was recently named Cleveland's defensive pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach, was breaking into the NFL as the Vikings' assistant to the head coach.
All three will work closely together to guide the back end of the Browns defense.
"It's guys that I trust and I think they're really good teachers," Stefanski said. "What I'm really excited about, and this goes for the entire staff, is so many of these guys complement each other, whether it's schematically or personality wise. I think there's a complementary aspect of this I was really looking for."
After his internship with the Vikings, Lynch moved on to Northern Iowa, where he served as the team's secondary coach for four seasons. He held the title of associate head coach of the defense for the final two years of a tenure that saw him produce 11 All-Missouri Valley Conference selections and develop three into FCS All-America performers, including Chicago Bears' fourth-round draft choice Deiondre' Hall. In 2017, Lynch worked in the same capacity at East Carolina before shifting his focus to the cornerbacks for 2018-19.
A three-year starter and two-time team captain at Middle Tennessee, Lynch entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent and spent time with the Titans in 2004 and the Colts in 2005-06, winning a Super Bowl with them in his third year in the league. He transitioned to the CFL in 2007 and spent three seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
"It was fantastic," Lynch said. "I say it because obviously the relationships with the other players was tremendous when you look at some of the teachers that the game has blessed me to be around and have helped me off the field as much as being a player. You really want to give back to the game."
On a staff led by one of his mentors and coaching alongside a familiar face, Lynch has high expectations for his first NFL coaching job.
"We have a great chance to be successful early. That is our expectation," Lynch said. "We are looking into obviously putting in the ground work, putting in the work and we are looking forward to getting the players back.
"It is definitely a transition. But you know what, ball is ball. And developing men is developing men. It's making sure that guys are doing things right on and off the field and guys are giving the best effort to the team."
Brandon Lynch's Professional Playing Background:
2004: Tennessee Titans, safety
2005-06: Indianapolis Colts, corner/safety
2007-09: Saskatchewan Roughriders, safety
Brandon Lynch's Coaching Background:
2010: Wilmington College, NFLPA coaching intern
2011: NFLPA Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Game, assistant coach
2011: Sacramento Mountain Lions, UFL coaching intern
2011-13: Lenoir-Rhyne University, secondary coach
2013: Minnesota Vikings, Bill Walsh Minority Intern
2013-14: University of Northern Iowa, secondary coach
2015-16: University of Northern Iowa, secondary/associate head coach for defense
2017: East Carolina University, secondary coach
2018-19: East Carolina University, cornerbacks coach
2020-: Cleveland Browns, assistant defensive backs coach