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Game Day

Callie Brownson 'stepped up to the challenge,' makes history as first-ever woman to serve as interim position coach 

Brownson has done everything the Browns have asked of her as Chief of Staff. On Sunday, she was asked to make history


Coach Kevin Stefanski knew exactly who to call on once he needed to make a temporary, last-minute coaching replacement on his sideline Sunday in Jacksonville.

The Browns announced Saturday before departing for the road game that Callie Brownson, who's spent the season as the team's Chief of Staff, would handle the gameday duties of tight ends coach Drew Petzing, who did not travel to Jacksonville after his wife, Louisa, gave birth to their first child Saturday morning. The appointment made Brownson the first woman to serve as an interim coach for a position group in an NFL regular season game.  

Brownson, who was hired by Stefanski in January, has worked closely with Stefanski and the rest of the team all season. She's helped with day-to-day operations and planning for the offense, defense and special teams, so the choice was easy for Stefanski when he needed to find a replacement for Petzing.

"Callie is a great utility player for us, and she can fill in anywhere," Stefanski said. "With what 2020 has brought to us, to me and to this organization, we need people to be team players. Callie will do anything — she is folding towels in the equipment room because we are down a few people there — so anything it takes."

Brownson's achievement Sunday hallmarked what has already been a trailblazing career for women in football. 

Brownson received her coaching start last year with the Buffalo Bills when she turned a training camp internship into a full-season coaching internship with head coach Sean McDermott. Prior to Buffalo, she was offered a two-week internship by Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens that turned into a full-time position as an offensive quality control coach, becoming the first full-time female football coach in Division I.

Now, Brownson can add another achievement to her already-stellar coaching resume as she continues to climb the coaching ranks in the NFL.

"She has always been on point since the day that she has walked in this building," wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. "She is a true testament for all the women that are making a name for themselves in this league. She stepped up to the challenge today and this whole entire week. Coaching the tight ends, meeting with them, being able to get the personnel together today, she was just ahead of schedule and on point as ever. 

"She is Callie. She is one of the people that make this building go. We are blessed to have her."