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Kevin Stefanski confirms return of 3 assistants from Browns 2019 staff

Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer is among three assistants from last year's staff confirmed to return in 2020.

Priefer, assistant special teams coach Doug Colman and run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell will be a part of head coach Kevin Stefanski's first staff in Cleveland, Stefanski confirmed Wednesday at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.

"(They're) some really good coaches that are going to be important to our success," Stefanski said.

Under Priefer's watch last season, the Browns made major improvements in nearly all facets of their special teams.

Both of the team's rookie specialists, P Jamie Gillan and K Austin Seibert, were named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie teams after their respectively strong first NFL seasons. Gillan was named the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Month in September and set the Browns' single-season record for net punting while Seibert went 25-for-29 on field goals and set the team's rookie record with 105 points on the season. The Browns ranked fifth in the NFL in average yards allowed on kickoff returns and sixth overall in kickoff return yards.

Priefer, who joined the Browns last year at this time, and Stefanski worked together in Minnesota from 2011-2018 while Priefer was the Vikings' special teams coordinator.

Mitchell led a Browns running back room that featured Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who returned to the field midway through the season after serving an eight-game suspension and helped provide one of the NFL's best one-two punches out of the backfield. Chubb finished second in the league in rushing, and the Browns ranked 12th in the NFL with an average of 118.8 rushing yards per game.

"In this business, you get to know so many different coaches and get to know people who have worked with Stump, or he knows people I've worked with. We have mutual colleagues," Stefanski said. "I kind of know what he's all about. I like the way he teaches, I love the toughness he brings to our staff room, to our field. The proof is in the pudding. He had two really good players playing this year, so I think he's an excellent coach and I'm excited to work with him."

Priefer, a Cleveland native, has 13 years of experience as a special teams coordinator, including a 2012 campaign in which he was named Special Teams Coach of the Year by his counterparts. He's been coaching special teams in the NFL since 2002 and logged nearly a decade of experience at the collegiate level as well.

Colman, who played linebacker for the Browns in 2000, came to Cleveland after serving as an assistant special teams coach with the Cowboys. After coaching at the high school and collegiate level, Colman got his first NFL coaching gig with the Texans in 2014 as an assistant special teams coordinator.

Mitchell played nine seasons in the NFL and has coached in the league for 17 years. He's been a running backs coach with five different teams.

Stefanski said the team would formally announce the rest of the coaching staff when it is fully in tact.

"We are definitely working through all that," Stefanski said. "There's a ton of good candidates and we're going to make sure we take our time. I know there's a rush to it and we have to get somebody before September but we've got to make sure we get the right people, so we're going to take our time.

"I'm committed to adding the right people to our building. That remains to be seen but we're definitely looking at all avenues as we try to put a really good staff together."