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Stephen Bravo-Brown bringing 'enthusiasm and passion' in transition to assistant special teams coach

Bravo-Brown has always carried high energy as a coach, and he’s taking that spirit with him as he transitions from the defensive side of the ball to special teams

Stephen Bravo-Brown never changes when he's on a football field.

Bravo-Brown — or just "Bravo," as coaches and Browns players call him — is always budding with energy and enthusiasm as he dashes from one part of the field to another, dishing compliments and critique to players in his coaching group and offering high-fives and taps on the helmet. The energy is something he feels is a necessity as a coach. It's contagious to his players, and it helps keep spirits high regardless of the results of the last game. 

"The season's long," he said. "Every day, my goal and the goal for my players is to be the same person every single day. No matter what's happening throughout the season, you can't ride the wave of the highs and lows, or else your personality changes, so if you're the same person every day, you'll get the same results."

Head coach Kevin Stefanski specifically mentioned that energy when he spoke about Bravo-Brown's new position on his coaching staff — Bravo-Brown is moving from defensive quality control coach to assistant special teams coach for 2022. He'll work with special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, a coach who also exudes a high level of energy and emotion on the field.

It's a pairing Stefanski believes will work well as the Browns attempt to elevate their special teams units for next season. The move will also provide Bravo-Brown with another layer of coaching experience as Stefanski strives to develop many of the young, promising football minds on his coaching staff. 

"Bravo is a guy that's done great work for us the last couple years," Stefanski said. "He brings tremendous enthusiasm and passion to everything he does, and I know he's excited about this opportunity."

Bravo-Brown said that consistent high-energy mindset comes from his parents, who each worked multiple jobs at once to provide for Bravo-Brown and his three other siblings. His mom, Yvonne, was a beautician, banker and real estate agent, and his dad, Earle, worked at a private electrical company and worked another job at an airport.

When each of them would come home after work, they were the same energetic, caring parents no matter how long or stressful the workday was.

"They worked really, really hard to give us the life they pictured us having, and we didn't see them sweat," Bravo-Brown said. "They were the same, and they were excited every day. I got that from them, and that's how I want to be in the field that I'm in."

Bravo-Brown knew he wanted to be in the coaching field when he was still a player. He was a receiver for South Florida who had hopes of cracking an NFL roster, but he knew that path would be a difficult one after clocking a below-average 4.60 in the 40-yard dash. He still received tryouts with the Bears and Buccaneers in his first year out of college, but then his phone went silent during the free agency period.

While Bravo-Brown was in the final years of his playing career, though, he realized he had another gift: He loved offering critique to his teammates in practice, and the feeling of watching one of his receiving teammates succeed against an opposing defensive back because of his insight was just as fulfilling as catching a touchdown.

"It was always me at practice encouraging guys," he said, "and if I noticed someone doing something wrong, I'd just tell, 'Hey, that's how you do it, but if you do it like this…'"

Bravo-Brown earned his coaching gig as the receivers coach at Waldorf, an NAIA school, before transitioning to jobs with Eastern Illinois, Wake Forest and Missouri State. He first started coaching in the NFL in 2018 when he worked for the Vikings in the Bill Walsh Coaching Diversity Fellowship program, an opportunity he received again with the Jets in 2019.

Stefanski, impressed with Bravo-Brown's resume and enthusiasm, tagged him to become his defensive quality control coach in 2020. He's used the quality control position and other assistant-based roles on the staff to develop coaches, often placing them on the opposite side of the football they've normally been accustomed to.

Bravo-Brown is one example of a coach who feels he's grown from that strategy.

"I've tried to take everything from at least one coach," he said. "So, for example, with Joe Woods, I've learned from his teaching progressions and how he's taught the cornerbacks and safeties regarding pass fits, run fits and other schemes. And then working closely with (defensive backs coach Brandon Lynch), I've learned about other teaching progressions and organization and how valuable those things are to me."

Now, Bravo-Brown is replicating those lessons on special teams. His primary responsibilities will include working on the punt team with the gunners, who are usually wide receivers and need to have a quick release at the line of scrimmage to evade blockers and reach the returner, as well as assisting Priefer on all other special teams matters.

No matter where Bravo-Brown's at, the Browns know they can rely on his passion and energy to get the job done.

"I'm always passionate and enthusiastic about what I do," Bravo-Brown said, "and that's definitely something the players are going to feel every single day."

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