This is a 2021 photo of Mike Priefer of the Cleveland Browns NFL football team. This image reflects the Cleveland Browns active roster as of April 14, 2021 when this image was taken.

Mike Priefer

Special Teams Coordinator

College: US Naval Academy

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Biography

Year with Browns: 3rd

Year as NFL coach: 20th

Key Notes

  • Named the Browns special teams coordinator on Jan. 14, 2019. In his 16th season as an NFL special teams coordinator. Held the same role with the Chiefs (2006- 08), Broncos (2009-10) and Vikings (2011- 18).
  • Named the 2012 Special Teams Coach of the Year as voted on by his NFL counterparts.
  • Since joining the NFL in 2002, has helped David Tyree (ST), Chris Hanson (P), Blair Walsh (K) and Cordarrelle Patterson (RS) earn Pro Bowl nods. Patterson was also named first team All-Pro multiple times, while Walsh earned the honor once.
  • Helped his units account for 26 scores (12 kickoff return, nine punt return, three blocked punts, one botched fake field goal and one safety). Has also helped his squads block 28 kicks (nine punts, 12 field goals and seven PATs).
  • Served as acting head coach as the Browns defeated the Steelers on Jan. 10, 2021, as the team earned its first playoff victory in 26 years. Became the first acting head coach in NFL history to earn a playoff win.
  • In 2019, developed rookies K Austin Seibert and P Jamie Gillan. Both were named to the PFWA All-Rookie team. Seibert set a Browns rookie scoring record with 105 points and opened his career with 16 consecutive conversions, a streak that ranked fourth in NFL history to begin a career. Gillan set the Browns single-season record for net punting (41.6 average) and finished tied for fifth in team history with 28 punts inside the 20-yard line. Gillan was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 2 and AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.
  • During his tenure with the Vikings (2011-18), Priefer's unit led the NFL with 14 special teams touchdowns. The team scored on seven kickoff returns, five punt returns and two touchdowns off blocked punts. Minnesota led the NFL in kickoff return average in 2015 (28.3) and 2016 (27.3) and finished second in 2011 (27.2). His units also led the league in punt return average in 2013 (15.2) and finished second in the league in total kick return yards in 2014 (1,981) and 2015 (1,540). In 2014, the Vikings became the fifth team in NFL history to block two punts and return both for touchdowns in the same game.
  • With Priefer, Patterson led the league in 2013 in kickoff return average (32.4) and kickoff return touchdowns (two). In 2015, he led the NFL in kickoff return average (31.8) and kickoff return touchdowns (two). In 2016, Patterson was first in kickoff return average (31.7). Marcus Sherels also routinely ranked among the league leaders and tied for the NFL lead in punt return touchdowns (two) in 2016. K Blair Walsh set numerous team and NFL records, including connecting on 12 consecutive field goals of 50-plus yards.
  • During his time with the Broncos (2009- 10), Eddie Royal became the 11th player in NFL history to have both a kickoff and punt return touchdown in the same game (at San Diego on Oct. 19, 2009).
  • From 1994-2001, Priefer coached special teams at the collegiate level, working for Navy (1994-96), Youngstown State (1997- 98), VMI (1999) and Northern Illinois (2000-01). At Northern Illinois, Priefer helped Justin McCareins earn MAC Special Teams Player of the Year honors in 2000. At Youngstown State, Priefer spent two years under head coach Jim Tressel and helped the team capture the Division I-AA National Championship in 1997.
  • A QB and WR on Navy's junior varsity and lightweight teams from 1985-88, Priefer flew helicopters as a Naval officer for six years (1989-94) after his graduation. His work included tours of duty on USS America in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989 and received a master's degree from Maryland in 1997.
  • Born in Cleveland and graduated from high school in Green Bay, Wis.
  • Father, Chuck, was a longtime college and NFL coach, including a special teams coach with the Chargers and Lions.
  • Priefer and wife, Debbie, have four children, Samantha, Michael Jr., Wilson and Katie.
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