Settle’s coaching career comes full circle

Posted by Vic Carucci on February 13, 2013 – 11:41 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

John Settle remembers sitting in a meeting room as a rookie running back for the Atlanta Falcons in 1987.

His position coach, Steve Crosby, posed the sort of question to all of the backs on the team that wasn’t exactly what Settle expected at the beginning of what he hoped would be a long career as an NFL player.

“What do you want to do when you finish playing the game?” Crosby asked.

Without the slightest apprehension, Settle looked at the coach and said, “I want to do what you’re doing.”

Flash forward to 1995. Crosby, now the Browns’ offensive coordinator, was looking for an assistant coach to handle quality control on special teams and help guide the running backs. He knew exactly who to call.

“I started out here in ’95 with Coach (Bill) Belichick and that staff,” Settle recalled on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “It was a way for me to get my foot in the door and learn from some great coaches.

“And now, (nearly) 20 years later, here I am again.”

Settle has returned to the Browns as their running backs coach. He has been reunited with new head coach Rob Chudzinski, who was offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers in 2011 and 2012, the same time that Settle served as their running backs coach.

“You hear the term your career going full circle, and I’m proud to say that mine has done that,” Settle said.

Coaching always appealed to him because he always was a student of the game. He had to be in order to successfully negotiate his long, difficult journey to the NFL from tiny Appalachian State University.

The Falcons signed Settle as an undrafted free agent. He not only made their roster, but also became a Pro Bowl selection after his second season, when he rushed for 1,024 yards. That made Settle the first undrafted player since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He would finish his playing career with the Washington Redskins, and was part of their team that won Super Bowl XXVI.

Coaching also spoke to Settle’s desire to match wits with others. “I could never really learn how to play chess,” he said. “This was the next-best thing in my mind.”

In his first stint with the Browns, he learned that coaching involves working exceptionally long hours. He also learned that being good at it required a great deal of hard work.

“You have to pour yourself into it,” Settle said. “It’s just like playing the game. I think football is a very unforgiving game, and you get out of it what you put into it. And the same goes for coaching. If you can invest in it and work at it, you can move up the ranks and have the opportunity to stay in this profession for a long time.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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Diverse backgrounds highlight coaching staff

Posted by Vic Carucci on February 13, 2013 – 12:03 am

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

Rob Chudzinski has taken a major first step as head coach of the Browns by completing his staff.

And we’re not just talking about the highlight hires, such as offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

We’re talking about putting in place all of his 20 assistants, including three holdovers from Pat Shurmur’s staff: special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, offensive line coach George Warhop, and special teams assistant Shawn Mennenga.

It is no easy task, and by most accounts, Chudzinski has done it well.

He has acquired plenty experience. Counting Chudzinski, members of the Browns’ staff have an average of more than nine years as NFL coaches.

He also has brought aboard plenty of diversity, with a mix of older and younger coaches from various backgrounds in the college and NFL ranks as coaches and/or former players.

“I wanted to get great teachers, to get the best people that I could fit the philosophy, going forward, that we want to have,” Chudzinski told me on “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford.” “I wanted to get a diverse group … guys that have some different experiences, some guys that have been in the pros, some guys that have been in college, guys that have been NFL players before, some younger guys, some guys that have more experience.

“I think it’s a real good mix. That brings a lot of things to the table in terms of ideas.”

The primary reason Chudzinski sought coaches with a wide variety of backgrounds is so that there will be a healthy exchange of thoughts in the meeting room as the playbook and game plans are assembled, and personnel decisions are made.

“You don’t want a lot of people in the room who just nod their heads and never have opinions on things,” Chudzinski said. “And, then, ultimately you have to be on the same page together. So there may be disagreements, there may be differences of opinion, but at the end of the day, we’re coming out and this is the way we’re going to do it, the Browns way.”

>>Be sure to tune in Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, for Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford on ESPN 850 WKNR or catch the live stream right here on ClevelandBrowns.com.

>>Have a question for “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford”? Ask me at Twitter.com/viccarucci or by e-mail at daily@clevelandbrowns.com or by calling 855-363-2459.


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