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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