BEREA — Callie Brownson was waiting in the lobby to greet quarterback Deshaun Watson when he arrived at the Browns’ CrossCountry mortgage campus.
No women in the organization except co-owner Dee Haslam commented on the controversial trade with the Houston Texans for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, who now faces 24 civil lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct during massage appointments and faces possible suspension by the league.
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Brownsonpromoted to assistant receivers coach this season while still chief of staff to coach Kevin Stefanski, said Wednesday she had the opportunity to share her feelings about the Watson deal before it was finalized March 18.
“We had a lot of really healthy conversations and I enjoyed that,” Brownson told the Beacon Journal after an organized team activity session ended. “I really felt like they cared about the opinions of the women in this organization.
“It hasn’t been overlooked; it has not been neglected. They certainly spoke to those who would be involved in the organization to see what that meant.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam spoke on Zoom after Watson’s introductory press conference on March 25 and said they involved their family, including their adult daughters Whitney and Cynthia, in the decision to bring in Watson. Two Texas grand juries failed to indict him on criminal charges.
General manager Andrew Berry said the same day that the Browns “have a large number of people, men and women, in the decision-making group.”
The acquisition of Watson hasn’t changed how Brownson feels about the the team’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. After spending two years as chief of staff and serving as an interim coach due to COVID-19 or personal absences, Brownson was promoted to assist passing play coordinator/receivers coach Chad O ‘Shea.
“It’s one thing to talk about the conversation when it comes to inclusion and diversity, not just hiring, but growing within,” Brownson said. “But for me, working for an organization that walks with her and invests in her and me, it’s incredible. It makes me happy that I made the decision to come here and be here with Coach Stefanski. He is a man of his word as such from a development point of view. My experience and journey so far is definitely a testament to how they feel about growing young coaches and investing in our people.
These efforts continue, with the Browns bring in Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raiche to serve as assistant general manager and vice president of football operations.
Brownson, 32, doesn’t look too far career-wise, but said his next goal is to be a post coach. She said Stefanski and O’Shea gave her a nudge in that direction, allowing her to lead rookie catcher meetings.
This group includes Purdue’s David Bell, a third-round pickand Michael Woods II of Oklahomaa sixth round, as well as undrafted free agents Isaiah Weston from northern Iowa, Mike Harley Jr. from the University of Miami and Travell Harris from Washington State.
“In addition to our main meetings, we have a little more rookie time,” Brownson said. “Coach O’Shea is passionate about development, so he said, ‘Hey, those extra rookie meetings are yours. It gives me the chance to find myself in front of a room, to coach and teach. It is a development for me, as well as feeling comfortable in this context.
O’Shea said he had great confidence in Brownson as a coach.
“I think she brings a lot as a coach and as a person,” O’Shea said. “I know our guys are thrilled she’s working with us. I’m glad she’s here.”
O’Shea knows Brownson can handle dual roles.
“She has great organizational skills,” O’Shea said. “She does a really good job of balancing all of those things and prioritizing the things she needs to do.”
Brownson said she helped out O’Shea at times last season, so they already had a relationship.
“Kudos to Coach O’Shea, he made the transition easy,” she said. “It’s definitely a lot more work. Spring has been good for me because it has helped me practice how I will juggle both roles and do 100% in both.
Brownson said Stefanski took some of the chief of staff duties off her plate, and some issues she had to work out with other departments in the past are now routine due to continuity. She praises Stefanski, who stuck by her after being suspended in 2021 for a drunk driving arrestand jokes that she works for a “paper guy” in Stefanski.
“His calendar is printed and written on it. He is old school in that regard, of course,” she said. “We have coaches who are still paper guys, we have coaches who are in the digital age. Anything that works. Anything that helps hit the brain.
Brownson will gain more experience this summer as USA Football named its head coach of the United States Women’s National Tackle Team for the 2022 IFAF World Championships in Vantaa, Finland, July 27-August 27. 8. Brownson will lead 45 players and seven assistants as Team USA tries to hold on to the gold medal they won with Brownson playing catcher and safety at the 2013 and 2017 world championships.
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“It’s going to be a great experience for me,” Brownson said. “It’s within the realm of the possible that I’ll be a head coach one day. Whether it’s in the NFL, in college, I don’t know, but it’s an opportunity to learn from this experience, to grow and to lead a team.
“It’s also special because I played in this team, I know what it means to wear the uniform. I’m excited because I think I can give them the ultimate experience where they leave Finland, hoping with gold, but saying, “This is one of the greatest experiences I’ve had. never lived.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at [email protected] Learn more about the Browns at www.beaconjournal.com/browns. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.