Browns coach Pat Shurmur and General Manager Tom Heckert are thrilled they were able to add senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes and linebackers coach Bill Davis to their staff. After all, they go way back with each coach.
Rhodes, pictured right, has 30 years of coaching experience in the NFL, including stints as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers (1999) and the Philadelphia Eagles (1995-98). Davis has been a defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals (2009-10) and the San Francisco 49ers (2005-06).
"I’ve known Ray for quite awhile," Shurmur said. "A lot of these guys that I’ve known in the profession, I got to know through my uncle, (former NFL defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur). When I was a college coach, I used to come (to the NFL Scouting Combine) and hang around, so you get to know people in the profession.
"I’ve always stayed very close to Ray, we followed him into Philadelphia. He was the head coach. And so I think he’s a tremendous coach, and I’m glad he’s with us. He has a great feel for players. He’s a tremendous teacher and from the evaluation of new players to helping us better the ones on our team, I think Ray (will) be a huge asset."
Heckert and Davis come from families with Youngstown roots. Their fathers also worked together in the Browns' front office during the 1980s.
"I've grown up with Bill since I was 2-years-old," Heckert said. "He's an excellent football coach. He's been a coordinator for two different teams. He's coached almost all of the positions. He's been with the 3-4 (defense), the 4-3.
"I think he'll be a tremendous asset for (defensive coordinator) Dick (Jauron) and for our football team. I think he'll do a great job with our linebackers, and I think he can help Dick with a lot of different things, questions about 3-4 stuff. Some teams go hybrid, 3-4, mix it around, and Billy's very capable of doing that."