According to NFL on CBS Insider Jonathan Jones, the Cleveland Browns are expected to hire Indianapolis Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for the same role:
The Browns are expected to hire Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for the same position, sources say.— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) February 23, 2023
The 40 year old Ventrone interviewed for the Browns open special teams coaching position on Wednesday, and that apparently went well between the two sides.
It was reported on Tuesday by ESPN’s Stephen Holder that Ventrone was likely to join the Browns coaching staff.
It’s obviously a big blow to the Colts coaching staff, as Ventrone was highly regarded in the team’s locker room by the players and had coached what was consistently one of the league’s best special teams units under his tutelage.
He even interviewed for the Colts open head coaching vacancy earlier this offseason before former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen was ultimately hired.
Whether that led to an uncomfortable situation with Steichen, Ventrone was displeased about being passed over in the interim for Jeff Saturday this past season—or simply looking for a change of scenery entirely (as he played for the Browns from 2009-12), remains to be seen.
The Colts could’ve theoretically blocked Ventrone since it was a lateral hire by the Browns, but they may have not wanted to stand in his way, if this is what he truly wanted—and having already been inherited by former head coach Frank Reich to begin with (*after the Josh McDaniels snafu).
At any rate, he reportedly won’t be coaching the Colts specials teams units anymore, and Steichen will have to immediately start looking for his potential replacement (*if he hasn’t already begun).
Update (11:00 AM EST): According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Cleveland Browns have indeed hired Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone for the same role, although he’ll also be promoted to ‘assistant head coach’ in title too:
The #Browns are hiring Bubba Ventrone as their assistant head coach/special teams coordinator, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 23, 2023
Ventrone, 40, played four seasons in Cleveland (2009-12). Now, he returns on Kevin Stefanski’s staff after building one of the NFL’s top units in Indianapolis. A big hire. pic.twitter.com/qdI4aSRxL1