and Jack Kopanski
BRUNSWICK — Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson has been suspended by the team but won’t be fired following an OVI conviction Tuesday.
Brownson has been suspended since the incident May 27 on Pearl Road, but the duration of the punishment hadn’t been decided.
The Browns have consulted with the NFL regarding the discipline, and a league spokesman told The Chronicle-Telegram the league wouldn’t administer additional punishment.
“As you guys know, extremely disappointed. We take these things very seriously,” coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday after an organized team activities practice. “We’re working with the league on appropriate discipline. Callie’s obviously very remorseful and she’s going to learn from this and we’ll support her along the way.”
Brownson, the first female coach in team history, pleaded no contest in Brunswick Mayor’s Court on Tuesday night. As part of the plea, Brownson paid $780 in total fees, had her license suspended for one year and will have to take a three-day OVI/driver intervention course.
She wasn’t on the field the last two weeks for the voluntary offseason practices. She is Stefanski’s right-hand person and will also help coach the running backs this season.
“She’s extremely remorseful, I’ve spoken to her many times and she’ll learn from this and hopefully we’ll all be in a better place after this,” Stefanski said. “I’m disappointed, she’s disappointed and, again, we’ll work through all the particulars.”
Brunswick police stopped Brownson, a Brunswick resident, shortly before 1 a.m. on May 27 after she was observed going 55 mph in a 35 mph zone on Pearl Road. During the traffic stop, the police report said Brownson had the odor of alcohol on her, was slurring her speech and had bloodshot, watery eyes. She failed multiple field sobriety tests, according to Steven Szuter, the arresting officer.
Brownson provided a breath sample that showed a blood-alcohol content of .215 percent and, according to the report, said she had “two or three glasses of wine which were ‘heavy pours.’”
Brownson initially faced an additional charge of OVI for having a BAC over .17 and a speeding charge, but those were dropped prior to her court appearance. She deleted her Twitter account.
The police released video of the stop, and Brownson expressed worry about losing her job.
“I’m a Cleveland Browns coach,” she said. “This is detrimental to my career. I’m right at my house. I’d love to just go home, sir.
“I’m gonna lose my job.”
Szuter responded that he had “serious concerns” about Brownson driving.
“I have no bearing on your employment,” he said. “I have to do my job, though.”
The Browns issued a statement on the incident, which said in its entirety: “We aware of the incident and are extremely disappointed that a member of our organization put themselves in this situation. We take this matter very seriously and will take the appropriate disciplinary actions.”
Brownson was hired by Stefanski last year, making her one of few female coaches in the NFL.
During the Nov. 29 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brownson became the first woman to serve as a position coach during a regular-season NFL game. She filled in for tight ends coach Drew Petzing, who did not travel with the team after his wife gave birth to their first child.
Brunswick Police Lt. Robert Safran said there was both dash cam and body cam footage of the incident and that it would be made available later Wednesday.
Contact reporter Jack Kopanski at (330) 721-4063 or [email protected].