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Israel Woolfork returns to Browns on Bill Willis Coaching Fellowship, will work with QBs

Israel Woolfork is back with the Browns.

Woolfork, who coached at Miami of Ohio for the last eight years, was selected as the recipient of the Bill Willis Coaching Fellowship, the team announced Wednesday. Woolfork spent last offseason with the Browns as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.

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The Willis fellowship is given to a rising minority coach with a focus on offense, and Woolfork will primarily work in the quarterback room with new QB coach Drew Petzing. Woolfork, 31, played receiver at Grand Valley State from 2008-12.

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“This was an opportunity to come back and work for a great organization, and I wanted to jump on that opportunity,” Woolfork said in the news release. “This is my dream job — to be in the NFL. This has always been a dream of mine, and to finally have that opportunity now is really awesome.”

The Browns created the Willis fellowship in 2020 to provide opportunities and experience to minority coaches, who have historically faced barriers trying to get entry-level positions and promotions. Willis and teammate Marion Motley were among the first Black professional football players in the modern era. Willis played with the Browns from 1946-53 and was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

“We created the Bill Willis Fellowship to help address an issue in our league that we all need to do our part to impact,” coach Kevin Stefanski said. “(GM) Andrew (Berry) and I have tried to be very intentional about adding diverse perspectives to both the coaching and personnel side of our organization.

“Historically there has not been enough diversity on the offensive side of the ball and specifically in the quarterback room. Israel is a young coach that we got to know last year for a short period of time as a Bill Walsh Fellow. He worked with us virtually in the spring and then spent a few days with us at training camp and quickly impressed. He’s really an outstanding young coach that did a really good job in his role at Miami. He’s jumped right in with that group and is making an impact already.”

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Ashton Grant was the first Willis fellow and was named offensive quality control coach in February after two seasons.

Woolfork was Miami’s receivers coach since 2018. His time as the Walsh fellow was spent mostly working with the tight ends and Petzing, who was the tight ends coach the last two seasons.

“I love the way he coaches, from the meeting rooms out to the field,” Woolfork said. “I think he does a really good job of making things easy to learn. He’s a great teacher and he knows a lot of football.

“I’m here to serve. I’m here to be the best assistant I can be.”

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.

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