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Top OL coach Bill Callahan leaving Browns for Titans and job with son Brian

The worry became reality Thursday night.

Bill Callahan, considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, is leaving the Browns, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram.

He has a good reason. His son Brian was hired last week as coach of the Tennessee Titans.

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The Browns knew a family reunion might be desirable and didn’t deny the Titans’ request to interview Callahan to be line coach. Brian got emotional talking about Bill at his introductory news conference in Tennessee.

“I don’t know how many fathers and sons have been head coaches in the NFL, I don’t think it’s many,” Brian said. “I think that’s a very prideful thing for him to be associated with, him and I.

“You live this lifestyle and there’s a lot of ups and downs and there’s a lot of adversity that comes your way in coaching. The fact that I’ve been able to stand up here and he’s been able to do the same thing, for me, that’s a huge honor. Obviously, you want to be like your dad.”

Notes: Kareem Hunt has sports hernia surgery

Bill Callahan, 67, was hired by coach Kevin Stefanski in 2020 and was huge in the Browns’ run game and pass protection. Stefanski said often he relied on the advice of Callahan, who’s a former head coach and coordinator. He went to the Super Bowl as coach of the Raiders, was an interim coach with Washington and was coach of the University of Nebraska.

“Bill’s been outstanding,” Stefanski said near the end of the season. “He’s a huge help to me in a variety of areas, not just in football and X’s and O’s, but his office is right next door to mine. A guy I lean on, but he does a great job really in all the roles he plays for us.”

The Browns will conduct a search for Callahan’s replacement. Assistant line coach Scott Peters could be a candidate. He told The Chronicle during training camp he aspired to be a primary line coach.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a great profession for me because it challenges all my faculties and it’s something that I’m able to have a real impact in, be able to make an influence and change.”

Former Browns QB Ken Dorsey to be offensive coordinator

Another possibility is Andy Dickerson, who interviewed last month for Cleveland’s coordinator job that went to Ken Dorsey. Dickerson worked for the Browns under then-coach Eric Mangini in 2009-10. He was defensive quality control coach in 2009 and assistant offensive line coach in 2010.

He spent the last three years with the Seahawks, who moved on from longtime coach Pete Carroll after the season. Dickerson joined the Seahawks in 2021 as run game coordinator and spent the next two years as line coach. The Seahawks ranked third in rushing yards per attempt (5.02) in 2021.

Callahan’s value was on display again this season, as the Browns dealt with a variety of injuries across the line. The team’s top three tackles — Jedrick Wills Jr., Jack Conklin and Dawand Jones — sustained season-ending knee injuries, and Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio and center Ethan Pocic missed time.

Despite the absences, the line mostly held up as the Browns went 11-6 and reached the playoffs.

“Coach Callahan’s been instrumental for us,” Bitonio said last week. “He’s helped develop a bunch of us on the line. We’re thankful for that. He’s one of the hardest workers. I know he puts in the time with us and he’s a big part of the run game with the schemes and protections. I know the organization, the players, we appreciate what he’s done and hopefully he’s here for us next year.

“But if your son calls, you might need to take that phone call. That’s pretty special stuff, so we understand either way.”

Dorsey replaced Alex Van Pelt, who departed in the days following the wild card loss to the Texans. Stefanski took away the coordinator role, and Van Pelt declined a different assignment.

Van Pelt landed on his feet. He was hired Thursday by the Patriots as coordinator and will call plays, a responsibility he didn’t have under Stefanski.

Rookie coach Jerod Mayo, who replaced Bill Belichick, hired Van Pelt, who spent the last four years with the Browns.

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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