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Notes: Kevin Stefanski says Browns didn’t want to ‘stand in way’ of Bill Callahan joining son Brian with Titans

The Browns believe Bill Callahan is the best offensive line coach in the business and didn’t want to lose him. They felt they had no choice.

Bill’s son Brian was recently hired as head coach of the Tennessee Titans and asked to take Callahan away from Cleveland. The decision to leave was made Thursday.

“Organizationally we realized that’s a unique situation and did not want to stand in the way of that,” coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. “To go work for Brian, not with Brian. He’s going to work for Brian. I can’t wait for Brian to boss him around. The dream of every kid is to boss their parents around. Happy for those guys.”

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The Browns announced several coaching hires Monday that had been previously reported but still have a vacancy at line coach. Assistant line coach Scott Peters and former Seahawks line coach Andy Dickerson are possibilities.

New coordinator Ken Dorsey referred to the thorough process of getting hired as “darn near like a root canal” and said the organization will take a similar approach with the line coach.

“Because let’s face it, Bill is one of the best out there. So in order to replace him, we’ve got to make sure we’re intentional with how we’re doing it and making the decision that’s in the best interest of us as a football team,” he said.

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Callahan’s replacement will inherit a good situation. Pro Bowl guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, tackles Jedrick Wills Jr., Dawand Jones and Jack Conklin and center Ethan Pocic are slated to return.

“First and foremost, you can’t help but get jacked up about this opportunity because of those guys up front,” Dorsey said. “Those guys, you watch them on tape and you can’t help but get excited about the guys that we got up there and what they’re able to do because they’re diverse in what they can do. You got a group of guys that can pull, you got a group of guys that can be zone blocking-scheme guys. You got a group of guys that could come out and get movement at the point of attack in gap schemes and duo schemes.”

FOND FAREWELL

Stefanski didn’t take questions but gave a couple of quick comments on the end-of-season staff dismissals before introducing Dorsey. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, running backs coach/run game coordinator Stump Mitchell and tight ends coach T.C. McCartney were let go. Mitchell had been with the team for five years, Van Pelt and McCartney four each.

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“I’m really proud of the things that we’ve accomplished the last four years, and I just want to address T.C. McCartney, Stump Mitchell. Huge parts of that success,” Stefanski said. “Alex Van Pelt, you guys know how I feel about AVP the person, the coach. Very, very happy for him to be able to run that offense in New England. I know he’ll do a great job.”

Van Pelt was hired by the Patriots on Thursday and will call plays.

TWO TITLES

Tommy Rees, 31, will coach tight ends and was given the additional role of pass game specialist.

He spent last season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, helping the Crimson Tide win the SEC Championship Game and advance to the College Football Playoff.  He spent six seasons at Notre Dame (2017-22) as quarterbacks coach and then coordinator. He played quarterback at Notre Dame and finished second in school history in touchdowns passes (61) and third in passing yards (7,351).

“Tommy has established himself as one of the top assistant coaches in college football and I have no doubt that will transition to the NFL,” Stefanski said in the news release. “He has an incredible football acumen and I look forward to bringing his insight and unique perspective from top college programs to our offense.”

WALK THE LINE

Jacques Cesaire (SEE-zair) will replace Ben Bloom as the defensive line coach. Bloom is expected to remain on staff in a yet-to-be finalized role.

Cesaire, 43, played defensive end in the NFL for nine years. He coached the defensive line the last two years with the Texans.

“Jacques brings energy and a proven track record as both a player and coach in this league,” Stefanski said. “He has made his impact felt in every place he has been, and we know he will come in and work to increase an already high standard for our defensive line.”

BACKFIELD IN MOTION

Duce Staley, 48, is well-qualified to be running backs coach after playing the position in the NFL for 10 years and coaching for 15.

“Duce was a tough, hard-nosed running back in this league and brings the mind-set and energy to his coaching style that is needed in the running backs room,” Stefanski said. “He knows how to get the most out of his players and has worked with some of the best running backs in the NFL. We are excited to have him leading our running backs.”

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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