The Cleveland Browns are expected to hire former player Bubba Ventrone as their new assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday.

The team interviewed New York Jets’ special teams assistant Leon Washington, as well as New York Giants’ assistant coach Anthony Blevins, but decided on Ventrone, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

Mike Priefer held the job since 2019, but was fired earlier this month after an abysmal season for the Browns in 2022.

Ventrone is a former Cleveland Brown, playing for the team from 2009-12. The former safety was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Villanova in 2005. He spent ten years in the NFL as a player, and earned high praise from coach Bill Belichick:

“[Bubba] is fast and he’s tough. No one works harder. He’s a smart football player. He puts his heart and soul into it every time he steps onto the field. It doesn’t matter if it’s regular season or postseason game or a walkthrough practice. He has that same intensity and same level of competitiveness on every single play,” Belichick said about Ventrone in 2009.

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The 40-year-old joined the Patriots coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2015, and won Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, in one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

He was named the special teams coach of the Indianapolis Colts in Feb. 2018, with the team boasting some of the league’s best special teams under his guidance. He spent the last five seasons with the Colts’ after his stint with the Patriots.

“Indianapolis averaged a league-best 27.8 yards per return on kickoffs and 8.5 yards per return on punts this past season. The Colts’ opponents averaged only 23 yards on kickoff returns last season and 7.4 yards on punt returns,” Williams wrote on Thursday.

Bubba Ventrone is a big hire for the Cleveland Browns, and will look to help the team return to the postseason in 2023-24.