Grady Brown’s first steps in the football coaching world at the largest stage may have begun much further back than you might realize, considering the talk of him being an up-and-comer. He was a Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship participants with the Seattle Seahawks all the way back in 2004, and then again with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007.
His first regularly constituted job, however, came two years later and brings him full circle to today, as he will once again be coaching Patrick Peterson, with whom he worked in 2009 as a defensive quality control coach for the LSU Tigers.
“Coach Grady Brown is one of my former defensive back coaches at LSU, so we go way back. It’s gonna be a pretty cool reunion to have an opportunity to share the room with him again”, Peterson told Missi Matthews in an interview with the team’s website published yesterday.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin offered him his first full job in the NFL in 2021 when he hired him as their defensive backs coach, working alongside Teryl Austin, who in 2022 was promoted to defensive coordinator. In his first full season as the lone secondary coach last season, his team, helmed by the defensive backs, led the NFL in interceptions.
And while they lost Cameron Sutton coming off a career year at cornerback, they are replacing him with Peterson, who himself intercepted five passes a year ago and has had a decorated career. Now entering his age-33 season, he seems excited about the prospect of being used in whatever ways best accentuate what he is able to bring to the team.
“Those discussions haven’t come up just yet”, he said, however, when Matthews asked him about if the coaches have addressed what exactly they would look to him to do. “I’m sure Coach Tomlin and TA have plans for me, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens”.
The most obvious role that he needs to serve is obviously as a full-time outside cornerback, filling the shoes that Sutton is vacating. He’s done that his whole career, so that’s a given. He did play in the slot a bit more earlier on in his career, but it’s hardly something the Minnesota Vikings over the past two seasons asked him to do at all.
Between Brown, Tomlin, and Austin, they will have to finish putting together whatever this secondary is going to look like and go from there. Will that include Terrell Edmunds, for example, coming back? And if he does, will he be a starter?
And who will play in the slot? Neither Levi Wallace nor Ahkello Witherspoon—nor James Pierre for that matter, if he is brought back—is comfortable there. But perhaps at this stage of his career, Peterson feels he could help there, in the box, or even at safety. The less the defense understands about where he’ll be before the snap, the greater his chances of making a play, perhaps.