Bears name former Steelers CB Deshea Townsend new defensive backs coach

SHARE Bears name former Steelers CB Deshea Townsend new defensive backs coach

Steelers cornerback Deshea Townsend celebrates an interception against the Ravens during the AFC championship game in January 2009. | AP photo

The Bears continued remodeling their defensive coaching staff Friday, announcing the hiring of defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend and defensive quality-control coach Ronell Williams.

Townsend inherits two first-team All-Pros: safety Eddie Jackson and cornerback Kyle Fuller. Like Jackson, he was a fourth-round pick from Alabama. Townsend then spent 13 years as a standout NFL cornerback, starting 80 games for the Steelers from 1998 to 2009 before serving as a Colts backup in 2010. He finished his career with 21 interceptions and won two Super Bowls (XL, XLIII) as a member of the Steelers.

Upon retirement, Townsend served as the Cardinals’ assistant defensive backs coach from 2011 to 2012. He coached cornerbacks at Mississippi State from 2013 to 2015 before returning to the NFL to coach the Titans’ secondary for two years. He spent 2018 as the Giants’ assistant defensive backs coach, helping to teach star safety Landon Collins.

Williams spent last training camp with the Bears as part of the Bill Walsh Coaching Diversity Fellowship. He was a defensive analyst at Temple the last two years.


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Under coordinator Chuck Pagano, the Bears’ defensive staff will look far different than the one that ran the league’s top unit.

Inside linebackers coach Glenn Pires and assistant defensive backs coach Roy Anderson won’t return, and outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell followed former coordinator Vic Fangio to the Broncos. Donatell will serve as the defensive coordinator under Fangio, a first-time head coach.

These hires were the first the Bears have announced since naming Pagano the coordinator Jan. 11.

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