Deshea Townsend

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Deshea Townsend
refer to caption
Townsend (left) with the Steelers in 2007
Jacksonville Jaguars
Position:Passing game coordinator
Cornerbacks coach
Personal information
Born: (1975-09-08) September 8, 1975 (age 48)
Batesville, Mississippi, U.S.
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:183 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school:South Panola
(Batesville, Mississippi)
NFL Draft:1998 / Round: 4 / Pick: 117
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:449
Forced fumbles:5
Fumble recoveries:3
Defensive touchdowns:3
Player stats at · PFR

Trevor Deshea Townsend (born September 8, 1975) is an American football coach and former cornerback who is the passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He previously served as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.

Townsend played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round (117th overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft, where he spent his entire career, besides his final year with the Indianapolis Colts.

Early years[edit]

A native of Batesville, Mississippi, Townsend played high school football for the South Panola Tigers, where he was the teammate of fellow future Alabama Crimson Tide star Dwayne Rudd. Townsend played quarterback at South Panola and led the team to the 1993 Mississippi State 5A championship and an undefeated 15–0 record.

Playing career[edit]


Along with Rudd, Townsend continued his career in college at the University of Alabama where both became members of the Theta Delta Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, in 1995. He majored in business management.

He had seven career interceptions at Alabama. In 1995 at Georgia, Townsend returned a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown in a 31-0 win.

Townsend was named All-SEC in 1995, 1996, and 1997.

National Football League[edit]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Townsend in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. He was the 14th cornerback drafted in 1998.[1]

Townsend (#26) making a tackle in 2005

Townsend grew from a special teams player and nickelback (and initially known in Pittsburgh as the first player to wear Rod Woodson's number 26 after left the Steelers), into a solid starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers at cornerback. Townsend was known for his outside speed as a pass rusher. Townsend has recorded 322 tackles, 15.5 quarterback sacks and 18 interceptions during his twelve years as a Steeler. He also had a key sack on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the final minutes of Super Bowl XL, which helped secure the Steelers eventual victory.

On March 23, 2002, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Townsend to a four-year, $4.20 million contract as an unrestricted free agent that included a signing bonus of $1 million. He visited with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during free agency and his agent was also contacted by the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Atlanta Falcons.[2]

On March 17, 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Townsend to a four-year, $8 million contract that included a signing bonus of $2 million. He received the contract offer during a visit with the New England Patriots.[3]

During the 2008 season, Townsend accepted the reduced role from starting cornerback to the nickel package.

Indianapolis Colts[edit]

In August 2010, Townsend joined the Indianapolis Colts.[4] On November 9, 2010, he was waived by the Colts. For the season, Townsend played in eight Colts games with no starts, and totaled 10 tackles and no interceptions or sacks.

Coaching career[edit]

Arizona Cardinals[edit]

On February 10, 2011, Townsend was hired as assistant defensive backs coach of the Arizona Cardinals, joining former coach Ray Horton who was named defensive coordinator.[5] In the 2011 NFL draft, the Cardinals selected cornerback Patrick Peterson with the 5th pick.[6] The Cardinals would go 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the second straight year. During the season they would the defeat the would-be NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers 21-19.[7] Under his coaching, safety Adrian Wilson would be named PFF's second-team All-Pro and would be selected to the Pro Bowl.[8][9]

In the 2012 NFL draft, the Cardinals selected cornerback Jamell Fleming and safety Justin Bethel with the 80th and 177th picks respectively.[10][11] The Cardinals would go 5-11 and miss the playoffs for the third straight year. During the season, they would defeat two playoff teams, the AFC East champion New England Patriots & the Seattle Seahawks.[12][13] Under his coaching, Patrick Peterson would lead the NFL in fumble recoveries and finish 4th in interceptions, defensive back James Sanders would lead the NFL in fumble return yards & defensive back Greg Toler would record the longest interception return of the year with 102 yards.[14] Patrick Peterson would be named to the Pro Bowl.[15] He would be released alongside head coach Ken Whisenhunt at the end of the season.

Mississippi State[edit]

In January 2013, Townsend was hired as cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State University.[16] The Bulldogs would go 7-6 and would win the Liberty Bowl, defeating Rice 44-7.[17] They would lose to all of their ranked opponents, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 10 LSU, No. 14 South Carolina, No. 11 Texas A&M, and No. 1 Alabama.[18] Under his coaching, defensive back Nickoe Whitley recorded 5 interceptions, 2nd-best in the SEC, Jamerson Love ranked 2nd in interception return touchdowns, and Taveze Calhoun ranked 2nd in interception return yards.[19] Whitley would be named All-SEC.

In 2014, the Bulldogs ended the season ranked No. 11, going 10-3 and would lose the Orange Bowl to No. 10 Georgia Tech 34-49.[20] They would win 3 of their five ranked matchups, defeating No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M, and No. 2 Auburn, but falling to No. 4 Alabama & No. 18 Ole Miss.[21]

In 2015, the Bulldogs went 9-4 and would win the Belk Bowl, defeating NC State 51-28.[22] They would lose all of their ranked matchups, No. 14 LSU, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 3 Alabama, and No. 19 Ole Miss.[23]

Tennessee Titans[edit]

On January 26, 2016, Townsend was named the defensive backs coach of the Tennessee Titans, joining his former defensive coordinator when he was a player, Dick LeBeau from the Steelers during 2004-09.[24] In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Titans took safety Kevin Byard in the third round (64th pick).[25] In 2016, the Titans went 9-7 but missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season. During the season, the Titans would defeat four playoff teams, the NFC North champion Green Bay Packers, the AFC West Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami Dolphins & the Detroit Lions.[26][27][28][29]

In 2017, the Titans went 9-7 but made the playoffs for the first time since 2008.[30] They would beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 in the wild-card round, winning their first playoff game since 2003.[31] They would lose to the New England Patriots 14-35 in the divisional round.[32] Under his coaching, safety Kevin Byard would lead the NFL in interceptions, make the 2018 Pro Bowl, and was named first-team All-Pro.[33][34]

New York Giants[edit]

On February 6, 2018, Townsend was named the assistant defensive backs coach for the New York Giants.[35] During 2018, the Giants went 5-11 for the first time since 1995 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.[36] They would defeat two playoff teams, the AFC South champion Houston Texans & the NFC North champion Chicago Bears.[37][38] Under his coaching, cornerback Janoris Jenkins ranked 5th in passes defended and safety Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl.[39][40]

Chicago Bears[edit]

On January 18, 2019, Townsend was named the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears,[41] a position that was eventually renamed to secondary coach.[42] The Bears went 8-8 in 2019 and missed the playoffs.[43] Under his coaching, Kyle Fuller made the Pro Bowl.[44]

Jacksonville Jaguars[edit]

On February 17, 2022, Townsend was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as their passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach under head coach Doug Pederson.[45]


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  2. ^ "Steelers, Townsend agree to four-year deal". March 23, 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Steelers re-sign Townsend". March 17, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Hayes, Reggie (August 8, 2010). "Townsend saddles up with Colts". The News-Sentinel.
  5. ^ Somers, Kent (February 10, 2011). "Cards tab Horton to run defense". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Martin, Bill (April 28, 2011). "Peterson Selected Fifth by Arizona in '11 NFL Draft". LSU Tigers. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
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  9. ^ Kunnath, Avinash (December 27, 2011). "2012 Pro Bowl Selections: Larry Fitzgerald, Adrian Wilson, Patrick Peterson Represent Arizona Cardinals". SB Nation Arizona. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  10. ^ Nickel, Tyler (April 27, 2012). "NFL Draft 2012: Reaction To Cardinals' Third Round Pick Of Jamell Fleming". Revenge of the Birds. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "Bethel Drafted by NFL in Sixth Round". April 28, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
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  16. ^ Herndon, Mike (March 30, 2013). "Former Alabama star Deshea Townsend brings NFL experience to new job as Mississippi State assistant". al.
  17. ^ "Rice vs. Mississippi State - Game Recap". December 31, 2013. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  18. ^ "2013 Mississippi State Bulldogs Schedule and Results". College Football at Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  19. ^ "2013 Southeastern Conference Year Summary". College Football at Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  20. ^ "Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech - Game Recap". December 31, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  21. ^ "2014 Mississippi State Bulldogs Schedule and Results". College Football at Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  22. ^ "NC State vs. Mississippi State - Game Recap". December 30, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  23. ^ "2015 Mississippi State Bulldogs Schedule and Results". College Football at Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  24. ^ Kuharsky, Paul (January 26, 2016). "Mularkey's Titans staff will feature seven newcomers, eight holdovers".
  25. ^ McCormick, Terry (April 30, 2016). "Titans go local, draft MTSU safety Kevin Byard in third". Titan Insider.
  26. ^ Walker, Teresa (November 13, 2016). "Titans score 21 points in 1st quarter, rout Packers 47-25". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
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  28. ^ Wine, Steven (October 9, 2016). "Mariota throws for 3 scores to help Titans beat Miami 30-17". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  29. ^ Lambert, Terry A. (September 18, 2016). "Titans beat the Lions 16-15". Music City Miracles. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  30. ^ Stites, Adam (December 31, 2017). "How the Titans earned a spot in the NFL playoffs".
  31. ^ Benne, Jon (January 6, 2018). "All the highlights from Titans' shocking win over Chiefs".
  32. ^ "Patriots beat Titans 35-14 to head back to AFC title game". January 13, 2018.
  33. ^ Boclair, David (January 22, 2018). "Two more Titans headed to Pro Bowl". Nashville Post.
  34. ^ Wolfe, Cameron (January 5, 2018). "Kevin Byard receives due respect, named first-team All-Pro".
  35. ^ Marvez, Alex (February 6, 2018). "Giants add two more to revamped coaching staff".
  36. ^ D'Andrea, Christian (December 7, 2018). "A 'simple' 19-step guide to the Giants' since-dashed playoff hopes".
  37. ^ Traina, Patricia (September 23, 2018). "New York Giants Offense Finally Clicks In First Win Of 2018 Season". Forbes. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  38. ^ Lombardo, Matt (December 3, 2018). "Overtime thriller! Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants". nj. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  39. ^ "2018 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  40. ^ Eisen, Michael (December 19, 2018). "Saquon Barkley, Landon Collins, and Aldrick Rosas make 2018 Pro Bowl".
  41. ^ Finley, Patrick (January 18, 2019). "Bears name former NFL CB Deshea Townsend new defensive backs coach". Chicago Sun-Times.
  42. ^ Finley, Patrick (February 8, 2019). "Bears' Matt Nagy promotes two coaches to round out defensive staff". Chicago Sun-Times.
  43. ^ Hackman, Ryan (December 29, 2019). "The Chicago Bears were a fluke in 2018". Bear Goggles On. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  44. ^ Wiederer, Dan (December 17, 2019). "Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cordarrelle Patterson are named to the Pro Bowl and 3 more Bears are announced as alternates". Chicago Tribune.
  45. ^ "Jaguars Finalize 2022 Coaching Staff". Jacksonville Jaguars. February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.

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