Townsend makes stride in NFL coaching career
By Myra Bean
When the Tennessee Titans lost in the playoffs, they decided to cut their losses and dismissed the entire coaching staff except for Deshea Townsend, assistant defensive backs coach.
However, Townsend, 42, of Batesville, decided to see what else was out there and accepted the assistant defensive line coach position with the New York Giants, as they were restructuring their own organization.
Townsend joins offensive lineman John Jerry of Batesville and former Ole Miss quarterback and current Giants quarterback Eli Manning. He said in an interview Monday that he has spoken with Manning but has not seen Jerry yet.
Townsend, along with his wife Carla, son Ty and daughter Sky, moved to New Jersey where the Giants are located. Their oldest daughter, Shay, just graduated from his Alma Mater, the University of Alabama and is now looking to enroll in culinary school. Ty is in the seventh grade and played his first year of junior high football as quarterback and linebacker.
Sky is becoming an accomplished gymnast. The availability of gymnastic programs was a big concern when they were deciding to make the move, according to Townsend. New Jersey has turned out some national gymnastic champions, so the Townsends have found a gym that may work for them.
Townsend is a South Panola alumni and is credited with leading the football team to its first ever state championship in 1993. He went on to play football at the University of Alabama and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1997. He went on to enjoy an illustrious 11-year career with the Steelers, winning two Super Bowl rings.
He spent his last season with the Indianapolis Colts. While he was deciding what to do, he was selected as an assistant defensive back coach for the Arizona Cardinals. After a couple of years there, he took a position with Mississippi State University. Then he went back to the professional ranks as a defensive back assistant with the Tennessee Titans.
New York Giants
Townsend could have remained at Tennessee, but he saw the opportunity to get around new coaches and coaching staffs.
“It was good going somewhere new,” Townsend said. “The big thing, the new defensive coordinator had reached out to me, just told me what his thought processes were, getting the opportunity to work with some of the guys up here. Coach said some really great things about the head coach. He talked about how good of people they were. That was a big thing to me, listening to a veteran coach talk about the situation that happened. It seemed like it was a good fit for me.”
Though there are probably several players going through free agency this year, Townsend said he will be working with Eli Apple, Horace Jenkins, Landon Collins – the guys in the defensive secondary.
“All of them are really good players,” Townsend said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
The New York organization offered Townsend a different kind of challenge. He said he looks forward to meeting new people. The new rules governing defensive players hitting, on contact inside five yards and really good wide receivers makes it tough, Townsend said.
“You have to do things the right way. I say win with your feet, have to have great eyes,” he said.
Townsend talked about what new head coach Pat Shurmur goals had set for the team. Shurmur wants to put certain things on tape.
“I believe the main thing is sound football, being mentally tough, not beating yourself. Those are the type of little things that when you do that, good stuff shows up on tape and on the field. We want to play good, sound football.”
As for the Super Bowl commercial, Townsend said the team is developing a new mindset.
“Any time you get a new mind set, a lot of guys are on the same page, especially with the coaching staff, it’s going to be real exciting. I am just looking forward to the opportunity, staying in the game, keep learning, keep doing what we are supposed to do,” he said.
As for what the future holds, Townsend said he takes these positions in hopes of becoming a coordinator and then a head coach in the NFL one day.
“That’s my goal. Everything we do you got to have goals. Of course, I want to be the best assistant coach that I can be. I hope to have the opportunity to be a coordinator, be a head coach. I love the game. That’s why I’m doing it.”
He did say to tell everyone hello.