Bill Callahan says it's a 'no-brainer' to work for his son coaching the Titans' O-line

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bill Callahan never thought he'd work for his son in the NFL. Not at his age and after all his years in the league.

As Brian Callahan interviewed for head coaching jobs in 2023, father and son talked at length about the idea, leaving Bill convinced he wouldn't join his son if and when a team hired him.

Then the Tennessee Titans hired Brian in January. With Cleveland's permission, Bill Callahan said he felt compelled to join his son.

“It really was a kind of a no-brainer in that regard,” said Bill, who turns 68 in July. “So it’s family, and I want to see him succeed. Just like any parent wants to see their children succeed. So, it’s rare. It’s unique. And so, oh yeah I’m fired up about it.”

Brian became just the seventh son to follow his father as a non-interim head coach in the NFL, joining Wade and the late Bum Phillips, the Jim Moras, Dick and Mike Nolan, Don and Dave Shula, the late Buddy and Rex Ryan and Mike and Kyle Shanahan.

Bill actually beat the Titans for the AFC championship in January 2003 in his first season as the then-Oakland Raiders' head coach. He also was interim head coach for Washington in 2019 before going to Cleveland in 2020. Tennessee is the seventh NFL team he's worked for.

Both his son and the Titans desperately need one of the NFL's best offensive line coaches.

Tennessee gave up 64 sacks last season, more than all but three teams. Left tackle has been a revolving door for the Titans for nearly three seasons, and four players started at that position in 2023.

General manager Ran Carthon signed Lloyd Cushenberry III in free agency to play center. Left guard Peter Skoronski was the 11th pick overall last year, and Carthon selected Alabama right tackle JC Latham with the No. 7 pick overall in April.

The GM even traded a seventh-round pick for Leroy Watson IV, a tight end converted to offensive line and coached in Cleveland by Callahan just before the draft.

Rookies reported for minicamp on Thursday and were on the field Friday with some new sleds designed for offensive linemen nicknamed Bertha and Olga and designed by Bill to better mimic clamping onto a defender.

The Titans plan to move Latham to left tackle, relying on Bill's experience flipping right tackles in college to the other end of the line.

He moved Tyron Smith in 2012 with Dallas. He flipped former Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills, the 10th overall pick in 2020 by Cleveland, to left tackle. The veteran coach isn't worried about Latham handling the switch, not with the 6-foot-6, 342-pound lineman's athletic ability.

“If you have the athleticism and you have strength ... and you have the muscle memory to change some skill sets, I think that’s it’s doable,” the new offensive line coach said.

Family ties usually don't trump NFL contracts for coaches, which is why Brian wasn't sure if he would get this chance. Once the Browns gave permission, there was no need for an interview. Father and son have been able to ride together to work in Nashville.

When talking football, they've even tossed around a 16-inch softball Bill grew up playing with in Chicago.

“It’s not something I ever thought would work, truthfully," Brian said of working with his father. “So, to be here with him is a really, really awesome moment for me, both as a son and as a professional because I know how much he can help us with his knowledge.”

NOTES: The Titans had 22 players in their rookie minicamp for tryouts. Those included CB William Jackson III, a first-round pick in 2016 by Cincinnati, and OLB Shane Ray, the 23rd overall pick by Denver in 2015. Callahan called this a three-day job interview.