CLEVELAND — T.C. McCartney has quite the football pedigree.
The son of late former University of Colorado star quarterback Sal Aunese, grandson of legendary former Buffaloes coach Bill McCartney and nephew of high school coach Tom McCartney, it seemed as though T.C. was destined to be play a role in the game.
And now, T.C. McCartney returns to the very place where his NFL journey began in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, where he will be an offensive assistant on coach Kevin Stefanski’s inaugural coaching staff.
“I knew I was going to coach,” McCartney said in a release announcing his hire. “I knew I wasn’t going to play in the NFL. It kind of influenced how I learned things. I always looked at it from a coach’s perspective because that’s how I grew up. All those years playing, I think I saw it a little bit differently than the guys I played with.
“I don’t know any different. I always wanted to be just like my grandpa. I was very young when he was coaching, so my image of him is almost like my uncle. Between those two, those are definitely the people who I wanted to be like growing up as a coach and a person.”
After competing for the Louisiana State University Tigers, McCartney began his post-playing career as a graduate assistant on The Bayou in 2011. Then, after serving in a similar capacity at Colorado, McCartney joined the NFL ranks with the Browns.
McCartney helped with the installation of an offensive system under coordinator Kyle Shanahan that led the Browns to a 7-4 start to the 2014 season before a five-game losing streak at the end of the year spoiled a chance at the playoffs.
“I’ve picked up a lot from working with Kyle,” McCartney said. “The first time I worked with him was here in Cleveland. It took about 30 seconds in that first meeting to realize that he was the real deal. Ever since then, I’ve tried to soak up as much as I can schematically and with him as a teacher and him leading a room and a team. He’s very good at it, and I’m appreciative that I got to work for him.”
In 2015 and again from 2017-2018, McCartney was with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant/quality control coach. In-between his stops in San Francisco, McCartney was a graduate assistant/offensive assistant coach at LSU.
McCartney spent the 2019 season as quarterbacks coach of the Denver Broncos.
“T.C. is a great young coach, has an amazing story,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I think he’s seen a lot in the NFL for a young man. I think his knowledge of the offensive game is something we’re really looking forward to add to our group.”
Along with his family pedigree, McCartney grew up watching, and later coaching for Eric Bieniemy, the Colorado star who is now the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator and interviewed for several openings over the last two offseasons.
With the Browns, McCartney will work alongside Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.
“I think it’s always fun to be able to work for somebody who played the position and played at a high level and was coaching the position a long time and coached really good players,” McCartney said. “I’m excited to learn everything that he’s done and everything that he knows.”