The Cincinnati Bengals have announced the addition of five coaches to work with the team as interns in the 2017 Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Program. The coaches who will be in Cincinnati this summer are Aaron Curry, Roderick Plummer, Tory Woodbury, Johnathan Carr and and Levon Kirkland.
The Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship helps to springboard opportunities for NFL coaching careers, just as it did with two current Bengals coaches — head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive line coach Jacob Burney — both of whom were interns in the Walsh Fellowship program.
“I had the opportunity to work in this program when Coach Walsh initiated it with the 49ers, and it’s great to see it continue as strong as it is,” said Lewis via a press release. “We are happy to have these coaches with us to benefit our staff as well as aid in their development as a coach.”
The Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program was established in 1987 to provide NFL training camp positions to minority coaches each year. The program exposes talented minority college coaches to the methods and philosophies of summer training camps and OTAs.
Walsh, who was the head coach of the 49ers after being the Bengals' offensive coordinator, introduced the idea to the NFL in 1987 when he brought a group of minority coaches to 49ers training camp. Since then, the program has taken off and helped notable names like Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and former NFL head coach Lovie Smith rise up the coaching hierarchy.
This fellowship, which has included former Bengals like Chris Crocker and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, has tutored more than 1,800 minority coaches through the years and has grown to the point that now every NFL team participates during either OTAs or training camp.
Here are bios on this year’s Bengals coaching interns and when they’ll be in Cincinnati.
- Levon Kirkland is the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Florida A&M University. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round (38th overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft out of Clemson and played inside linebacker for 11 NFL seasons with the Steelers (1992-2000), Seahawks (2001) and Eagles (2002). A two-time Pro Bowler (1996-97), he appeared in 176 games (155 starts) and registered 1,110 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 11 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles and nine recoveries.
Kirkland will work with the Bengals during training camp.
- Aaron Curry is the defensive line coach at UNC Charlotte. Curry was the 2008 Butkus Award Winner, awarded to the nation’s top linebacker, and the fourth pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders.
Curry is working during OTAs and is already in Cincinnati.
- Roderick Plummer is the running backs coach at Florida A&M University. Plummer played linebacker in college at Washington State University. Plummer has 23 years of coaching experience, including stints at Holy Cross, University of Massachusetts and Yale, among others.
Plummer is working during OTAs and is already in Cincinnati.
- Tory Woodbury is the offensive coordinator at Johnson C. Smith University. Woodbury was selected in the seventh round of the 2001 NFL draft by the New York Jets. In three seasons with the Jets, he was a back-up to QBs Chad Pennington and Vinny Testaverde and a standout special teams performer. Woodbury’s career also included stints with the New Orleans Saints and Buffalo Bills.
Woodbury will work during minicamp and a portion of OTAs.
- Johnathan Carr is the offensive line and tight ends coach at Clark Atlanta University. A three-year letter winner during his playing days at Alabama State, Carr claimed a pair of SWAC Eastern Division Titles (2003, 2004) along with the conference championship in 2004. His coaching career began in 2007 as the offensive line coach at St. Jude High School in Montgomery, Alabama.
Carr will work with the Bengals during training camp.