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Bengals coaching profile: James Casey

A former MLB prospect turned seven-year tight end, Casey has as interesting of a background as any first-time NFL coach.

San Francisco 49ers v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The duo of new head coach Zac Taylor (35) and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan (34) make up the NFL’s youngest HC-OC tandem in 2019. The tight end coach the Bengals have hired to work with them is aged right in between them.

Tight ends coach James Casey was one of the first assistants hired by the Bengals after Taylor was officially announced as head coach. He replaces the Bengals’ long-time assistant Jonathan Hayes at the position.

An NFL veteran of seven years just four years removed from retirement, Casey’s (34) birthday falls between Callahan’s and Taylor’s. What Casey brings with youth, he brings with notable coaching inexperience as well.

After his final year in the league, Casey joined the University of Houston’s coaching staff as his first stop in his coaching career.


  • 2016: Houston (Offensive Analyst)
  • 2017: Houston (Special Teams Coordinator)
  • 2018: Houston (Special Teams Coordinator/TE Coach)

There isn’t much say about Casey’s coaching career. He was initially hired by Houston for good reason, as the city has always been a critical part of his playing career. He was born in (relatively) nearby Fort Worth and eventually played tight end for Rice University in Houston. He was drafted by the Houston Texans in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, where he played for four of his seven years in the league.

Casey then played for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles for two seasons before finishing his career with the Denver Broncos, who won Super Bowl 50 under Gary Kubiak that season. Casey was unfortunately cut in October of that season, and that was ultimately the end of his playing career.

Before all of that, Casey was an 18-year old seventh-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox in 2003 as a starting pitcher. A few unsuccessful years in the minor leagues led to a new path in football. Casey was quarterback in high school and sent admission letters to various schools in Texas, with the hopes of walking on in football. Rice was the school that answered, because the offensive coordinator at the time, Tom Herman, was intrigued by Casey’s skillset.

Though he was listed as a tight end, Casey produced as a big slot receiver in Herman’s offense and lit up the boxscore in his sophomore year, hauling in 1,369 yards and 13 touchdowns. He declared for the NFL Draft following that season, and the rest is history.

Casey has a tall task in 2019, as the tight end position could look vastly different for the Bengals. All three of Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah are free agents and it’s unlikely that all three will be back. There’s also young guys like Mason Schreck and Jordan Franks that could use Casey’s helpful guidance as a receiving tight end.