Deshea Townsend
refer to caption
Townsend (left) with the Steelers in 2007
Detroit Lions
Position:Defensive Passing game coordinator & cornerbacks coach
Personal information
Born: (1975-09-08) September 8, 1975 (age 48)
Batesville, Mississippi, U.S.
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:183 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school:South Panola
(Batesville, Mississippi)
NFL draft:1998 / Round: 4 / Pick: 117
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:449
Forced fumbles:5
Fumble recoveries:3
Defensive touchdowns:3
Player stats at · PFR

Trevor Deshea Townsend (born September 8, 1975) is an American football coach and former cornerback who most recently served as the passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He previously worked as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.

Townsend played college football for the Alabama Crimson Tide and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round (117th overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft, where he spent his entire career, besides his final year with the Indianapolis Colts.

Early years

A native of Batesville, Mississippi, Townsend played high school football for the South Panola Tigers, where he was the teammate of fellow future Alabama Crimson Tide star Dwayne Rudd. Townsend played quarterback at South Panola and led the team to the 1993 Mississippi State 5A championship and an undefeated 15–0 record.

Playing career


Along with Rudd, Townsend continued his career in college at the University of Alabama where both became members of the Theta Delta Chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, in 1995. He majored in business management.

He had seven career interceptions at Alabama. In 1995 at Georgia, Townsend returned a blocked field goal attempt 90 yards for a touchdown in a 31-0 win.

Townsend was named All-SEC in 1995, 1996, and 1997.

National Football League

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Townsend in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 1998 NFL Draft. He was the 14th cornerback drafted in 1998.[1]

Townsend (#26) making a tackle in 2005

Townsend grew from a special teams player and nickelback (and initially known in Pittsburgh as the first player to wear Rod Woodson's number 26 after left the Steelers), into a solid starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers at cornerback. Townsend was known for his outside speed as a pass rusher. Townsend has recorded 322 tackles, 15.5 quarterback sacks and 18 interceptions during his twelve years as a Steeler. He also had a key sack on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck during the final minutes of Super Bowl XL, which helped secure the Steelers eventual victory.

On March 23, 2002, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Townsend to a four-year, $4.20 million contract as an unrestricted free agent that included a signing bonus of $1 million. He visited with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during free agency and his agent was also contacted by the New England Patriots, Houston Texans, and Atlanta Falcons.[2]

On March 17, 2006, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Townsend to a four-year, $8 million contract that included a signing bonus of $2 million. He received the contract offer during a visit with the New England Patriots.[3]

During the 2008 season, Townsend accepted the reduced role from starting cornerback to the nickel package.

Indianapolis Colts

In August 2010, Townsend joined the Indianapolis Colts.[4] On November 9, 2010, he was waived by the Colts. For the season, Townsend played in eight Colts games with no starts, and totaled 10 tackles and no interceptions or sacks.

Coaching career

Arizona Cardinals

On February 10, 2011, Townsend was hired as assistant defensive backs coach of the Arizona Cardinals, joining former coach Ray Horton who was named defensive coordinator.[5] He was released alongside head coach Ken Whisenhunt at the end of the 2012 season.

Mississippi State

In January 2013, Townsend was hired as cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State University.[6] Under his coaching, defensive back Nickoe Whitley recorded 5 interceptions, 2nd-best in the SEC, Jamerson Love ranked 2nd in interception return touchdowns, and Taveze Calhoun ranked 2nd in interception return yards.[7] Whitley would be named All-SEC.

Tennessee Titans

On January 26, 2016, Townsend was named the defensive backs coach of the Tennessee Titans, joining his former defensive coordinator when he was a player, Dick LeBeau from the Steelers during 2004-09.[8] Under his coaching, safety Kevin Byard led the NFL in interceptions, make the 2018 Pro Bowl, and was named first-team All-Pro.[9][10]

New York Giants

On February 6, 2018, Townsend was named the assistant defensive backs coach for the New York Giants.[11] Under his coaching, cornerback Janoris Jenkins ranked 5th in passes defended and safety Landon Collins made the Pro Bowl.[12][13]

Chicago Bears

On January 18, 2019, Townsend was named the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears,[14] a position that was eventually renamed to secondary coach.[15] Under his coaching, Kyle Fuller made the Pro Bowl.[16]

Jacksonville Jaguars

On February 17, 2022, Townsend was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as their passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach under head coach Doug Pederson.[17] He was let go of his duties and fired on January 8, 2024.[18]


  1. ^ "1998 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved March 29, 2023.
  2. ^ "Steelers, Townsend agree to four-year deal". March 23, 2002. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Steelers re-sign Townsend". March 17, 2006. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  4. ^ Hayes, Reggie (August 8, 2010). "Townsend saddles up with Colts". The News-Sentinel.
  5. ^ Somers, Kent (February 10, 2011). "Cards tab Horton to run defense". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Herndon, Mike (March 30, 2013). "Former Alabama star Deshea Townsend brings NFL experience to new job as Mississippi State assistant". al.
  7. ^ "2013 Southeastern Conference Year Summary". College Football at Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  8. ^ Kuharsky, Paul (January 26, 2016). "Mularkey's Titans staff will feature seven newcomers, eight holdovers".
  9. ^ Boclair, David (January 22, 2018). "Two more Titans headed to Pro Bowl". Nashville Post.
  10. ^ Wolfe, Cameron (January 5, 2018). "Kevin Byard receives due respect, named first-team All-Pro".
  11. ^ Marvez, Alex (February 6, 2018). "Giants add two more to revamped coaching staff".
  12. ^ "2018 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Eisen, Michael (December 19, 2018). "Saquon Barkley, Landon Collins, and Aldrick Rosas make 2018 Pro Bowl".
  14. ^ Finley, Patrick (January 18, 2019). "Bears name former NFL CB Deshea Townsend new defensive backs coach". Chicago Sun-Times.
  15. ^ Finley, Patrick (February 8, 2019). "Bears' Matt Nagy promotes two coaches to round out defensive staff". Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. ^ Wiederer, Dan (December 17, 2019). "Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cordarrelle Patterson are named to the Pro Bowl and 3 more Bears are announced as alternates". Chicago Tribune.
  17. ^ "Jaguars Finalize 2022 Coaching Staff". Jacksonville Jaguars. February 17, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  18. ^