Steelers Hire Something Called Player Engagement Coordinator


The Pittsburgh Steelers have added a new member to the coaching staff according to Scott Brown of ESPN. Terry Cousin has been hired as the new player engagement coordinator, whatever that is.

New? There was an old one? There was. Ray Jackson performed this role for the Steelers for a decade before he left to be director of player development for the Denver Broncos.

Cousin is a former NFL player and had quite a wild and unlikely ride during his time. Cousin was an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina in 1997 but got picked up by the Chicago Bears his rookie year.

He ended up playing twelve seasons in several teams. The longest tenure was three seasons with the Bears and also the Jaguars. The rest of the teams include the  Falcons, Dolphins, Giants, Panthers, and Browns during his last season in 2008. He finished his career with 371 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 13 interceptions.

Cousin started this line of work at University of South Carolina, where he graduated, in 2010 as Director of Player Development. He was also the sideline reporter for Gamecock Radio Network.

In 2012, he moved to the pros and became Director of Player Engagement for the Buccaneers. Then in 2014 he spent a season in the same role with the Bears. So this is actually a very common position among football coaching staffs, just nobody can agree what to call it.

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A player engagement coordinator sounds like a front office title but he’ll be officially under Tomlin and part of the coaching staff. He has a wide array of duties. He is tasked to help with life skills in general. Cousin will also help players with transitioning both to and from the NFL. He’ll assist players with continuing education and with being charitable and active in the community.

The NFL has a website called Player Engagement specifically for this aspect of the game. The site lists a myriad of programs, summits, awards, and camps to assist players in developing outside of or along with their playing development.

Skimming through the site you really get a sense of the scope of what subject matter is under their responsibility. If life skills and all those vague terms seem to you could mean anything, then you’re not far off because anything, or everything, seems to be part of player engagement.

It’s true, this is not necessarily a game changer, but we’re talking about the Steelers during offseason, sometimes we just need to know they’re still there.

Think of him almost like a guidance counselor.

Although he may not be directly involved in any strategy or improving players directly he is someone players will interact with regularly and could be an impact on the overall tone and attitude of the team. You’d have to think someone who went undrafted but had a 12 year NFL career certainly couldn’t hurt the team’s attitude.

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