The St. Louis Battlehawks have changed their coaching staff ahead of their game against the DC Defenders this Sunday. The team hired former NFL player and USC All-American Chris Claiborne as their new linebackers coach, replacing Dave Steckel after his sudden resignation.
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Claiborne’s appointment comes after Steckel was announced as the Battlehawks linebackers coach in September 2022. The reasons for Steckel’s resignation have yet to be made public, but the team quickly found a replacement in Claiborne. While Anthony Becht hasn’t addressed the reason for Steckel’s departure he’s expressed excitement for the new hire.
Claiborne was a prolific linebacker during his college career at USC. In his senior season, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American and was named the Butkus Award winner.
The following year, the Detroit Lions selected Claiborne in the first round (ninth pick overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft. Claiborne brings a wealth of experience to the Battlehawks, having played in the NFL for eight seasons, including a stint with the St. Louis Rams in 2005.
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Since retiring from the NFL, Claiborne has held coaching positions at Calabasas High School and USC. Most recently, Claiborne spent two seasons as the linebackers coach at Arizona State University, and before that, he was an Offensive Quality Control Analyst for USC in 2020-21. Before that, Chris served as the head coach at Calabasas High School from 2018-19.
The Battlehawks are led by veteran former Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron who is third in the league for total passing yards (374) and completion rating (64.5%). They’ve allowed their opponents to score 16.6 points while they’ve managed to score 19 points on average.
Claiborne’s experience and expertise should help with the transition as he’ll look to continue the team’s strong 2-0 start under the leadership of Anthony Becht, a former Southern California tight end. The team sits at the top of the North Division, along with the DC Defenders, with both teams holding an undefeated record heading into Sunday’s game.
Claiborne takes the reigns of a talented group with the likes of former Cleaveland Brown, Willie Harvey Jr., Syracuse defensive star Lakiem Williams, and Iowa State standout Mike Rose.
With the Battlehawks’ linebacking corps full of talent, it will be interesting to see how his influence impacts the team’s performance as they take on the DC Defenders in what promises to be an exciting clash between the two undefeated teams in the North Division.
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