Deshea Townsend is in his first season as the Bears secondary coach after being hired by the team on January 18, 2019.
A 13-year NFL veteran at cornerback, Townsend enters his sixth season coaching defensive backs in the NFL. Townsend previously spent the 2018 season as an assistant defensive backs coach for the New York Giants, in addition to prior stints with the Tennessee Titans (secondary, 2016-17), Mississippi State University (cornerbacks, 2013-15) and the Arizona Cardinals (assistant defensive backs coach, 2011-12).
Last season, he tutored Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins, who prior to going on IR after Week 13, led the Giants and was second among all NFL defensive backs in total tackles (96).
In 2017 with Tennessee, Titans safety Kevin Byard tied Detroit’s Darius Slay with an NFL-best eight interceptions. Byard was also third on the team with 87 tackles (62 solo).
From 2013-15, Townsend was the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State. In 2014, he helped the Bulldogs defense lead the nation in passes defensed (89) and passes broken up (73) while ranking 15th nationally in interceptions (15). In 2013, the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the SEC in passing defense, allowing only 205.2 yards through the air.
Townsend got his first NFL coaching job with the Cardinals as an assistant defensive backs coach in 2011, a position he held for two seasons. He helped Arizona limit opponents to 215.9 net passing yards per game through two seasons, the fifth-best average in the NFC. Under Townsend’s guidance, cornerback Patrick Peterson earned back-to-back Pro Bowl honors in addition to AP All-Pro and PFWA All-Team selections as a rookie in 2011.
As a pro, Townsend appeared in 191 games with 80 starts for Pittsburgh (1998-2009) and Indianapolis (2010). He tallied 21 career interceptions, 428 tackles, 15.5 sacks, three touchdowns, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He was a member of the Steelers teams that defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XL and Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. Townsend played six seasons (2004-09) under Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, who was a defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh during their time together.
A four-year starter and a captain at the University of Alabama, Townsend entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice (117th overall) by the Steelers in 1998.
Born in Batesville, Miss., Townsend played quarterback for South Panola High School. He led the Tigers to a 5A state championship appearance in 1992 as a senior.