Mike Shanahan gave Keith Burns his first shot as an NFL coach. Now he’s giving him his first chance to be a coordinator.
The Redskins have hired Burns to be their special teams coordinator Monday, a league source confirmed. One high-ranking team official said “not yet” when asked about the move, but it is expected to be made official Tuesday. Burns spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with Denver after being hired by Shanahan in 2007 as a special teams assistant. Burns takes over for Danny Smith, who left to join Pittsburgh’s staff after nine seasons with Washington. Some players, including Pro Bowler, and pending free agent, Lorenzo Alexander, had publicly said they hoped Smith’s assistant Richard Hightower w
Burns, who played for T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, spent 13 years in the NFL, including 11 with Denver in a career that started as a seventh-round pick in 1994. He was a special teams standout on the Broncos’ teams that won the Super Bowl after the 1997 and ’98 seasons.
He spent two years as a special teams assistant; two more as a coaching assistant and the past two seasons as the assistant special teams coach.
A 2007 interview reveals his thoughts on special teams.
“[Special teams] is all about want-to, and that’s all special teams is about,” Burns said. “If you want to get the job done, you’ll get it done. You’ve got some guys out there that forever reason, felt they were doing their job, but if you go back and look at film, you need to be at where you’re supposed to be at — bottom line. “Everybody has to be accountable on special teams, because we don’t get second down, third down, fourth down. We get one down, and that’s that down on that given play, so you’ve got to go out there and do what is expected of you to make a play and get the guy down.”
He also once said of playing special teams, “I enjoy doing what I do. Football is a young game and at the same time, I am young at heart and that is the feeling that I have always had coming into training camp.”