Panthers hire Steve Russ as linebackers coach

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The Panthers have begun the process of backfilling a coaching staff that’s been poached over the last two offseasons.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers are hiring Air Force defensive coordinator Steve Russ as their linebackers coach,.

He’ll replace Al Holcomb, who went to Arizona to be Steve Wilks’ defensive coordinator. The Panthers promoted line coach Eric Washington to replace Wilks, making him their third coordinator in as many years (after Sean McDermott got the Bills job last year).

Russ played for Air Force and was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos, and was part of Denver’s 1997 and 1998 Super Bowl champion teams, but this is his first NFL coaching job. He’s also worked at Wake Forest, Syracuse, Ohio in addition to the time at his alma mater.

He also played in the XFL, winning a championship as a member of the Los Angeles Xtreme. They beat the San Francisco Demons (who were coached by Panthers running backs coach Jim Skipper) in that game.