Berry, Colts great, named to coach QBs


PONTIAC, Mich. -- Raymond Berry, a Hall of Fame receiver and a Super Bowl coach, was hired yesterday as the Detroit Lions' new quarterbacks coach.

That's right -- quarterbacks.

No, Berry has never coached quarterbacks.

No, he's not at all familiar with Lions quarterbacks Rodney Peete or Andre Ware.

No, he has no working knowledge of the run-and-shoot offense, although he did see the Lions play on television a couple of times last season.

And, yes, coach Wayne Fontes was aware of those factors when he gave Berry the job.

"I talked to a lot of people," Fontes said, "and I went after Raymond Berry. I felt he would add more to this program than any of the coaches I'd talked to.

"He's been a winner, he's been a player. As far as coming in here and coaching quarterbacks, I felt with his experience coaching receivers and the passing game, he would have no problem whatsoever coming in here -- whatever offense you're in -- and doing a great job. He gives this program tremendous credibility."

Berry, 57, admits the Lions' run-and-shoot is new to him.

"That's one of the things that's very appealing to me -- a chance to learn the offense and a system that has the ability to pressure defenses and create a lot of problems."

During his 13-year NFL career with the Baltimore Colts, Berry and quarterback John Unitas formed one of the most prolific passing combinations in NFL history. Berry retired in 1967 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973, his first year of eligibility.

Berry wasn't the only man with Baltimore ties to land an NFL job yesterday.

Berry remained out of football until 10 days ago, when former Green Bay coach Forrest Gregg suggested him as a candidate for the Lions quarterback coaching job.

Berry wasn't the only man with Baltimore ties to land an NFL job yesterday.

Gary Tranquill, who coached at Navy from 1982-86 (20-34-1), joined Bill Belichick's Cleveland Browns staff as quarterback coach.

Tranquill spent the past four years at the University of Virginia, where he coached quarterbacks to 2,000 yard passing seasons every year he was there.

Joe Ferguson, who stood in the pocket for 17 long years in the NFL, is coming home to Ruston, La., to work with friends. The quarterback will become the quarterback coach at Louisiana Tech, near his hometown of Shreveport.

Ferguson was at Buffalo for 12 seasons, Detroit for three, and a year each at Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad