Former Cleveland Browns player and head coach Jim Shofner passed away today, aged 85. He was a longtime assistant coach on several NFL teams. At this time, no cause of death has been released.
Shofner grew up in Texas and was a college football star at TCU, playing on both sides of the ball for the Horned Frogs.
Jim Shofner’s NFL playing career
The Cleveland Browns drafted Shofner in the first round of the 1958 NFL Draft. He became the team’s starting cornerback the following year. Jim Shofman retired from the league after six years in the NFL, citing business opportunities.
Football coaching career
Shofman returned to his alma mater TCU to become an assistant coach in 1966.
The next year, Shofner joined the pro ranks once again as an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers. He would stay with the Niners for six years, coaching on both offense and defense.
In December 1973, Jim Shofner was named head coach at Texas Christian. It was an ill-fated time for the coach as the team struggled and Shofner resigned after three forgettable seasons.
He quickly resurfaced with the 49ers before calling the plays for the Cleveland Browns’ offense over three seasons. Shofner was the quarterbacks coach when Browns QB Brian Sipe won the MVP in 1980.
The Houston Oilers hired him as their offensive coordinator in 1981 but after two tough seasons, he left for the Dallas Cowboys.
After three years in Dallas, Shofner was on the move again, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In 1990, he returned to his former NFL team, the Cleveland Browns. Head coach Bud Carson was fired on November 5 and Shofner was named interim head coach, but the Browns won only one of their remaining seven games.
Shofner became the Buffalo Bills quarterback coach in 1992 and the team reached the Super Bowl in his first two seasons. He left the Bills and NFL coaching for good after the 1996 season.
Football and family legacy
Jim Shofner was inducted into the TCU Hall of Fame in 1981. In 2017, he was named #53 on the top 100 TCU players of all-time.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy; son Mike and his wife Lisa; their sons, John and Daniel; his daughter Elizabeth and her husband, Jeff; and their sons, James and Jake.