Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers called the coaching methods of DJ Durkin “extreme at times,” describing the style used by the Maryland coach who is on administrative leave pending an investigation into the death of Jordan McNair as “bully coaching.”
Peppers, who played for Durkin when he worked under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, described the coach as “a different guy, you know what I mean. His tactics were different. It felt extreme at times,” he said on “The Rich Eisen Show.”
“I’m just as shocked reading all the stuff that’s going on now. I thought he was only like that because it was his first time coaching us. He was the defensive coordinator so he was just trying to get us to buy in to how he wants his defense to play. I thought once he became a head coach that he would calm down a little bit, become more of a people person, a player’s coach.”
In a news conference Tuesday, the school’s president and athletic director acknowledged that athletic trainers failed to properly diagnose and treat McNair during a workout on May 29. Wallace D. Loh, the school’s president, said staff failed to note that McNair was experiencing exertional heatstroke and did not follow the treatment protocol by icing his body to lower his temperature, which had reached 106 degrees. McNair died in a hospital 15 days later. Rick Court, the strength and conditioning coach who ran the workout at which Durkin and his coaches were present, resigned his position Monday.
“It’s just the way he goes about getting the most out of his players,” Peppers said. “Me being from where I’m from, I didn’t like it but at the end of the day I knew what the overall goal was. The way I would describe it, it’s kind of like bully coaching. I don’t think he meant anything by it — it’s just kind of how it comes off.”
Durkin was Michigan’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Harbaugh in 2015 and was an assistant on his staff at Stanford from 2007 to 2009. Harbaugh said Monday that he has not spoken to Durkin since he was placed on leave Aug. 11.
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