Former Clemson All-American linebacker and NFL All-Pro Levon Kirkland has been hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coach under a two-year arrangement under the Bill Bidwell Coachin Fellowship program.
Kirkland is the first recipient of the honor named for the Cardinals owner and will coach outside linebackers, a position he played in both college and during his 11-year pro career with the Steelers, Eagles, and Seahawks.
He spent the offseason as a Cardinals’ coaching intern. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said because colleges and the NFL start training camps about the same time, the window for interns who work on the college level – like those who come through the Bill Walsh minority coaching fellowship – is too tight. Retired players who want to get into coaching have the ability to work with a team longer.
Kirkland recently worked as an assistant at Florida A&M.
The news comes at the same time the Cardinals announced they hired Jen Welter to work during training camp and the preseason as an intern coaching linebackers. She’s believed to be the NFL’s first-ever female coach.
Welter is a former college rugby player and also played 14 seasons of pro football, mostly in the Women’s Football Alliance.