Two former Carolina Panthers defenders are making a comeback.
Except this time, Brentson Buckner and Chris Harris will be wearing headsets instead of helmets.
Buckner, who played defensive tackle for the Panthers for 2001-2005, is set to join the Arizona Cardinals as the defensive line coach, according to the Charlotte Observer.
After retiring in 2005 after 12 NFL seasons, Buckner – affably known as "Buck" in the Carolinas – has been the defensive coordinator at Charlotte's Victory Christian high school, and head coach of the Charlotte Speed (now defunct) and Northside Christian high school.
The 41-year-old also interned with the Steelers from 2010-2012, where he was introduced to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, who was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator from 2007-2011.
Buckner knows that coaching in the NFL is a big jump, but feels he's fully capable of making the transition.
“It’s a big jump but I was blessed with the years of playing in the NFL, coaching high school kids and even the little time with the (indoor football team) Charlotte Speed has really helped me build everything together,” Buckner told the Charlotte Observer. “In Pittsburgh, the coaches let me see what a coach’s life is. I was in every personnel meeting, breaking down film, putting down practice plans. They exposed to so much and it was just natural.”
Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune has reported that former Panthers safety Chris Harris was hired as a defensive quality control coach for the Chicago Bears – just two days after announcing his retirement.
Harris played eight seasons in NFL, including three in Carolina from 2007-2009. He earned the reputation of being a ball hawk and hard hitter, setting a team record and a league-high eight forced fumbles in 2007.
Harris, a former sixth-round pick of the Bears, will begin his coaching career with the same team that gave him his first chance as a player. However, the 30-year-old Arkansas native won't be the only new face on the Chicago sidelines.
Despite a 10-6 record, Lovie Smith was given his walking papers this offseason after the team failed to make the playoffs. He was replaced with Marc Trestman, who spent the last five seasons as head coach of the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
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