MOBILE, Ala. – Shaun Dion Hamilton made the transition from NFL player to NFL coach earlier this year when the former linebacker ended his four-year playing career to join the Detroit Lions coaching staff as a defensive assistant.
Hamilton entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick by Washington in 2018 and earned a reputation in the pre-draft process as a smart and savvy player. He was a three-year starter at Alabama.
Hamilton has a new challenge this week after being named the defensive backs coach for the American Team at the Senior Bowl. It's a great opportunity for Hamilton to showcase his coaching skills on a national stage.
"It's been great to have my own room and coach guys up," Hamilton said after Tuesday's first American Team practice. "I remember being in their shoes and not knowing what to expect, so it's been great."
Hamilton wasn't able to play in the Senior Bowl following his senior year because of a knee injury he suffered late in the year against LSU. He said it's a little surreal coaching in a game he watched as a kid growing up in Alabama.
As a young NFL coach, this is a good week of work for Hamilton to be able to step out of his comfort zone a little bit and coach a different position. Being a MIKE linebacker, Hamilton had to know what every other position on the field was responsible for, but he loves that he gets to do something a little different this week working closely with the cornerbacks specifically.
"I was excited," Hamilton said of learning he'd be coaching the Senior Bowl DBs this week. "Brad (Holmes) and Dan (Campbell) both called me and told me they were going to reference me to work the game and Brad told me I was going work with the corners, and I was excited because it was just another opportunity for me to learn and help young men reach their goals."
Hamilton will get the chance this week to sharpen his coaching skills and expand beyond the linebacker room. He has aspirations to one day be a defensive coordinator and a head coach in the NFL.
"I've always known exactly what everyone is supposed to do, but at the same time I have those aspirations to be a defensive coordinator and head coach, so why not?" Hamilton said. "I believe I can handle anything. Hard work pays off. Whatever it takes, whatever position that I can coach, I'll work hard at and learn that position inside and out."
Hamilton has been studying film on his defensive backs for weeks leading up to the Senior Bowl practices and game. Having someone from the organization coaching that group will also give Holmes and the Lions some very good insight into their potential fit in Detroit.