Despite spending only one season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, former running back C.J. Spiller is more of a household name than probably should be the case. In what proved to be the final season of his NFL career, Spiller was signed five different times by Kansas City over the course of 11 months.
On Thursday, the once-electrifying playmaker signed a new deal, this time to continue his young coaching career at his alma mater, Clemson University. Among a flurry of changes to its coaching staff, the college football powerhouse has announced Spiller as its new running backs coach for 2021.
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Dabo Swinney: ‘Coach Spiller’ Is a Natural
Longtime head coach Dabo Swinney initially recruited Spiller to Clemson, where the speedster posted 4,967 yards and 43 touchdowns from scrimmage between 2006-09. Also a dynamic return man, Spiller posted an additional 2,621 yards and eight return touchdowns during his collegiate career.
The four-year starter later graduated to the pros, where the Buffalo Bills made him the ninth overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. There Spiller spent his first five years in the NFL, though his most productive season came in 2012 where he made his only Pro Bowl on the back of 1,703 total yards (1,244 rushing) and eight scores. After Buffalo, Spiller also spent time with the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and New York Jets before heading to Kansas City.
It’s that experience that Swinney believes will be an asset to Spiller in his new position.
“He’s going to be awesome,” Swinney told Packer and Durham on Sirius XM’s ACC Radio, via 247 Sports. “He’s a natural. It was fun watching him the past year grow and mature. But he’s going to be great man. He’s a very smart, caring, detail-oriented, knowledgeable ‘Coach Spiller.’ He has a ton of experience at the highest level as a player. Now he’s getting the chance to coach at the highest level in college football at a place he loves.”
Spiller Was an Unpaid Coaching Intern in 2020
For Spiller, the feeling of being back at his alma mater is mutual.
“It doesn’t happen very often that you’re able to coach at your alma mater, especially in your first gig, and for me to have that opportunity, I don’t take it lightly,” Spiller said via Clemson’s official release. “I’m just ecstatic about getting started.”
The 33-year-old actually began coaching at Clemson last season as an unpaid intern while pursuing a Master’s degree in athletic leadership. He now takes over for fellow assistant Tony Elliott, who was also elevated to the multifaceted role of assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/tight ends coach.
According to Swinney, at least part of Spiller’s responsibilities will entail being out on the road recruiting the next generation of Clemson backs.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!