Scott Peters is well known in two entirely different circles; the first being as the Offensive Line coach in the NFL for the Cleveland Browns, and the second is as experienced BJJ competitor teaching at the Lion’s Den MMA academy in Scottsdale, Arizona. Peters started out as an offensive lineman in his own right, being drafted into the Philadelphia Eagles all the way back in 2002 and playing seven seasons at the highest levels of the sport before an ankle injury forced him into an early retirement. By 2004 he was already being relegated to the practice and off-season squads of the teams he played for, so the 300lb athletic 26 year-old was looking for ways to stay in shape.
It was through that search that Scott Peters found BJJ, a long time before he ever got involved with the Cleveland Browns as an NFL coach. He threw himself into the sport and eventually picked up the techniques necessary for success, even going so far as to compete and win against other grapplers of a similar size at events like Grapplers Quest:
While he was on the books for the Arizona Cardinals in 2008, Peters opened up the Lion’s Den MMA Academy with Ken Shamrock and even found himself as a key figure in the fight camps of UFC champions like Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar. He started to really believe in the efficacy of martial arts not just in it’s own right, but as a method of keeping NFL players safe from concussions and other injuries. This led to him founding Tip of the Spear Football, an organization dedicated to bringing martial arts to youth football teams.
“The most powerful players on the field in football are the guys who get their hips underneath the other guy. Like a suplex in wrestling, I can’t do it with my hips high, I have to get my hips low.”
– Scott Peters via Tip of the Spear Football
It was only in 2020 that his unique approach to the sport was fully appreciated and he was taken on by the Cleveland Browns as a coach, with head NFL coach Kevin Stefanski saying that it was this insight that led to him being taken on board. The team was at the bottom of the AFC rankings with a 6-10 record the year before Peters joined, but in 2020 they led with the highest ranked offensive line and that brought them to the playoffs with an 11-5 record.
It’s clear that the players themselves have a level of respect for the depth of BJJ knowledge Scott Peters possesses too as All-Pro Cleveland Browns guard Wyatt Teller said he is “an absolute madman who understands the psychology of leverage, grip and where you need your hands to do certain things. He’s talented at what he does, and it comes from his mixed martial arts background.”
He explained the difference they feel in training to the Cleveland Browns’ official site: “We’ll be in cleats, and he’ll be in tennis shoes… and he will just get under you and lift your pads in a way that you cannot move… We’re the ones slipping all over the place, because in his mind, he’s the one that’s rooted to the ground.”
Peters isn’t alone anymore as high-level NBA athletes like Rudy Gobert have also taken up training BJJ. Not just skills-based athletes are joining in either, even the strongest men on earth have been enjoying developing their combat sports skills, with Hafthor ‘The Mountain’ Bjornsson recently taking in training sessions with Icelandic UFC veteran Gunnar Nelson.