|06-08-2007, 02:17 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
coaching and stress
Cowher's retiring agenda is one other coaches envy
SoCals link: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/footb...-coaches_N.htm
By Jim Corbett, USA TODAY
How does this sound for a radical sabbatical?
Bill Cowher — the jut-jawed, spittle-spraying, former fiery face of the Pittsburgh Steelers — is learning to race stock cars and play the piano.
The NASCAR test drive is no surprise considering Cowher's ultra-competitive nature. He will race in a NASCAR-themed, ABC-TV reality series, Fast Cars & Superstars, which premieres June 7. Other celebrity racers include John Elway, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Reece, Jewel and William Shatner.
But Billy Joel Cowher, piano man?
Now there's an image for his former players, who'd probably recommend Cowher's piano teacher wear goggles to shield against any trademark spray should the former coach get upset about missing a few notes while tickling the ivory.
But actually Cowher's former charges in Pittsburgh would be surprised to learn how much mellower he is after five re-energizing months with wife Kaye and daughters Meagan, Lauren and Lindsay at their Raleigh, N.C., dream home. He'll take periodic breaks from his interlude this fall as an analyst for CBS.
So what's on the playlist, Bill?
"I can play Jingle Bells right now," Cowher laughs. "I go once a week. Playing the piano is something I've always wanted to do."
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Cowher, who turned 50 on May 8, is having the timeout of his life.
He plays racquetball three times a week, has dropped 5 pounds and lowered his cholesterol since the longest-tenured NFL head coach stepped away after 15 seasons and 161 wins, including Super Bowl XL.
"I'm really enjoying myself, being a father, being a husband," Cowher says. "I'm really enjoying my life right now.
"I really don't have any second thoughts. These last five months have gone by very quickly. I'm very much getting acclimated and looking forward to working with CBS. Maybe I'll feel differently in the fall. Right now I have no intention of going back into coaching."
The bigger picture has never been clearer for Cowher.
"It's amazing the stress you learn to live with because of your job," he says. "When you don't have it anymore, you realize how much better off you are.
"I've read four books in five months. It used to take me four years to read four books."
Cowher has always tried to juggle family with football and empathizes with the ordeal of another respected family man, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Reid's sons, Garrett, 24, and Britt, 22, face traffic and drug charges, with Britt also facing a more serious weapons charge, stemming from separate suburban-Philadelphia driving incidents Jan. 30 when Reid and his wife, Tammy, were away on vacation.
The Eagles coach took a five-week leave of absence to help his sons get counseling and deal with their issues.
The coaching community was there for Reid the way it embraced Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy after his 18-year-old son, James, committed suicide in 2005.
Upon Reid's return to work at the owners meetings in Phoenix last March, coaches openly re-evaluated how better to balance family and the brutal hours and sacrifices of a consuming profession.
After a full day of meetings, Brad Childress — Reid's former offensive coordinator and the current Minnesota Vikings coach — made a point to hike 2½ hours up Camelback Mountain before sundown with sons Andrew and Christopher.
"I'm not much of a mountain climber, but that was a fun day, and I'm glad I did it," Childress says. "We all strive for that balance.
"There's always times where you take a deep breath and reassess the way you're doing things. That was one of those times."
St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan also made an effort to spend more time with his sons.
"Just because there's a lot of tension to this profession and because of the visibility of what we do, it's no different than any other profession," Linehan says. "We can't take anything for granted. Whether it's a football coach who's had a tough situation or a fireman … things happen that remind you of the need to step back more than once in a while and make time for what's really important in life."
Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs told an illuminating anecdote about coaching's tunnel vision.
During his initial tenure with the Redskins in the 1980s, Gibbs decided it was time to take his son, Coy, then 8, with him to Washington's summer training camp. Coy would have plenty of company in Carlisle, Pa., with then-general manager Bobby Beathard's sons.
Only one problem.
"I took him down there, and it was three days, and I never even thought about him," Gibbs says. "I totally forgot about him."
Gibbs was quickly jolted back to fatherhood.
"I never told Pat about this," Gibbs says, referring to his wife. "I was walking to lunch, and, all of a sudden, I see this kid get thrown off about eight steps and he bounced down on the grass. He stood up, and it was Coy. And the Beathard boys had thrown him off the upstairs. He had chocolate all the way around (Coy's face). His eyes were back to here.
"He had not slept — I'll bet you — five hours in three days. I looked and went, 'Oh my gosh.' "
Gibbs gave Coy a shower, then put him to bed.
Certainly a funny story. But also a sobering bottom line.
Gibbs is again sleeping in his office chasing another championship; Pat stays in Charlotte most of the regular season.
"I haven't been able to do it any different way," Gibbs says. "Everybody here is hard-working. Some of them come in at 4 o'clock (in the morning). Everybody here has crowded everything into every minute. We're probably our own worst enemy there."
Reid says the thought of stepping away briefly crossed his mind. But the lure of winning a Super Bowl for supportive Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, his staff, players and passionate fans drew him back.
"When it becomes more of a burden than a challenge, I guess I'd hang it up," Reid said at the winter meetings. "But I really haven't gone there. I can't say I've considered going into broadcasting. Or sitting on the beach."
After doing right by his sons, Reid remained true to his calling.
"This could happen to anyone," Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan says. "We can all relate to what's happened to Andy, to what happens to families in general."
Father's Day, which falls on June 17, is the latest occasion for coaches to reflect on the struggle to balance family and a grinding job.
"The hours that we work, it's easy to get disconnected from family," Cowher says. "I used to always try and see my daughters in the morning before they left for school and at nights before I went to bed. There were some nights I couldn't. But I tried to stay connected, see how things were going in school. It was important and therapeutic to keep that balance in my life away from football."
Maybe Cowher is just taking a hiatus and will return to the sideline down the road. And maybe not.
All that matters right now is that he's doing what feels right — enjoying his first true offseason with his family after 22 years in coaching.
"I wouldn't have done it any differently," Cowher says. "I was fortunate to have a very supportive, sacrificing wife. I went to a lot of my daughters' basketball tournaments. I have a great relationship with all three of my girls. The NFL was very good to me.
"My advice to other coaches is make sure during the offseason you reconnect with your family."
|06-08-2007, 02:27 AM||#3|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Jarious Jackson even sucks in the Canadian League.
Seldom-used Jarious Jackson isn't one to complain
SoCAls link: http://www.canada.com/theprovince/ne...fbd8260bfd&p=2
Kent Gilchrist, The Province
Published: Thursday, June 07, 2007
ABBOTSFORD - Remarkably, you can't find anyone who has ever heard Jarious Jackson complain. About anything. At any time.
Not his bad luck choosing professional football teams who didn't really need a quarterback when they signed him on to play the position, nor his lack of playing time once he'd made the teams in question.
Nobody has ever seen him chafe even a little that he hasn't moved an inch closer to becoming even the No. 2 quarterback with the B.C. Lions despite the fact he arrived with a fair bit of fanfare the same year as Buck Pierce arrived with none.
Since the pair got to training camp in 2005, Pierce has moved from the bottom of the quarterback depth chart to become heir apparent to veteran starter Dave Dickenson.
Included is a nice new contract after the Grey Cup last November for $200,000 to $250,000 per season over the next three years. He got a $100,000 signing bonus, too. And Dickenson added three more years just before training camp at something like double what Pierce is getting a season.
Jackson, meanwhile, is working off his original deal at somewhere around $75,000 in the option year. And he's happy to be here.
"I can say I've definitely been blessed with the teams I've played for -- Notre Dame (college), Denver (the NFL's Broncos) and here with the Lions," said Jackson, who was adding to the repertoire of jobs on his resume on Wednesday at the training camp when he was holding for field goals.
"Blessed with my teammates who tried to attain the highest goals ... not that we always attained them, but they always worked hard together in their pursuit."
The last time Jackson, who looks more like a quarterback than either of the guys he's playing behind, had any real notoriety was when he was in college.
In his senior year with the Fighting Irish, 1999, Jackson broke Joe Theismann's single-season records for passing yards (2,753) and completions (184 on 316 attempts). He also threw for 17 touchdowns that season.
Since then it's been a lot more sideline cheering than touchdown tossing. He carries a clipboard and wears a ball cap better than just about anyone in pro football. During the week he gets to run all the upcoming opponent's offence against the Lions defence. During games he goes in for quarterback sneaks on third and inches.
The positives to the job are that the media never asks him anything. He doesn't have to do radio shows or TV interviews, or sit for a newspaper feature story.
After three full days of training camp at Rotary Stadium's fields, the Lions would appear to have an overabundance of quarterbacks. All five are still here. Jackson is heading into the option year of his deal and is 30 now. It wouldn't be much of a stretch for the Lions to keep either of the rookies, Kendrick Dozier or Shawn Bell, and use Jackson as trade bait.
There's certainly little likelihood of Jackson unseating either of the two in front of him. The only way he got to play last year was in Hamilton, when Dickenson was suffering the effects of a concussion and Pierce got banged up early.
Jackson came in and completed 12 of 21 passes for 180 yards, two of which went for touchdowns as he paced the Lions to a 28-8 victory over the Ticats.
If his stats are nothing to write home about, they're superior to many No. 2s around the CFL. Head coach and general manager Wally Buono has received first-round Canadian college picks from
Calgary for Jason Gesser and from Winnipeg for Spergon Wynn, quarterbacks with less upside
But he's not complaining.