INSIDE THE N.F.L.: Moving Day Approaches For Coaches, Players

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BY FLOYD WEDDERBURN/ With the Eagles’ season ending on a bad note, the fans are a little reluctant to start relishing their team for next year. On the other hand, with such poor performance in the last game, coaches and players are already thinking about their next move.

There are a handful of coaches who know for sure they’re not going to be around next year and the others aren’t so sure if they will be here or not. Players are also in the same boat. A handful of players are almost certain they’ll be around next year, while others have absolutely no idea. Even when you know you’re almost sort of a guarantee, there is a possibility that you can lose your spot to another veteran in an off-season acquisition. One of the hardest things to deal with when playing in the NFL is to worry about where you’re going to be the next week, next month and, most important, next year.

It’s never an easy transition for a coaching staff to just pack up and leave the team that they called home for 14 years. Coaches like Andy Reid are fortunate to be in the position they’re in. Being the longest-tenured coach in the NFL is a rarity. He’s been around this city for 14 years and when you hang around that long, you tend to get a little complacent, as in any job. Then, when you get that pink slip to pack your bags and head toward the exit, it can be a tough pill to swallow.

For this to happen a second, third, fourth, or maybe a fifth time in a coaching career, it allows a coach to experience what players go through throughout their careers.

When the head coach gets fired, his excess baggage that came in with him or he accumulated along the way, gets heavier. Reid’s departure makes for a lot of unemployed coaches, staffers, and others who also have to exit with the old regime. Some have had coaching jobs for years; some are just starting out.

You start with the top guns like Mornhinweg and Bowles. Mornhinweg has been here almost 10 years. This is long enough to have a family and children in the city’s best schools. Although Mornhinwig is only 50 years old, this may be home to him now, even though he is still young enough to go to another team. When you think about Todd Bowles, it makes you wonder if taking the defensive coordinator job was a smart move.

Then there is the multitude of staffers from the bottom to the top.  Let’s just say there may be a whole lot of packing going on.

Players understand the value of a good coach. You try not to think about their losing their jobs. Then again, it’s hard to think about that because your job might be on the line as well.

Coming up soon is the draft, when teams go after players they need for their teams. Now appears the worry about the possibility of the team’s picking a high draft pick at a player’s position; which puts the player on high alert the inevitable may occur.

After this point, a player has a limited amount of time to do what he needs to do before he has to pass the torch. While holding on to his current role as starter, his new role now involves teaching the draftee who will most likely take his position.

But for now, it time to sing our farewell song to Mr. Reid:“Na, na, na, na! Na, na, na, na! Hey, hey, hey, goodbye….” And see the rest of you next season.

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