Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review adds a great local flair to the story of Todd Haley’s unconventional rise to prominence in the NFL. Not only was Haley not a football star at Upper St. Clair High School, he never even suited up for the team. Instead he decided his weapon of choice would be a 9 iron.
Though Todd Haley spent his high school and college years playing golf, it wasn’t a surprise to Dick Haley when the football bug came calling again for his son. While Dick worked for the Steelers, Todd served as a ballboy and would come back from practices and games with analysis ready for his father:
“He’d come home and tell me about the game and how it happened and why it happened and who was good and who wasn’t good. I thought he understood the game extremely well, from very early. We talked about it all the time.”
When Todd did decide to make the move, he joined his father in the New York Jets’ organization and started as a scouting assistant that made copies and shuttled people to and from airports. It wasn’t until a couple of years later Todd Haley decided he wanted to try his hand at coaching and that meant selling then-Jets coach Bill Parcells on that notion. After what must have been one heck of a sales pitch, the rest is history.
Maybe it’s my total lack of athleticism, but I can’t get enough of Todd Haley’s story. It might also be the reason why I think it’s totally unnecessary for a coach to have been a player, let alone a successful one. If you can coach, you can coach and though it might make for a good “When I was playing…” speech I don’t think you should hold a guy back just because he didn’t win the genetic lottery.
New Chiefs Bobby Engram and Matt Cassel had a chance encounter this week, reports Kent Babb at the Kansas City Star. Engram was on his computer in a hotel lobby when he spotted Cassel and wanted to say a quick hello and the two ended up talking for 15 or 20 minutes. Engram compared the process the Chiefs are going through to a puzzle and if the pieces like he and Cassel fit then maybe they can help the fans forget the past two seasons.
I know it’s only April and there’s no reason to get excited over a 20 minute conversation between teammates in a hotel… but how can you not? Hope springs eternal for every team going into the draft (except maybe the Broncos) but something has me believing it’s little things like Cassel and Engram already being on the same page that gives me a little extra bump of confidence.
There is still a lot of fallout coming from the Jay Cutler to Chicago trade and Nathan Kent at Home of the Chiefs thinks the trade could end up burying the Chiefs. Even though Kent is a fan of Cutler’s, it’s the fact that the Broncos now hold the 12th, 18th, 48th, 79th and 84th picks that scares him.
When the trade first went down, I thought it helped both teams. Obviously the Broncos have a slew of picks this year, but what I think Kent overlooks is they also have two first rounders next year. So Denver can either sit and build over the next two drafts or move one of their picks from the 2010 draft to get another high pick this year. Not many teams have the kind of flexibility the Broncos have right now. With that being said, they still have to find a long term solution at quarterback and the early returns on their young coach are not good.