Before finding his way to the Kansas City Chiefs as head coach, Todd Haley made his name in the NFL working with the Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. But he also had a much less heralded stint with the Chicago Bears, where — as he did at ever stop in his career — had an immediate impact on the team’s wide receivers.
While in the Windy City, Haley helped Marty Booker become the first Bears WR to make the Pro Bowl since 1971. Despite reports of rubbing some players the wrong way, Haley got along so well with his receivers in Chicago that he organized a gift exchange.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune passes along a funny story about how things didn’t exactly go as planned with one of the receivers’ “Secret Santa”.
All of the wide receivers and Haley drew a name to go shopping for before Christmas. One gift. Nothing too fancy. Jamin Elliott was a rookie sixth-round pick from Delaware and was on the practice squad at the time. Unbeknownst to anyone else, Elliott happened to draw his own name when they passed a hat around the room. A quiet kid who didn’t say much and certainly didn’t want to make waves in the meeting room, Elliott didn’t say anything. So, the day for the gift exchange came and everyone brought their wrapped present to the meeting room. When it was Elliott’s turn, he walked to the front, unwrapped a small box and said, “Look, it’s the watch I’ve always wanted.” When Haley and the rest of the receivers found out Elliott had served as his own Secret Santa, the room erupted.
Any time there is mention of how much the Chiefs players like Haley and play hard for him, it seems to be met with disbelief by fans in Kansas City. But other than a few bad (and loud) apples, all signs point to Haley being a hit with his players everywhere he has been.
There are a few really good Haley nuggets in Biggs’ column that you should check out here.