People often ask what my personal goals are for the next couple of years. What else would I like to accomplish? What would I like to do? From a career standpoint in football, I am very satisfied. I have no regrets in terms of what I would like to accomplish athletically. There’s nothing I look at and think to myself that I would like to return to coaching. That is never going to happen. However, there are things I really enjoy doing and are my goals for the next 10 years.
Sometimes taking risks in life doesn’t necessarily pay off. When it was time for me to leave the Steelers in 1988, Lauren and I really agonized over our options. I was offered jobs by two coaches who ended up in the Hall of Fame, both in the same off-season: Bill Parcels of the Giants and Bill Walsh of the 49ers. I also had good interviews with Sam Wyche in Cincinnati and Marty Schottenheimer in Kansas City. All four men were great coaches and good people. I had played for Bill Walsh and Sam Wyche when I was in San Francisco, and I knew I could be comfortable with either. Of course, Bill Parcels had recently won his first Super Bowl, and my interview with him was a defensive coach’s dream: sitting in an office, talking football theory with Bill and his staff-Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel.
For about thirty years I was a competitive athlete, from elementary school, middle and high school, all the way through college and in the NFL. Then I was an NFL coach. I’ve always had a highly competitive nature, setting goals, and going after them, year after year. Then I retired and no longer had the athletic field, but I’m still just as competitive as I ever was.
So often there is such an emphasis on results that it doesn’t matter how you get them. Moving up is more important than the way you move up. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, just what kind of player you are. It doesn’t matter if you follow the rules or break them, just as long as you come out on top. After all, that’s what everyone will remember at the end of the day.
When I arrived in Tampa as head coach, I began meeting with the players who lived there, trying to understand from them what needed to be fixed. Although all the issues were relatively minor, they contributed to the team’s second class, defeatist, excuse-laden mentality. I began to sell the philosophy that we are responsible for what happens to us, not anyone or anything else. No excuses, no explanations.
My father used to tell me that having integrity is not a “sometimes” thing, you either have it or you don’t. Your integrity gets tested many times in life. This is one of the toughest times it was difficult to maintain my personal integrity.
Life has many up and downs. No matter how talented or driven a person may be we all face difficulties in our careers. Getting through tough times in my career was hard, but it is in those moments of trial where we find opportunity for growth. The world of the NFL can be like being […]
Sometimes we expect our kids to behave perfectly. We have trouble remembering what we were like when we were their age. Before we were taught or faced consequences that refined our behavior, we most likely made the same mistakes they are making. When I was a boy, I was different than I am now. While […]
Matt Emmons is a world-champion marksman. In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, he had a significant lead when he entered the final round of the 50-meter, three position rifle competition. He hit the bull’s-eye on his three shots, then looked on, puzzled, as the automatic scoring system did not credit his shots. He […]
Leroy Rocquemore was an African American administrator at our predominately white junior high school. Although he took a personal interest in all the kids, he seemed to pay special attention to the African American boys. He wanted to make sure that we grew as people, not just as athletes. He often took us to basketball […]