View Full Version : Jets/Edwards story on Newsday.com

01-06-2006, 01:43 PM

Johnette Howard
SPORTS COLUMNIST - Who does she remind you of?

Herm giving Jets some payback
Jan 6, 2006

Forget the temptation to make Herman Edwards' unavoidable-looking exit from the Jets into a morality play, or some schizophrenic personality break for Edwards. It's not.

The story of Edwards' possible defection to the Kansas City Chiefs isn't some parable about character at all. It's just another pungent reminder of how hardball business gets played out in the NFL. And the only moral of this story is so familiar, it almost isn't worth repeating:

While fans get all dewy-eyed and idealistic, and fans badly want to believe there's no gap in sports between the myth and their man, the law of the jungle in pro locker rooms and front offices is different.

Everyone in big-time sports wants to get paid. Everyone looks out for himself. And if you've got leverage on someone, you probably use it. After all, nobody on the outside remembers for very long, and nobody on the inside really holds it against you.

Not when windows of opportunity slam shut in milliseconds, and calamities beyond your control happen all the time, and merely crawling back to just the same level you once reached can take years of more grinding work.

Edwards' case is no different. And he's not the first coach to consider skipping out on a team rather than enduring a gut renovation. As much as there is to like about him, this is not some story of a workaday guy who labored diligently here and did all the right things, only to see his work go unrecognized by his dimwit bosses. Edwards has his issues, too.

That said, Jets management absolutely fell asleep at the switch this week by letting the Chiefs' predictable run at Edwards completely dictate their organizational agenda, and plunge them into this week-long limbo while eight other teams also are competing for new head coaches.

If the Jets wanted Edwards to stay, they should've told Kansas City to buzz off Monday. Case closed. And if they have lost faith in him, why did it take Kansas City's run at Edwards to crystallize that conviction?

(Any minute now, I'm sure Jets owner Woody Johnson will surface and blink or breathe on a mirror or something - anything to let us know he's not only alive but paying attention and still in charge. After that, perhaps Jets general manager Terry Bradway will materialize to explain why, given his tepid record, we should believe he'll be able to turn the uninspiring middle-round draft picks the Jets might get for Edwards into serviceable players, or identify a better new coach.)

Edwards seems to have outmaneuvered the Jets, all right. The real issues in play here are money and Edwards' regard. If anything has become crystal-clear in these last few days, it's that Edwards' bedrock, animating principle behind wanting to leave has proven exactly right: He and the Jets have wildly different estimations of his value.

He thinks he's very good. They think he's expendable.

Now, absolutely no one should be surprised that Edwards could prove every bit as gimlet-eyed as other Jets coaches before him, and bolt. Some vivid proof that Edwards has it in him was right there Monday during Edwards' postmortem news conference about the Jets' 4-12 season.

While most everyone seized on Edwards' insistence that he is happy as Jets coach and wants to come back, there was a largely ignored moment earlier in the session that hinted that Edwards has had some resentments marinating all this time.

It happened when Edwards volunteered to reporters - not for the first time - that he keeps track of who does or doesn't criticize him and the team.

"Like I always tell you," he began, "I always keep that little lefthand drawer of mine with notes in there. I've got the names and I remember. So for all those that didn't kick us [this season], I appreciate that. For all those that did, your day's coming.

"What goes around, comes around. Just remember that."

If Edwards truly operates that way, is it a big leap to surmise he holds Jets management to the same standard? That he resents being among the lower-paid coaches in the league despite earning three playoff berths in his first four years?

Edwards now has sought two contract extensions in his five-year stint with the Jets, and both requests have audaciously come after grim losing seasons. It's understandable that Johnson might balk. Since when did having two years left on your contract, as Edwards does, make you a lame duck?

The answer is, it doesn't.

Edwards had to know even as he made his "what goes around, comes around" statement Monday that his old friend and mentor, Chiefs general manager Carl Peterson, planned to call Bradway that same morning to see what prying Edwards away would cost.

Now the Jets' choices include giving Edwards another contract extension, letting him walk to Kansas City, or firing him and getting nothing.

Either way, Edwards wins.

01-06-2006, 02:51 PM
Writer misses the point.
Herm is very shrewd.
He knows he created a mess and after this season he's run out of excuses.
That's why he's bailing while he's still a viable candidate for teams like K.C. where he has relationships.
Even our New England "friends" on their boards, are bemoaning the loss of Herm as Jets coach.
They're telling Kraft to offer Chiefs 2 #1 DRAFT choices if only to keep Herm in NY.
you do nOT get good coaches in the NFL for a #4 DRAFT CHOICE.
good luck!