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jAZ
07-05-2006, 08:16 AM
http://www.topix.net/content/kri/2421903602368599066142890026520717337612

Opening Day at Herman Edwards Camp

Monterey County Herald
By JOHN DEVINE
July 04, 2006 It's like a college atmosphere. For me, this is where it really started. The bags under his eyes are gone. His voice is vibrant. He is more animated than last year at this time.

The whirlwind cycle in which Herman Edwards went from being the head coach of the New York Jets to being the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, turning his life upside down for a brief period in January, left a few wounds.

Fortunately for Edwards, who is in town this week for the 11th annual Herman Edwards Football Camp at CSU-Monterey Bay, he's a fast healer.

While Edwards never lost his passion for the game, he is feeling surprisingly rejuvenated after his experiences of the past year.

'What I went through last year matured me as a coach,' Edwards said. 'There was a lot of speculation surrounding my future. A lot things were said by people that didn't know a thing about me.'

Critics wondered if he switched teams in a money grab. They questioned his values and principles.

Was Edwards abandoning the Jets for greener pastures?

'My intentions all along were to remain in New York,' Edwards said. 'I thought I had done my best job as a coach. I (had just) talked to the players about off-season programs.'

That was on a Monday. By Tuesday, the firestorm started.

When word leaked out that he had an interest in the Chiefs' job, his days with the Jets were over.

'There was so much speculation,' Edwards said. 'It was so stressful on my wife and family. Everything was happening so fast.'

What people didn't know is that when it became apparent the Jets were willing to let Edwards out of the remaining two years of his deal, five more teams called about his services.

Hordes of media members took up residence outside his Long Island home, waiting for any movement from Edwards.

'I invested five years of my life there,' Edwards said. 'Players are like family to me. I'm not just a coach. That was the hard part.'

So too was the uncertainty over his future.

Would he end up with the Chiefs or land a job at one of the other eight openings? Would he even have a job?

Even after the Chiefs were given permission to talk to Edwards, no contract could be signed without compensation.

When the Jets demanded draft picks and cash, it was suddenly possible that the Chiefs might turn in another direction.

'I knew something was going to happen,' Edwards said. 'I just didn't know what or when. I kept thinking, 'Hopefully, I'll be coaching somewhere.''

When things began to drag, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped in.

'He wanted it taken care of,' Edwards said.

Within hours, Edwards was allowed out of the remaining two years of his contract with the Jets to sign a four-year deal with the Chiefs in exchange for a draft choice.

'It's the first time a team had to give up a draft choice to hire a minority coach,' Edwards said. 'In the end, it all worked out well.'

Unfortunately, Jets fans haven't been very forgiving. When Edwards' face popped up in an interview during the NFL draft in New York, Jets fans booed loudly inside Radio City Music Hall.

'I guess they still love me in New York,' Edwards said.

Edwards returned to New York once for a promotion at Times Square, where the reaction was more favorable. During his five years with the Jets, he led them to three postseason appearances and a division title.

The two times the Jets missed the playoffs, Edwards lost his starting quarterback for most of the season. Last year he used five different quarterbacks during a 4-12 campaign.

'We were in a lot of games,' Edwards said. 'The players never quit. I am proud of that. I called a lot of them when this was going down. They said, 'You gotta go.' In the end, this was the right thing for the Jets, not just me. There's no animosity anymore.'

Now Edwards will be asked to work his magic again. The Chiefs have been to the postseason just twice in the last 10 years. The last time Kansas City won a playoff game was in 1994 when Joe Montana was the quarterback and Edwards was an assistant coach.

'There's a great fan base in Kansas City,' Edwards said. 'It's like a college atmosphere. For me, this is where it really started.'

The former all-pro Philadelphia Eagles cornerback met his wife while coaching in Kansas City, and now he is replacing his mentor, Dick Vermeil.

'This move had more to do with integrity and principle, not money,' Edwards said. 'I was paid well in New York. It was a situation that just arose. I'm replacing a coach that coached me. I've known (Chiefs' President) Carl Peterson since I was 18 years old. This was where I started my NFL coaching career.'

Edwards still speaks to Vermeil weekly. He's even living in Vermeil's Kansas City home while a new home is being built for his family.

And while the five other openings were appealing, Edwards knew if he was going to leave New York, it had to be for the 'perfect job.'

In Kansas City, he's inheriting a team that won nine games last season and has two of the more talented tailbacks in the NFL in Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, along with tight end Tony Gonzales.

'Last year they had a playoff-caliber offense,' said Edwards, whose Chiefs will visit the Oakland Raiders in a Dec. 23 Saturday night special. 'But they didn't have a playoff defense.'

Edwards, a defensive-minded coach, believes he strengthened the Chiefs' defense through the draft. Yet, the biggest thing he's accomplished in his first five months on the job is gaining the players' trust.

'When I addressed the team, I remember seeing a lot of heads nodding,' Edwards said. 'You know players call other players. You can't fake it at this level. They're buying into it. Now I have to go out and prove it.'

Copyright 2006 Monterey County Herald, All Rights Reserved.

HemiEd
07-05-2006, 08:23 AM
http://www.topix.net/content/kri/2421903602368599066142890026520717337612
In Kansas City, he's inheriting a team that won nine games last season and has two of the more talented tailbacks in the NFL in Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes, along with tight end Tony Gonzales.



that is pathetic journalism.

DaKCMan AP
07-05-2006, 08:34 AM
that is pathetic journalism.
Well, we did win nine games. :D Though, it'd be nice if they mentioned the tenth.

jAZ
07-05-2006, 08:44 AM
Well, we did win nine games. :D Though, it'd be nice if they mentioned the tenth.
Be thankful that they were able to work in #9 at all.

Wile_E_Coyote
07-05-2006, 09:03 AM
that first win still counts