Cris Collinsworth, a former Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals and now an analyst on NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is spending the lockout working as an assistant football coach at his son’s high school in northern Kentucky. At the invitation of head coach Dale Mueller, Collinsworth is coaching receivers for Highlands High School.
Collinsworth wrote on FootballPros.com,
I am going to get my football fix this fall even if the lockout cancels the NFL season. Highlands High School’s head coach Dale Mueller (winner of 4 straight state championships) called to ask if I would be interested in coaching wide receivers. I laughed. He said he was serious. The pay wasn’t much (zero), but he promised I would have fun. My son Jac is one of the receivers on the team, and I had already polluted his brain with most of my receiving advice. But what the heck, the NFL will probably miss at least half of their season anyway, I agreed. Today (May 31) is my first day. I just got the playbook and I feel like a first year rookie all over again. The plays are scrambled eggs in my brain, and I feel a little anxious. But, I love coaching. I coached many of these kids in the junior football league, and they always kept me entertained.
I have a theory on coaching. Today’s kids missed the fun part of sports. We all grew up playing sports in the yard or on the street. We created our own rules and settled our own disputes. We fought and cussed for the first times in our lives with our best friends. By the time we put on a uniform, we had already fallen in love with the game. Today, these kids are being coached by adults and put on select teams by the time they learn their ABC’s. They miss all the fun stuff. They almost look at sports as a job. Too bad. One of the reasons I took this job is that Dale Mueller brings the fun back to football. He makes everything a game. The kids giggle and laugh all day at his toilet paper stories and games of tag.
I had a Xavier Soccer coach tell me that at least once a week he rolls the ball out on the field and steps aside. He lets the kids play so that he can learn from them. He said they have a creative imagination that no adult could understand. I hope I can bring some of that imagination to Highlands HS. After four straight state football championships, there is only one way for the Highlands Bluebirds to go with me. Maybe the NFL will save me and actually play football, but if not, you will know where to find me on Friday nights. Go Birds!
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