Pete Jenkins began his career in
the SEC as a defensive line coach at
Jenkins, 64, was relaxing at his
retirement dream home in
"Donna and I retired together," Jenkins said. "We go to the beach. We go to matinee movies. We work out together. It's great."
Little did Jenkins know, he would soon rather be in Philly.
Meanwhile last February, Reid called in veteran Eagles offensive line coach Juan Castillo and some other assistants to discuss whom he might hire to replace defensive line coach Tommy Brasher, who retired..
Reid threw a few names out at Castillo.
"Yeah, he's real good," Castillo said. "I know him. Pete Jenkins trained him real well."
Jenkins still kept his hand in football with his defensive line camps that he started in Thibodaux back in 1986 with former LSU assistant coaches and his former players, many of whom went on to the NFL.
Reid threw another name out at Castillo.
"Yeah, he's good," Castillo said. "Pete Jenkins trained him down at LSU. Good technique guy."
Jenkins had vowed never to leave retirement again. He had already changed a play at the line on Donna back in 2000 when he decided to leave his beach house and get back into coaching after a short layoff, returning to LSU under new head coach Nick Saban.
"I'm too old for this @#%*," Jenkins said like Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon" while walking to his car near midnight on Saban time a season later. "I thought I worked hard."
After two years and his third SEC championship at LSU in 2001, he called it a career and returned to the beach. There was a second retirement party that looked more like an NFL defensive linemen reunion, though Jenkins had never worked a day in the NFL.
Reid threw another name at Castillo.
"I know him. He's good," Castillo said. "He trained at Pete Jenkins' camp, knows his stuff."
Reid had had enough. He stopped, looked around the room to some faces as confused as his, then looked back at Castillo and said, "Who in the hell is Pete Jenkins?"
Jenkins, Reid learned, has been
putting defensive linemen in the NFL since he coached Dexter Manley at
Castillo never played for Jenkins, but he learned the defensive line craft under him at those camps when Castillo was a high school coach in Kingsville, Texas, from 1986-89.
"Where's he coaching," Reid asked.
"He's not," Castillo said. "He's retired. … A couple of times I think."
Reid had Castillo call this Jenkins guy.
The phone rang in
"We had dinner in an Italian restaurant," Jenkins said. "We ate for about three hours."
Apparently, Reid had a lot of catching up to do.
"He didn't know me from a sack of rabbits," Jenkins said. "But every single one of the other coaches I talked to said Andy was the best guy to work for in the world. Everyone really respects him for the way he handled Terrell Owens."
It would not be another tour of duty as under Saban.
"It's a longer season, so there's more free time," Jenkins said.
By March, Jenkins had the job, an
"Your voice sounds like you really
like it," Donna said early on from
"I like it so much better than I even thought I would," Jenkins said. "I was never interested in the NFL."
The hours are good, too. Jenkins
spent more time in
On Sunday, Jenkins was back
coaching in the Superdome, the site of what he thought was his last game as a
coach when the Tigers beat
The guy Reid did not know about apparently knows his stuff. The Eagles, who sacked Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe seven times last week in a 38-24 win, led the NFL in sacks going into the Saints game with 23, which is five more than second place Chicago with 18. They had 29 all of last season. They're on pace for 73 sacks, which would break the record of 72 held by the 1984 Chicago Bears.
Jenkins' line alone had 21 sacks on
the season after it had just 21.5 all last season. The defensive ends have 15.5,
which is one more than all of last season. Ex-Saint defensive end Darren Howard
had three sacks in five games this year. He had 3.5 all last season for
"I thought I was a pretty good line coach until I met him," Castillo said. "What a coach! That's where it all started for me as far as being a teacher. Coach Jenkins is an excellent teacher, and fundamentals are so important for him."
Jenkins said he feels like a young
coach again in his first job at Warner-Robbins High in
"We are enjoying our new life and experiencing so many firsts," Jenkins said. "First combine, first mini-camp, first Monday Night Football, and on and on. I have a good group of guys to work with, have an outstanding group of coaches to coach with, and a great boss. There's a lot of different things in pro ball, but between the lines it's the same. Ball is ball."
And Jenkins isn't even the oldest coach on staff anymore.
"We've got three of us on defense in our 60s," he said. "I'm not the grandpa anymore. I feel like I'm one of the boys."
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU and the
Southeastern Conference for Gannett News Service. Read him at www.LSUbeat.com or in the Shreveport Times, Monroe
News-Star, Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Lafayette Advertiser,