When Football Doesn't Matter

Players were off Tuesday; thus many watched the terrorist attacks as the nation did. The destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC), as well as a portion of the Pentagon has death total estimates in the thousands. In times like these the importance of a team winning or losing or even playing is dwarfed in comparison to a national tragedy.

With no chance of the country returning to normal in the near future many are left wondering what now. For players, coaches and league officials of the NFL the matter at hand is for safety and respect. The concern for all in attendance at league games and when should those games continue. The NFL is expected to decide that sometime Thursday. Bears players Ted Washington and Autry Denson missed practice Wednesday because of planes being grounded. Both are expected back at practice Thursday, as Jauron said would both drive back. Washington was with his family in South Carolina and Denson, who had just come been picked up on waivers from Miami, had returned to Florida to pick up some personal items.

Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin son worked in the WTC. "Son Tim works for Morgan-Stanley. His offices are on the 60th floor of the second tower that was hit. I got a call from my daughter, Keli, that morning and she said ‘Dad do you know what's going on' and I didn't because it was gameplan day. She told me about the first terrorist attack and it wasn't the Tower Tim was in. They were trying to contact him and couldn't get a hold of him. I got a call from my son, Bryan, who somehow and someway got a call into Tim on his cell phone when he was on the 29th floor on the way down. It was about the exact time the second plane had hit, and he didn't know the second plane had hit. We were fortunate to get a hold of him on the ground before he left the building, and we talked to him again at a safe location as well."

"It drained the emotions of us all. But the American fighting spirit prevails and those that died innocently will not die in vain." "Whatever the right thing to do is, I'm sure the commissioner and the owners will decide and we will do that. I think my initial reading of President Bush was that he would like for all Americans to resume and to go forth. If that is the case, fine, then we're prepared to play. I don't want to be disrespectful, especially at a time like this."

Until the league makes a decision the Bears are trying to get ready for the Jaguars.

"It wasn't an easy day; it wasn't easy for the players or the staff or probably anybody in the country to keep their minds on what they needed to do in terms of going back to work," Jauron said. "But we started, got some good work done, we'll improve tomorrow and go on."

Jauron and the coaching staff were at Halas Hall on Tuesday attempting to game plan for Jacksonville, but were caught themselves in front of the TV following the situation. Later in the evening Jauron contacted his former mentor (Coughlin) about his son's wellbeing.

"I just knew that he worked in New York City. I did not know he worked in the Trade Center. I was talking to my wife and talking about Tim and I just said I'd call."

If the games are cancelled Thursday Chicago would quickly turn their attention to the Vikings.

"We would continue practicing. We would stop in our tracks on Jacksonville. We would turn to the Vikings and start preparing for the Vikings and practice through the week, into the weekend and get back into a regular rhythm next week."

Players have different perspectives on whether the league should cancel this weekend's schedule or go on. Jaguars wide receiver was adamantly against the playing.

"I heard about what happened when JFK got shot, and how the NFL continued to play. Just going by that, I think I would cancel this week's games, and just resume the following week just out of respect for the people who were hit by this."

James "Big Cat" Williams, who didn't know anyone involved in any of the attacks, said he believes games could serve as a much needed distraction for the public.

"Let's play this weekend," Williams said. "You know give the people something else to look at. I know all I did was sit around and watch all the horror and terror that went on yesterday, so give people something else to focus on and get their mind off of it."

Bear Report Top Stories