Sydney Speaks! What a nightmare

Everyone in the world that follows the Green Bay Packers understands that Mike Sherman got fired on Monday, which a lot of people call Black Monday. And the aftermath of that firing started the onslaught of who's going to be the next head coach, or what will Mike Sherman do? But what about the forgotten?

By the forgotten, I'm talking about guys like Edgar Bennett that really only finished his first year as running backs coach. Where's his security? Mike Sherman got a two-year extension. He can afford to stay here or uproot his family, or do nothing for as far as 6.4 million can take him.

As an assistant the nightmare has just begun for Edgar. His life is on hold, especially with his wife having roots in Green Bay. Here are the questions he might be asking himself. Does he wait to see who the new coach is and hope that he can get a job with him? Or does he go to the NFL Combine in February, where all the other coaches go to try to find other jobs. It's like a giant interview session. New coaches go to Indianapolis to interview college players as well as find coaches to fill out their staffs. This is the time when assistants find out how much they really love what they are doing because as an assistant football coach you have to decide what it is you love. Is it football, or family? I found out that you really can't be married to both because of the time commitment necessary to be good. But remember in this day and age good isn't good enough anymore. Just ask Mike Sherman. The National Football League also stands for "NO FAMILY LIFE" because how can you when as an assistant you are a work from 6 a.m. to usually 11 p.m. each day.

But back to the nightmare. Just look at the decisions someone in Edgar's position might have to make. I believe his wife has a successful business of her own here in Green Bay that she has worked hard to develop, and they have wonderful children. Now what happens to their lives? The ideal situation would be for him to be retained by the new head coach, but what if that doesn't happen? Let's say he gets a job with the Oakland Raiders what do they do as a family? Does his family go with him? If so, what about her family? Her business? Do they sell the house. Who sells it? What about the kids and their friends? Here's also the sad part just like Mike Sherman had to pack up his office in a day, so do the assistants. Also as part of the contract for the assistants is they have company cars, the best health plans for hardly nothing, and all the perks of the business, which goes away that quickly. Fired on Monday, turn your car in on Wednesday.

True, everyone that coaches accepts that risk, but knowing it and accepting it, then having to deal with realities that they have no control of … their lives or the lives of their children, which has to make one question: Is it worth it? They coach because they love the game. They work long hours, miss their children's football games, shows, choir events, parent-teacher conferences. They miss tucking them in bed at night and they are gone before they wake up. They work late hours even though they really don't have to, but the pressure of having to win makes them too scared to leave because they don't want to give the impression that they aren't working as hard as the next guy. That means they will stay until 10:00 or 11:00 even though their work is really done by 7:00 or 8:00.

After Mike Sherman was fired he got a standing ovation from the players, which was a nice gesture by them. However, has anyone mentioned the nightmare the assistants are going through? They did all the dirty work and had a major part in the success and failure of the Green Bay Packers, but it seems that their contributions have been lost in the last couple days. These guys are unsung heros and now they are being forgotten as everyone shows concern over what will happen with Mike Sherman, or does Ted Thompson know what he's doing as well as who will be the next coach? Meanwhile, the assistants, for all their time and effort, instead of a pat on the back for them the NIGHTMARE BEGINS.

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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