Sydney Speaks! From penthouse to outhouse

Former Packers fullback and assistant coach Harry Sydney gives his take on Mike Sherman's fall from grace within the National Football League.

This week Mike Sherman finally put his name on the dotted line to become the assistant head coach of the Houston Texans, joining his old friend Gary Kubiak, who takes over for one of the most losing organizations in modern football. What will Sherman's role be? Not everyone knows. Some say he will help with the offensive line because that was what he did as an assistant before he made the big time. I just wonder how will he deal with being the guy taking the orders after giving them. It's got to be humbling and here's why:

When you look at Sherman's resume it is pretty impressive. Three consecutive NFC North Division titles and five winning seasons with a winning percentage of .663. That's the stuff legends are made of. Sherman is second all-time in Green Bay Packers history only to Vince Lombardi. That's some serious company. He did things that his mentor Mike Holmgren couldn't do and that's be General Manager of the Green and Gold, the position that Holmgren wanted so badly. Ron Wolf gave it to Mike Sherman instead of Mike Holmgren. Talk about absolute power. Sherman was sitting in the big office two short years ago, deciding futures, controlling dreams, and having all the power any individual could ever dream of in the NFL. Then the GM role was snatched from his hands by team president Bob Harlan who said one reason was because he was worried about Sherman's health. Who am I to argue with his reasoning? The other was because he thought it was too much for one man to have dual roles.

Also it probably didn't help that some of the moves Sherman made as GM handcuffed the organization, which made those in power question his leadership ability. Without getting into all of them, I'll just mention Joe Johnson, B.J. Sander, Ahmad Carroll and Cletidus Hunt and Robert Ferguson, or giving up two draft picks for R-Kal Truluck, the pass rusher from Kansas City. These moves made some wonder what's going on.

Then Ted Thompson came on the scene and Sherman went from being number one to being number two when it came to the football side of the ball. He had to answer to someone else and the elevator ride down started to happen. But on the way down he was given an extension for two years at $3.2 million a year to help cushion the landing. Then on "Black Monday" the slide continued as he got fired. Sherman reacted as if he never saw it coming which surprised many football people because of the fact that many mistakes had been made during the course of his tenure as the field general of the Packers.

Then the unthinkable happened, along with him getting fired on Black Monday, seven other head coaching jobs came open in the NFL. But you really didn't hear his named being mentioned as a leading candidate for some of the open jobs, and that puzzled me. As I looked at the guys that have been hired over Mike Sherman I wondered what did they have on their resume that Sherman didn't have? When Dick Jauron got hired in Buffalo, instead of Sherman, it dawned on me that the football world must not think as highly of his accomplishments as the Packer Nation. Whether it's perception or reality the facts are the because of the contract extension that the Packers gave Sherman, another organization could have signed him as a head coach and got him for nothing and let the Packers pick up the tab. They could have given him a three-year deal like the Packers gave Mike McCarthy and fired him after two years, or three, if they didn't like the direction of the team. Or they could give him an extension, but either way they had nothing to lose. AND NO ONE WANTED HIM!!!!!

What a ride. So now he's working with the Houston Texans as an assistant head coach responsible for helping the offense. Talk about going full circle. Maybe this is exactly what Mike Sherman needs to do to get his edge back. He has to go back to where it all started. Sometimes when the rise is too fast, you forget what it's all about and forget who you really are or what you want to be. Also maybe Sherman was meant to be an assistant and just coach football, but was given opportunities he couldn't turn down. All these things are possible and maybe probable. I don't know that but I do know this: FROM THE PENTHOUSE TO THE OUTHOUSE is a long drop!!!!!!!!!!

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 it will be forwarded to him.

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