John Harbaugh credited with opening doors for special teams coaches

Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April points out that three special teams coaches were head-coaching candidates in offseason

September 13, 2012|By Edward Lee

PHILADELPHIA -- In the offseason, Dave Toub of the Chicago Bears, Joe Decamillis of the Dallas Cowboys and Brad Seely of the San Francisco 49ers were candidates for head-coaching vacancies in the NFL, and all of them are special teams coordinators.

That may not seem like much and none of those coaches got the promotions, but Philadelphia Eagles special teams coordinator Bobby April said Ravens coach John Harbaugh deserves credit for opening doors for special teams coaches.

“I think he’s made a big mark because over the last five years or before he was hired, no special teams coaches were ever even interviewed,” April said of Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator with the Eagles. “Now there were certain situations – like I got interviewed in Buffalo, but I was on the staff. No one from somewhere else. So it never happened.

"I remember [Ravens owner Steve] Bisciotti even in intial interviews saying this is really rare, but we want to do this and that. So it was an aberration to do it, but I think what he has done – just this past year I think there were three coaches interviewed for head-coaching jobs that were special teams coaches. That would have never happened without John’s ability to pioneer to the owners, to the general managers that these guys can do it, too.

"Even in Bill Walsh’s book, he says it’s the best position to move from to be a head coach. Bill Walsh says that, and he had nothing to do with special teams. Of course, he’s a smart guy, but he recognized the administrative, the overall detail to getting something from every player, getting players to do stuff that they really don’t want to do. It’s a constant day-in, day-out training on the job to be a head coach.”

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