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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
    Phil McConkey
    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
    Josina Anderson
    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
    Jerry Jones
    NFL Draft Expert, has published the acclaimed Drugstore List since 1978.
    Russell S Baxter
    Researcher, writer and editor covering the NFL for over 30 years.
    Andy Freeland
    Statistician and researcher for NBC's Sunday Night Football.
  • Lockout Looming, I Took a Job For This Fall: Wide Receiver Coach at Highlands HS

    I am going to get my football fix this fall even if the lockout cancels the NFL season. Highlands High School's head coach Dale Mueller (winner of 4 straight state championships) called to ask if I would be interested in coaching wide receivers. I laughed. He said he was serious. The pay wasn't much (zero), but he promised I would have fun. My son Jac is one of the receivers on the team, and I had already polluted his brain with most of my receiving advice. But what the heck, the NFL will probably miss at least half of their season anyway, I agreed. Today is my first day. I just got the playbook and I feel like a first year rookie all over again. The plays are scrambled eggs in my brain, and I feel a little anxious. But, I love coaching. I coached many of these kids in the junior football league, and they always kept me entertained.

    I have a theory on coaching. Today's kids missed the fun part of sports. We all grew up playing sports in the yard or on the street. We created our own rules and settled our own disputes. We fought and cussed for the first times in our lives with our best friends. By the time we put on a uniform, we had already fallen in love with the game. Today, these kids are being coached by adults and put on select teams by the time they learn their ABC's. They miss all the fun stuff. They almost look at sports as a job. Too bad. One of the reasons I took this job is that Dale Mueller brings the fun back to football. He makes everything a game. The kids giggle and laugh all day at his toilet paper stories and games of tag.

    I had a Xavier Soccer coach tell me that at least once a week he rolls the ball out on the field and steps aside. He lets the kids play so that he can learn from them. He said they have a creative imagination that no adult could understand. I hope I can bring some of that imagination to Highlands HS. After four straight state football championships, there is only one way for the Highlands Bluebirds to go with me. Maybe the NFL will save me and actually play football, but if not, you will know where to find me on Friday nights. Go Birds!

    Comments 25 Comments
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      You are touching on a bigger subject I just may rant about at some time, but I am increasing my belief that no kid should play in an organized league of any sort before the age of at least 10 and I'd even argue up to 13. The other problem is that allowing a kid to leave the house and then play in a field is now considered by many to be child abuse. Also, fields that exist now have a set of rules to them. It used to be that you could show up to the closest HS, elementary, or junior high field and just play. You had to get there by 10:30am in the summer or the other group of kids in the neighborhood would beat you to it. One other rule should be just fastballs and change-ups for pitchers before age 16 (negotiable, in fact, I know I have used other ages, technically it should be more like 18 due to muscle development). The worst thing about the mess of the current situation is that we, the adults, are the ones guilty of making all the rules. 8 year old travel teams? Come on. Flag football until age 15, too.
    1. Chilly's Avatar
      I think if you talk to many kids who attended our high school football games back when we were in elementary school, they would tell you that they rarely watched the actual game. There was a field on the other side of the track from the bleachers (we had a one-side, large set of bleachers, with room for both home and away fans), and almost every game the parents could see little specks in the distance running back and forth on it.

      Except we weren't just running back and forth. We were playing games--usually resembling football--tagging and tackling, and eventually being sought out by our parents after the "real game" was over. Obviously, some would call this bad parenting (or a luxury that small-town parents are given), but I remember high school football games as an opportunity for us to play our own games, create our own memories, and begin to soak up the fascination of Friday Nights in our own way.

      Most of us eventually got to the point where we would watch the game rather than play our own, and then quite a few of us ended up in the "real game" by the time we were sophomores, juniors and seniors. But those pick-up games on the patch of grass behind the track shed were part of the process, too. It's all part of Friday Nights.
    1. NickMykita's Avatar
      Best of luck to you, Cris. I'm sure you can coach these kids well.
    1. MrEd's Avatar
      Wow, sounds like a great gig Chris, should be a lot of fun. I'm sure you'll do a fine job as well, it's been too many years since I played to where I could offer anything substantive as a coach but it would be a lot of fun for sure...
    1. AndyMoss's Avatar
      It sounds like you're bringing the right perspective for the kids. It should be about having fun. Kids today have too much of their time structured by adults. I hope you keep raising this as an important issue. Have fun coaching the kids. I'm sure they'll have fun too.

      Andy Moss
      www.ESMZone.com
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Tell us the truth Cris. Mrs Collinsworth said no way are you hanging around the house the entire fall, right?
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Darned tootin'. And you're right, too, Cris, polish, and Chilly. I played for one of those no fun allowed programs in high school. If I hadn't already discovered a passion for the game, it certainly wouldn't have developed there.

      Hope it's a good time. And at some point, take a couple of the receivers who never get the ball thrown to them (in my case I added questionable hands to a lack of foot speed and was much better suited to the tackling side of things,) and let them, on a running play, do their darnedest to behave like Eric Wood - don't screen the DB, don't try to make hi m think it's a pass, just bury him. It was often the best part of my Wednesday. It might also show up a good special teamer or two.
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      Tell us the truth Cris. Mrs Collinsworth said no way are you hanging around the house the entire fall, right?
      The truth always comes out eventually. She will miss me on game night. My poor Father-in Law will have to have her squeeze the blood out of his thigh when my son gets hit now.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      Until the day you are bring compensated in some way (either by scholarship or contract) to play football or any sport for that matter, it should be about the 2 F's......having Fun and making as many Friends as you possibly can.
      Many of my high school teammates are still some of my closest friends to this day. The kids you are coaching will have as good an experience as they possibly can have. I coached linemen at Moeller when my son played there that didn't get much playing time with the theory being to help them love the game and improve their techniques and abilities at the same time. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of when a few of them got to the point where they were getting on the field for game snaps. The players and their parents were so thankful and appreciative. It was a blast. Getting kids out on the field or court and away from e-mails, computer games and twitter accounts is a positive as well. Congratulations Cris and have the best time you ever had.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Have fun, and remember to let an O-lineman catch a pass once in awhile.
    1. broomhandle's Avatar
      Class act Chris.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Someone from the Cincinnati Enquirer reads FP.

      http://news.cincinnati.com/article/2...201/305310116/

      Former Bengals standout wide receiver Cris Collinsworth, who played on both Bengals Super Bowl teams, posted Tuesday morning on his website, footballpros.com, that he had accepted an offer from Mueller to join his staff as wide receivers coach.
    1. brauneyz's Avatar
      Saw this covered also by Florio and Yahoo Sports. FP(L) will soon be too big for its britches.
    1. GoCats's Avatar
      As an alum of a Northern KY high school that regularly got trounced by Highlands - i always lamented the superiority of the Bluebirds... And, now this? Tomorrow i'm expecting to hear that Tony Dungy moved to Park Hills to be offensive coordinator, Al Michaels agreed to be the stadium announcer and Peter King volunteered to write a weekly feature for the HHS school newspaper.

      Good luck Cris, this is a tremendous story!
    1. bluebirds's Avatar
      Nice to have you aboard. My son was elated that you will be on the field, he's only a frosh... but a receiver...
      And as Coach Mueller said, he plans on four(4) more state titles(in a row). Enjoy your time at this top notch program.
      GO BIRDS!!
    1. Cris Collinsworth's Avatar
      I had the best time coaching those kids today. Football was once again the game that I love. We never talked about money, lockouts, or lawsuits, we just played football. It was such a breath of fresh air for me. I am learning more about football coaching than I could ever learn studying tapes. Like Cris Carter likes to say, "it ain't the X's and O'x that matter, it's the Billy's and the Joe's. Our Billy's and Joe's work pretty hard at Highlands. Can't wait for tomorrow.
    1. StarvinMarvin's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by GoCats View Post
      As an alum of a Northern KY high school that regularly got trounced by Highlands - i always lamented the superiority of the Bluebirds... And, now this? Tomorrow i'm expecting to hear that Tony Dungy moved to Park Hills to be offensive coordinator, Al Michaels agreed to be the stadium announcer and Peter King volunteered to write a weekly feature for the HHS school newspaper.

      Good luck Cris, this is a tremendous story!
      I wish Dungy moved to Park Hills. That'd mean CovCath would be having some fun with Highlands again in the fall. No offense Cris
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      I've had plenty of highs playing sports myself and lots of success doing it, but I've enjoyed coaching and the pride derived from it far more!! It's not even close. Good luck coaching cris , but I hope you're in the booth to start the season! Love your game call and love the website!
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Polishguy00 View Post
      You are touching on a bigger subject I just may rant about at some time, but I am increasing my belief that no kid should play in an organized league of any sort before the age of at least 10 and I'd even argue up to 13. The other problem is that allowing a kwid to leave the house and then play in a field is now considered by many to be child abuse. Also, fields that exist now have a set of rules to them. It used to be that you could show up to the closest HS, elementary, or junior high field and just play. You had to get there by 10:30am in the summer or the other group of kids in the neighborhood would beat you to it. One other rule should be just fastballs and change-ups for pitchers before age 16 (negotiable, in fact, I know I have used other ages, technically it should be more like 18 due to muscle development). The worst thing about the mess of the current situation is that we, the adults, are the ones guilty of making all the rules. 8 year old travel teams? Come on. Flag football until age 15, too.
      Kids should play in organized leagues but not totally focus on just that. It teaches the discipline and structure. They should still play pick up games everyday w the neighborhood kids. The structure in lol warner allowed me to start for 4 yrs as a mlb at a football powerhouse in hs and win 2 state championships but my fondest childhood memories are of the pick up games I played with the neighborhood kids...
    1. Swami's Avatar
      I don't mind organized sports, but by far the most fun I ever had playing sports was the daily after-school pick-up football game we had going through four years of high school. Random numbers every day, but with all-time QB, you can make a decent go of it with just 5 guys!

      Sure beat the year my dad enrolled me in soccer to get me started "in something." All I remember from that experience was the coach yelling "Michael, you're offside" and me having no idea whether to run forwards or backwards!