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Boston Herald:"Can QB [Spurrier] fly as a head coach?"


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Can QB fly as coach? Skins' Spurrier a rarity in NFL

by Rich Thompson

Saturday, September 27, 2003

FOXBORO - Washington Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier is a novelty among his NFL peers.

Spurrier currently is the only head coach in the league who was also an NFL quarterback. Among the ex-coaches who were QBs were Tom Flores (Raiders, Seahawks), Norm Van Brocklin (Vikings, Falcons), Otto Graham (Redskins) and Bart Starr (Packers).

Tomorrow at FedEx Field in Washington, Spurrier will match strategies with New England coach Bill Belichick when the Redskins host the Patriots.

Yesterday, Belichick couldn't explain why so few NFL quarterbacks have become head coaches in the league. However, he conceded that quarterbacks generally possess most of the traits required of a head coach.

``NFL quarterbacks are guys who can lead teams and basically execute offenses,'' Belichick said. ``They certainly have a lot of leadership and lot of strong qualities going for them.

``Whether being a coach or a head coach is right for all those guys - I'm certainly not in that category, so I don't know what the mentality is. Playing quarterback and coaching seem like they should be the same, but maybe there's a distinction in there.''

Spurrier spent three years as head coach of the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL, but he carved his niche in the college ranks. He spent three years at Duke and 12 at Florida before coming to the Redskins in 2002.

In the Pats' locker room, backup quarterback Damon Huard was surprised so few of his predecessors had become head coaches. He agreed that a quarterback's overall knowledge of the game would make him qualified.

``You would think they would make natural head coaches and it's interesting that they haven't,'' Huard said. ``You figure a quarterback definitely has to know the game plan and has to know what's going on on both sides of the ball.

``You've also got to be a leader, and isn't that what a head coach is?''

Pats starter Tom Brady, the MVP of Super Bowl XXXVI and a devoted student of the game, thought he understood why few quarterbacks want to make the jump from scrimmage to sideline. In fact, he said he has no interest in doing it himself when he retires.

``I think most NFL quarterbacks are burnt out at that point,'' Brady said. ``Just think about it. I know the first thing I'm going to do is find is a nice warm beach. Head coach is a tough job to reach at that level, whether you are a former NFL quarterback or a former stockbroker. It's really a tough job.''

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