Schottenheimer: NFL return unlikely
Posted on Sat, Jan. 12, 2008
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BY DAVID J. NEAL
dneal@MiamiHerald.com
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If former Dolphins coach Cam Cameron found all his other routes to employment suddenly blocked off, you would figure he could always wait until former San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer got hired somewhere else and be his offensive coordinator again.

But that option might have the biggest ''Road Closed'' sign of all.

Not that 1-15 has soured Schottenheimer's opinion of Cameron, his offensive coordinator for four seasons in San Diego.

Nor is it that Schottenheimer couldn't get an NFL coaching job again if he wanted -- for all the criticisms of his playoff record, there are several franchises that would take consistent 10-to-14-victory seasons to get a chance to lose in the playoffs. But Schottenheimer doesn't seem to want that.

''In all likelihood, I'm not going to be back,'' Schottenheimer said by phone from North Carolina.

Before the ''why'' could be asked, Schottenheimer told how he just spent three hours with his granddaughter, and grandpa probably enjoyed it more than the child.

Off the NFL coaching treadmill for the first time since 2000 -- the year before his only season in Washington -- and at 64, Schottenheimer is finding his life with four grandchildren preferable to all-nighters trying to figure out new ways to squeeze an extra yard out of the off-tackle play.

As he continued to talk about his family life, he sounded like many a grandparent who has found the truth in that bumper sticker: ``If I knew grandchildren were so much fun, I'd have had them first.''

As a coach, Schottenheimer's teams have been known for being strong on ball control, good defensively but unable to close the deal in the playoffs, even as favorites. Part of the blame has gone to Schottenheimer turning to conservative play-calling at the end of games.

Still, Schottenheimer has a reputation for coaching winning teams, so his name gets thrown into the rumor mill for coaching openings.

''I'm never going to say never,'' Schottenheimer said. ``When I'm in a situation where I don't have to make a decision, I won't. But I have a full life right now.''

CAMERON `WILL RISE'

As far as Cameron, he said on the unlikely chance he did come back, he would readily welcome Cameron.

''The guy's an outstanding football coach and did terrific things with us in San Diego,'' Schottenheimer said. ``I don't have any doubt he'll rise above this.''

Cameron isn't the first to look much better as a coordinator than as a head coach. Part of that had to do with the situation.

At Indiana, Cameron was at a school lacking in talent and whose only consistent coaching winners in the past 40 years were Lee Corso in 1979 and 1980 and Bill Mallory from 1986-94. With the Dolphins, he inherited a team that had gone 4-12 and 6-10 in two of the previous three seasons.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, Cameron had LaDainian Tomlinson at running back, Antonio Gates at tight end and Drew Brees emerging at quarterback in 2004 and 2005.

Asked about difference between coordinators who can make the jump to head coach and those who fail, Schottenheimer paused, and then said as if considering each word more carefully than a third-and-4 call: ``I don't think anybody can predict with certainty how a coach who goes into an NFL head coaching job will do because so many factors effect that.

''Timing is important,'' he said. ``Any number of issues that you aren't able to control come into play, but you're ultimately held accountable for the won-loss record. All of us in the business know that going in.''