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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Assistants to suffer most from lockout

By Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- Coaches are a forgotten class in the context of lockout repercussions.

They aren’t management and they aren’t players. They have a big stake, however, in both sides.

Two of the 12 staffs that might have the most precarious situations are from the AFC South. Larry Kennan, executive director of the NFL Coaches Association, included Houston and Jacksonville on a list of teams that could be most harsh enacting contractual previsions that cut salaries after 30 days of a lockout, raise the percentage of those losses the longer an impasse lasts, and give teams the right to fire guys who usually have guaranteed contracts.

Jim Irsay, meanwhile, has said the Colts staff will find "business as usual."

Here’s a story fleshing some more of this from Ron Borges.

The possible scenarios have got to make for a very uncomfortable situation for guys working under Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak, but just because their teams are on Kennan’s danger list doesn’t mean other staffs can’t get hit.

One head coach told my AFC West colleague Bill Williamson: “The coaches are the ones who will be spilling blood during this thing."

While coordinators and position coaches would figure to be safe at least through the draft, they could still be losing salary. Low-level assistants who don’t have much input in evaluating players could be in real danger of losing a significant piece of salary -- or even their jobs.

How about a strength coach who’s got no players to train? Will a short-sighted owner worried about losing money see the benefit in having the guy around through a lockout, or see money saved by parting with him and worrying about player conditioning later, when there are players to be conditioned?

I’m completely sympathetic to these assistants. They are crucial to a team’s success, but might be marginalized during what’s to come. They could suffer worse fates than anyone else attached to this fight.