Monday, January 20, 2014
Does Jerry Gray deserve our sympathy?
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Maybe behind the scenes, Mike Munchak and the Titans organization gave Jerry Gray the business for foolish things he did while he was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator the last three seasons.
Publicly, they were supportive and loyal to a guy who defaulted to an overly passive defense and who needed to be propped up in his third year by Gregg Williams.
Gray made at least two public comments that were thoughtless and resulted in fines he didn’t feel were his fault -- one about how his defense should deliver hits that required a cart to take the victims off the field and another on the sideline near the end of a game about officials qualifying as three blind mice.
The fines that resulted were, of course, the fault of those that reported it, not the guy who said it.
It was incongruous with Munchak’s pledge that every member of the Titans should “be a pro,” know his job, do his job and be accountable.
Gray should have been told by his bosses that insulting officials isn’t a great idea and to be smarter. Perhaps he was. But to protect him from himself the Titans also changed a policy, limiting who could be on the sideline for the final two minutes of the game. Call it the Jerry Gray rule.
Monday in Mobile, Ala., John Glennon of The Tennessean ran into Gray.
Mike Munchak is a loyal guy. Had he hired a better coordinator, or cut ties with the only one he hired, the former Titans head coach might still have his job.
If Munchak and the Titans don’t read that line from Gray and think, “WE wish we cut HIM out of OUR lives” a year or two before his contract ran out, they’ve got tremendous restraint.