ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Jim Schwartz joked Tuesday afternoon that he didn’t need to lobby Nate Burleson for any of his free coupons for DiGiorno pizza he received recently from the company.
Then he smiled and said, “I’m fat enough.”
Schwartz, who appears on the outside to be a fairly fit individual, wasn’t intending to comment on the lifestyle of coaches in the NFL at that particular moment -- he would do that later -- but his point still remains. When a coach is going through a season, from training camp until the team’s final day, it is non-stop movement and studying that ends up leaving a lot of coaches inert physically and spinning mentally.
For the Detroit head coach, he said he uses Tylenol and caffeine to get through some days.
“I think everybody goes through the same thing. I don’t work out, most coaches don’t, from the time training camp starts until the end of the season,” Schwartz said. “I think it shows. When you work a hundred hours a week a lot of times you’re just eating to keep energy levels up, drinking coffee and every bit of caffeine that you can do to try and get through the week and things like that.
“Just the nature of this job. We’re trying to focus on getting wins and getting the job done during the week. Honestly, from a coaching standpoint, you don’t have time to think about your own health and those kinds of things. It’s just the way it is. You’re conditioned to do it.”
Schwartz said he uses the offseason to work out and try to stay in shape.
The health of coaches, many of whom work insanely long hours and, depending whether it is in college or the NFL, have brutal travel schedules with recruiting, has always been an issue dating back even to the 1970 Rose Bowl, when Michigan coach Bo Schembechler suffered a heart attack the night before the game.
On Sunday, two NFL coaches had heart issues and were hospitalized -- Houston’s Gary Kubiak and Denver’s John Fox. Stories of NFL coaches sleeping in their offices, if they are getting more than a few hours of sleep at all, have always been rampant throughout the league.
“Part of this, coaches don’t work 100 hours a week because they are doing that because that’s healthy,” Schwartz said. “They are doing it because the job requires it. It just is what it is. There are no martyrs or anything else.
“That’s what you do in this profession. That’s what it is. We’re worried about getting the job done, worried about getting wins on Sunday. We can get ready for the beach some other time.”