Marty Gets Ready For Camp

While the NFL crawls toward a labor agreement that will open its doors once again, the United Football League has gone to training camps.

They kicked off this past weekend, including in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area where the league’s newest franchise, the Virginia Destroyers began their life with physicals and meetings on Sunday.

Leading them is Marty Schottenheimer, lured back to the business of coaching at the age of 67 after spending the last four years out of the business after he was stupidly fired by the San Diego Chargers.

The Destroyers have given him his fifth head coaching job and certainly the most unusual, as the franchise is beginning from scratch in the Hampton Roads community.

But as he talked this weekend, there’s no question that the coaching bug has again gotten into his blood – as if it ever really left.

“When you first put the pads on, it takes a couple of days to get adapted to it, but the adrenaline is going in these guys,” Schottenheimer said of his training camp squad of 70 players. “So we’ve got to make sure we don’t get them all banged and beat up.”

That’s why the Destroyers will have walkthrough-no contact practices as they first hit the field on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The head coach wants to make sure they know where to go and what to do, and he does not want to beat up his squad.

And he was even willing to admit that it’s another example of the old coaching dog learning some new tricks.

“If somebody would’ve said to me 20 years ago that I would have this philosophy, I would’ve said, ‘You don’t have any idea what you’re talking about’,” Schottenheimer said. “I was a guy who practiced his teams in pads every day in camp, sometimes twice a day.”

The Destroyers have been pulled together from all sorts of avenues, and the roster includes more than a dozen players who were with the now-defunct Florida Tuskers last year. The Tuskers lost the UFL Championship Game to Las Vegas.

One of those players is the starting QB Chris Greisen, a product of Northwest Missouri’s program who led the Bearcats to their first Division II national championship back in 1998. Greisen was drafted the next year in the seventh round by Arizona.

Since then, he’s spent time with – in order – Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Rhein Fire, Green Bay Blizzard, Dallas Desperados, Georgia Force, Florida Tuskers, Milwaukee Iron, back to the Tuskers and one game on the active roster for the season finale last year with the Dallas Cowboys.

“To have a championship team, you need a championship quarterback,” Schottenheimer said. “The young man we have here, Chris Greisen, is an outstanding player. I like the way he’s put together, and I don’t mean physically as much as I do his mental makeup. I think he’s the kind of player you’re looking for at the position. I think he’s got tremendous leadership ability.”

Other familiar names on the Virginia roster include former Bears RB Adrian Peterson, former Steelers RB Willie Parker, former Bengals LB Odell Thurman, former Chiefs first-round choice DT Ryan Sims and Mizzou product and briefly a member of the Chiefs last year, DT Atiyyah Ellison.

The Destroyers training camp will go three weeks, with the regular season opener Aug. 13 against Hartford at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.

Here’s a link for a look at the team’s roster going into camp. For more on Marty Schottenheimer, the Virginia Destroyers and the start of his new head coaching career, check out this story from the Roanoke Times. And, if you want to see and hear from Marty, here’s a link to a video posted by the Destroyers with an interview.

While he may have changed his coaching style, when you see him and hear his voice, it sounds very much like the same man who walked into Arrowhead Stadium more than 20 years ago and helped turn around one of the NFL’s most moribund franchises.

If you were a Chiefs fan in the 1990s, it’s worth your time to reconnect with Marty.

3 Responses to “Marty Gets Ready For Camp”

  • July 10, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    I will always Love Marty for what he did to bring our Chiefs back!

  • July 11, 2011  - Johnfromfairfax says:

    Marty will have the Destroyers winning and probably pretty quickly. He is a teacher and coach at heart and that never gets old. I agree that it was stupid of San Diego to let him go and feel the same about Washington. They’ve both gone downhill since. Good luck Marty.

  • July 11, 2011  - Ben says:

    One of the best motivators in football history! Marty was one heck of a coach as well. He was definitely a throw back type, but as you can see from the article, even he can learn new tricks.

    I’m sure the Destroyers will have that “Gleam” very soon!

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