Redman’s Last Chance … Friday Cup O’Super Bowl

From Dallas, Texas

The look on his face was a combination of happy and sad, energy and pain, hope and surrender.

The happy, energy and hope was Dave Redding. The sadness, pain and surrender was Parkinson’s Disease, the opponent that “Redman” now fights every breathing movement.

“Gretzie, every day is a tough one,” Redding said, as he sat in the ballroom of the Green Bay Packers hotel in Las Colinas. “But I’m smiling right now.”

The smile came because of where this conversation took place and why. The Packers are in the Super Bowl and for the first time in his career as a NFL strength and conditioning coach, Redding has reached the ultimate game. Twenty-four pro seasons another six in the college game, thousands of hours in the weight room helping players sling around barbells and weights and now finally, he’s part of the one that counts.

“Every year with the Chiefs (1989-97) I thought we had a chance to get to this week,” Redding said. “It was always heartbreaking. It just takes a little bit of your heart every time you get a chance and it doesn’t happen.”

Redman has been close several times before to the Lombardi Trophy. During his time in Cleveland where the Browns hopes were dashed in back-to-back years by the Broncos with “The Drive” and the Earnest Byner fumble. He was with the Chiefs when they got to the AFC Championship game with Joe Montana in 1993 against Buffalo. In San Diego, he was with the Chargers as Marty Schottenheimer turned around the franchise and appeared headed for championship participation, only to come up short.

Now, in the last year of his career, Dave Redding is a Super Bowl coach. There’s no question that he’s always enjoyed the journey. Now, a bit weaker and worn than he was in his youth, he’s finally reached the destination.

“How many times was it the motivation in training, in the weight room, going to the Super Bowl?” he said. “Thousands and thousands of times it’s repeated every week around the league. You aren’t any kind of player, coach or team if that’s not something you think about every single day.

“I know we did (with the Chiefs). We all worked hard and damn, we had some good players, some good teams. From top to bottom, it was the finest organization and finest group of people that I’ve ever worked with. There was that family feeling. It’s the same here with the Packers. It’s about people and it’s about winning and it goes in that order.

“You don’t win games and become great people. You have great people and you win games. That’s championship teams.”

Redman is the Packers assistant strength and conditioning coach, a title he accepted after the ’09 season when he nearly walked away at that point. He was going to retire, but instead he swapped titles with his assistant and went right back to work.

Something told Redman it wasn’t time to leave.

“It was a tough year, but I saw so many positive things happening that I went to Mike (McCarthy/head coach) and told him I wanted to come back for one more year,” Redding said. “I didn’t want to miss out on this chance.

“Pretty good guess, huh!”

It’s a dream come true for to reach the Super Bowl in his retirement season, and to do that working for his childhood team, the one he told his mother that he would play for back so many years ago.

“It was one of those letters you write to your folks telling them what you were going to do when you grew up,” Redding said. “First, I was going to play high school football. Then, I was going to play at Nebraska. And then I was going to play for the Green Bay Packers.

“I played in high school, I played at Nebraska, and now here I am with the Packers and were getting ready to play the Super Bowl.”

Redding played for his father George Crump Redding at North Platte High School. He then landed in Lincoln, where he played for three seasons (1973-75) for Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne. Redding spent a year with the Cornhuskers as a graduate assistant coach before he spent a year at Washington State and then four seasons at Missouri.

That’s when he got hired in 1982 by then Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano to be Cleveland’s first strength and conditioning coach. How he got that job leads to another one of Redman’s stories. Few in football have more stories than Redding.

“When I was a kid, they played an (AFL) exhibition game in North Platte,” Redding said of the Broncos and Raiders game played on August 27, 1967. The announced crowd was 6,500 for the Denver victory.

“I was hired to go into the crowd and chase down all the footballs that went flying in there,” Redding remembered. “There was a ball that got kicked in their on a PAT or field goal and I went in to get it and I got into a fight with a bunch of cowboys. These guys were sitting there wearing big cowboy hats, boots, just a bunch of cowboys that came off the ranch for something to do. They wouldn’t give me the ball back.”

There was a short tussle, but Redding was smart enough to end things before they got out of hand. He went back to the Broncos bench and the next time a ball went flying into the crowd, he didn’t move to get it. That brought the Denver equipment manager screaming at him.

“He’s yelling at me ‘I hired you to go get those balls’,” Redman remembered. “He’s telling me I have to go into the stands get the balls. I’m telling him that I wasn’t going back in there and get beat up. He’s telling me I was fired if I don’t go back into the stands.

“That’s when this assistant coach stepped in and told the guy that I wasn’t going to go back into the stands because it was too dangerous. He told him to leave me alone. I hung on his pant leg the rest of the night.”

That assistant coach? Sam Rutigliano.

“I went to Cleveland to interview for that job and told him the story,” Redding said. “He said right then – ‘You’re hired’.”

It’s sometimes very crazy how doors open and doors close in a fraternity like football coaching, whether it’s on the high school, college or pro level. Redding learned the first principles of weight lifting from his father, who learned while he was fighting in Europe during World War II.

At Nebraska, he hooked up with an injured pole vaulter named Boyd Epley who was hired as the Cornhuskers first strength coach in the last years of the Devaney years. It didn’t take long for Epley to start producing stronger players, and future weight coaches like Redding.

In 2006, Redman was inducted into the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame. That was also the year he was voted the NFL’s best strength and conditioning coach.

It was also the last year he spent in San Diego with Schottenheimer, who was fired after that season despite a 14-2 record. Personality differences between the head coach and GM A.J. Smith led to Marty’s departure.

At that time, Redman thought his coaching days might be over. But when the Packers made a change in their weight room after the 2008 season, he called McCarthy and got one more chance.

And that one more chance has him sitting on the edge of being able to claim a Super Bowl ring.

“It’s what every one of these people worked for,” Redding said, waving his hand across a ballroom filled with Packers players and personnel. “Some of these guys don’t know how precious this opportunity is. They are young and they are going to live forever.

“I was that way once. Now, I’m trying to enjoy every part of this ride. It’s tough getting up every morning when you have this (Parkinson’s). But not so much the last two weeks. I can’t wait for the morning. I can’t wait until Sunday.”


  • BGEARS – named Mike Phair defensive line coach.
  • BENGALS – hired Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator; he’s the young brother of former Raiders-Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.
  • CHARGERS – signed a reserve/futures contract with WR Richard Goodman.
  • CHIEFS – named Bill Muir offensive coordinator/offensive line coach.
  • EAGLES – claimed CB Isaiah Trufant off waivers from the Jets.
  • FALCONS – signed head coach Mike Smith to a 3-year contract extension.

5 Responses to “Redman’s Last Chance … Friday Cup O’Super Bowl”

  • February 4, 2011  - James says:

    Prayers and best wishes for Mr Redding. Nice article Bob.

  • February 4, 2011  - Fansince93 says:

    Great article Bob. Reading this gives me one more reason to root for the Packers.

  • February 5, 2011  - DBP says:

    Great story about a GREAT guy.

    Thank you for the article.

  • February 6, 2011  - Gary says:

    Wow. My grandfather had Parkinson’s. Glad Redding can enjoy the ride to the Super Bowl. Thanks for linking this back to the Chiefs, people first, winning second. Mr. Lamar Hunt and the rest of the organization lived those principles during their great run in the 90s.

  • February 22, 2011  - Redman Gets His Ring | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] From the Super Bowl in Dallas three weeks ago I wrote about former Chiefs assistant coach Dave Redding and his eminent retirement from the NFL, where he had worked since the early 1980s as a strength and conditioning coach. Here’s the link if you missed it. [...]

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