By Tim Graham
Doug Marrone, fresh from practice, still had rubber pellets from the field house's artificial turf embedded in his knees. He had been working earnestly with the Buffalo Bills' offensive linemen after Thursday's practice.
In an office at One Bills Drive, we sat and talked about the stresses that come with an NFL coach's exhausting lifestyle. My NFL Sunday story takes a look at how ruthless the grind can be. Last weekend, two NFL coaches were hospitalized with serious conditions.
Marrone at some point made a comment about when the time will come for him to walk away from the job.
"Hold on," I interjected. "You think you'll be able to do that?"
The job can be addictive. Retirement, by comparison, feels like a death row for some coaches.
Marrone responded quickly and provided insight into his long-term career philosophy.
Just as Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells revealed for The Buffalo News this week, Marrone holds onto inspirational items that help him maintain perspective. Marrone keeps this one on his desk at home. He insisted the letter, written to Phil Fulmer, will serve as his barometer for moving forward or hanging up his whistle someday.
"It's the first letter I'd written, looking for a job. It was a graduate assistant's job at the University of Tennessee. I'd just gotten done playing.
"I keep that letter to remind that if I don't feel the same way now that I did when I wrote that letter, I'm not coaching anymore.
"There's two things I've always said -- and this is probably the only place I've been where I didn't say it to management -- but I've always said the same thing: 'If I'm ever in a position where I come in and I don't like what I do or I don't like who I coach, I'm done. I don't care what the contract says or what you do.' I believe that.
"I have that letter, and it reminds me if I'm not that way every single day, then I don't deserve to have this job. The sport has done so much for me, and I have such a responsibility for this region and this organization to bring this team back. For me, I take it very seriously."
taggedBill Parcells | Doug Marrone