- Pope Francis wins another ‘Person of the Year’ — from gay rights magazine
- Rep. Steve Stockman: Give my campaign $10, and you’ll get an Obama barf bag
- Putin: Russia to buy $15 billion in Ukraine bonds
- Expert: Obamacare ‘death spiral’ fears exaggerated
- Alabama firefighters dig for survivors of apartment blast
- Big Sur wildfire destroys home of firefighting chief
- ‘ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas’ set for mock trial to argue authorship
- Angela Merkel’s third term as Germany’s chancellor to be marked by move to left
- Mega Millions entices with record-setting jackpot: Half a billion so far
- Dennis Rodman heads to North Korea — despite execution, political purge
Like father, like son on Redskins’ sideline
Bill Khayat lived in Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit again before he turned 9. Bob Saunders was 12 when he had to endure the pain of everyone at school knowing that his father had been fired. And yet, Khayat and Saunders both decided to follow their fathers into the grueling and precarious business that is coaching in the NFL.
In fact, both Khayat, who succeeded coach Joe Gibbs‘ son, Coy, as the Redskins' quality control coach/offense this year, and Saunders, who followed his father to Washington in 2006 as the Redskins' assistant/special projects, plan to be NFL lifers like their fathers.
Khayat’s father, Eddie, Philadelphia’s coach from 1971 to 1972, has coached 25 years in the NFL after nine years as a player. Saunders‘ father, Al, now the Redskins' associate head coach-offense, was San Diego’s coach from 1986 to 1988 and is in his 25th year in the league.
“My mom [Karen] about passed out when I told her I was going to be a coach,” said Bob Saunders, 30. “She didn’t want me to do it. She knew how hard my dad worked and how many hours he put in. In order to do this, you have to love it or you won’t get anything accomplished.”
“Coaching brought my husband and our family a great amount of joy,” she said. “Eddie has always been so positive. It’s never been ‘Oh, woe is me [after losing a job].’ We’ve always just gone on to the next thing instead of looking back. The experience of having a father who was a coach made coaching something Bill gravitated to naturally when he was no longer playing. I just wanted him to be happy.”
While Saunders‘ playing career was waylaid by a serious knee injury in high school — he walked on for a year at Southern Methodist — Khayat was a standout tight end at Duke. But despite having grown up as the sons of NFL coaches, neither gave the profession much thought.
“Like a lot of kids, in your early 20s you think you’ll play forever,” said the 34-year-old Khayat, who was headed for medical school until the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys offered him a rookie free agent contract. “I had never thought about getting into coaching while I was playing. When I decided to stop playing in 1999, I needed to figure out with my life. I was with six teams [and one in NFL Europe] in 3½ years and I never played in a regular-season game. I got tired of living out of a suitcase.”
Saunders had interned in marketing for the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer and thought that’s how he would stay in sports until he started helping his father diagram plays on the Chiefs’ computers the month after he graduated from Missouri-Kansas City in 2001. Coach Dick Vermeil was so impressed with Saunders‘ work that he asked him to stay on for the season before making him a paid assistant the next year.
“I had mixed emotions when Bob told me that he wanted to be a coach,” Al Saunders said. “It’s such a demanding profession, emotionally and physically. You wonder if the quality of life is the same for your family as it is for you. I think of all the things I missed in my three children’s lives.
“And Bob’s so bright that there were a lot of other avenues he could have chosen. But I was elated that he wanted to make a commitment to this vocation, knowing everything that was involved. I’ve seen more of Bob during the six years that we’ve worked together than I probably did the previous 24 years of his life. It’s very rewarding to see him grow as a teacher and as a man.”
While Al Saunders emigrated from England, as a child knowing nothing about American sports, football has long been a way of life for the Khayats. Eddie and his brother Bob played together on the Redskins in 1962-63 and their father had coached high school ball in Mississippi.
“When my boys were very young, I told them that they would be required to play a sport because of the lessons you learn being part of a team, but I didn’t push them towards any particular sport,” said Eddie Khayat, who spent more than six decades in locker rooms and still coaches part-time at 71, two years after his last Arena League season. “I always figured that I would coach after I was done playing. If you love what you’re doing, it’s not work.”
Although their NFL careers never overlapped, there still are plenty of people in the league who know the senior Khayat as well as his son, who spent the past three years with the Arizona Cardinals after four years at Tennessee State.
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
- PRUDEN: The scam that will not die
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Robert E. Lee and 'Stonewall' Jackson tributes face Army War College removal
- Wasted: Tom Coburn's 'Wastebook targets 70 days in bed, Facebook
- Army to cut up to 4,000 captains and majors
- OBAMASCARE: Huge premium hikes rock employer-insured workers
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- ISTOOK: Enlarging his rule, shrinking the Constitution
- Zadzooks: The Joker sixth scale figure review (Sideshow Collectibles)
- 5 million fall into Obamacare coverage gap
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow