Marty Schottenheimer, a former head coach at the NFL level for 21 seasons, was recently moved to a hospice care facility over the weekend -- his family announced. The facility is close to his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. The 77-year-old was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014, but is listed in stable condition.
"As a family we are surrounding him with love," his wife, Pat, said in an official statement, "and are soaking up the prayers and support from all those he impacted through his incredible life. In the way he taught us all, we are putting one foot in front of the other ... one play at a time."
Schottenheimer joined the ranks of the NFL first as a linebacker selected in the fourth round of the 1965 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh by the Baltimore Colts -- also selected the same year in the AFL draft (seventh round) by the Buffalo Bills. He'd go on to spend his first several seasons with the Bills before joining the New England Patriots (formerly the Boston Patriots), and later left the field for the sideline as a linebackers coach for the Portland Storm and then the New York Giants. His stretch with the Giants led to a promotion to defensive coordinator and, from there, he spent time with the Detroit Lions before taking the reins as head coach for the Cleveland Browns in 1984 after having spent time as their defensive coordinator as well.
His next few stops were some of his most memorable though, including a 10-year stretch as HC for the Kansas City Chiefs, and after a one-year visit with the Washington Football Team, he'd finish his NFL coaching career as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers -- hanging up his NFL whistle after a well-publicized split from the organization. He finished with a NFL record of 200-126-1 as a head coach, good enough for eighth-most all time.
His coaching tree includes Bruce Arians, Pete Carroll, Mike Tomlin, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Mike McCarthy and others, which is a nod to what he brought to the game. And with his son, Brian, now taking the job as passing game coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars -- his contributions continue long after he walked away from the league.