At first I was going to leave the title just as it is on NFL.com, Schottenheimer battling early-onset Alzheimer’s, but then I realized there are some who won’t know who Schottenheimer is. This is another sad note in the song of Alzheimer’s. For those unfamiliar, Marty Schottenheimer was a former linebacker who played with the Bill, Patriots, and Colts before retiring in 1971. He spent spent 21 seasons as an NFL head coach, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago. He is reportedly expected to begin a trial of a new drug that could slow down the debilitating effects of the disease, for as we know there is currently no cure for the disease.
His wife Pat told ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi, “He’s in the best of health, (but) sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything.” “He functions extremely well, plays golf several times a week. He’s got that memory lag where he’ll ask you the same question three or four times. Added Pat,”He remembers people and faces, and he pulls out strange things that I’ve never heard, but he’s doing well. It’s going be a long road. We both know that.”
The 1986 Cleveland Browns reconvened this past weekend for a 30-year reunion of the last Browns team to win 12 games, and Schottenheimer joined some of his former players and coaches including Earnest Byner, Felix Wright and Reggie Langhorne.
Upon hearing the news of Schottenheimer’s condition, Wright and Langhorne insisted that their former coach join them, telling Marty’s son and Colts offensive coordinator, Brian, “Your dad has to come to this. We all want to see him.”
After leaving the Browns following the 1988 season, Schottenheimer spent 11 years in Kansas City, during which he coached the Chiefs to seven playoff appearances, one season with the Redskins and five years in San Diego. He last coached professional football in 2006 when he went 14-2 with LaDainian Tomnlinson and the Chargers before being fired following an early playoff exit.
Schottenheimer concluded his coaching career with a .613 winning percentage and 5-13 record in the postseason. No Browns coach has posted an overall winning record since his departure in 1988.