Former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer died Monday after dealing with Alzheimer’s disease for several years. He was 77.
Schottenheimer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. He was moved to a hospice facility near his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 30 because of complications from the irreversible, progressive brain disorder.
Schottenheimer was a head coach for 21 seasons in the NFL, leading the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington and the Chargers.
He posted a 205-139-1 career record, including the playoffs, leading his teams to the postseason 13 times. Although Schottenheimer coached in three AFC Championship Games, two with the Browns and one with the Chiefs, he never made a Super Bowl.
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His NFL coaching career ended in 2006 following a 14-2 season with the Chargers and a divisional-round exit from the playoffs.
Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson played under Schottenheimer for five seasons with the Chargers and called him “the best coach I ever had.”
“I never went into a game with Marty as coach feeling like I wasn’t fully prepared to win,” Tomlinson said. “He really wanted you to understand every detail of the game plan. I considered him a true All-American man. He was a great father figure, and I was fortunate that my wife and I got to know he and [his wife] Pat beyond the typical player and coach relationship. He was a well-rounded human being. He cared more about the man than the athlete. I will remember him more for the life lessons that he taught me.”
Schottenheimer also played six seasons as a linebacker for the Buffalo Bills (1965 to 1968) and Patriots (1969 to 1970).
He is survived by his wife, Pat, two children, Kristin and Brian, and four grandchildren.
Brian Schottenheimer recently reached agreement to become the Jacksonville Jaguars’ passing-game coordinator, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after previously serving as offensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks.
“We know he is looking down on us from heaven and smiling,” his daughter said. “We are so incredibly proud of the man he was and how he lived his life.”