It’s known that the Lions gave coach Jim Schwartz a new contract in the offseason. It’s unknown how much he’s getting paid, or how long the deal lasts.
While it makes sense to stay mum on the former, secrecy as to the latter is a bit unusual.
According to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press, Schwartz and reporters debated the policy of silence during a recent news conference.
Here’s a sample.
Reporter: “Why won’t you reveal the length of it?”
Schwartz: “It’s my choice.”
Reporter: “But why?”
Schwartz: “It’s personal to me. Do you make your contract terms public?”
Reporter: “I don’t have a contract.”
Schwartz: “You choose to reveal that.”
Reporter: “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
Schwartz: “I don’t play that game.”
He linked the strategy to his attitude toward discussing injuries. “[Y]ou’ve got to be consistent in that approach, and it’s the same thing with this,” Schwartz said. “If we say, ‘Hey, I’m not talking about contract,’ then I’m not talking about it. You can’t talk about it after it’s done with a big grin on your face. That’s just it.”
Under that theory, however, Schwartz would never talk about anything.
Then again, Schwartz and plenty of other coaches would prefer not to talk about anything, even though the intense interest in the sport allows NFL head coaches to make the kind of money they do.
The challenge for coaches who prefer to say nothing is to find a way to be evasive without being hostile. Instead of jousting in response to a topic the coach doesn’t want to discuss, crack a funny line and then ramble for about 40 seconds until the reporters get bored and move on to a new topic.
Writers are simply looking for good copy. If coaches don’t want to provide good copy by answering questions directly, then they need to find a way that sidesteps the substance of the question while also providing good copy.
Superficial? Yes. But it’s always good to find a way to have a solid relationship with the folks who buy their ink by the truckload.