For Pete's Sake

Andy Reid: Former Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer battling Alzheimer’s disease is ‘sad deal’

The legacy of Marty Schottenheimer’s Chiefs defense

Twenty-five years after guiding the Kansas City Chiefs to their first playoff win in more than two decades, former coach Marty Schottenheimer is battling Alzheimer’s disease. Music by Kevin MacLeod CC BY 3.0; Derrick Thomas video courtesy of NFL F
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Twenty-five years after guiding the Kansas City Chiefs to their first playoff win in more than two decades, former coach Marty Schottenheimer is battling Alzheimer’s disease. Music by Kevin MacLeod CC BY 3.0; Derrick Thomas video courtesy of NFL F

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Friday he was saddened to hear about Marty Schottenheimer, who has been battling early-onset Alzheimer’s disease for five years.

“It’s a sad deal,” Reid said. “The disease is a sad deal. It takes you away but yet you’re there. My blessings are with him He’s a great man. Love him, love him to death.”

Schottenheimer spent 10 of his 21 years as an NFL head coach with the Chiefs, leading the franchise to the postseason in seven of those seasons.

In a story on ESPN Cleveland, Schottenheimer, who is 73, is scheduled to be at a 30th reunion that former Cleveland running back Earnest Byner planned for the 1986 Browns team, along with his wife, Pat.

That 1986 team lost to the Broncos in overtime of the AFC Championship Game after Denver quarterback John Elway led a memorable fourth-quarter comeback.

“He’s in the best of health, (but) sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything,” Pat Schottenheimer told Grossi. “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.

“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.”

According to the Mayo Clinic: Of all the people who have Alzheimer's disease, about 5 percent develop symptoms before age 65. So if 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's, at least 200,000 people have the early-onset form of the disease.

Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984-88 and had a 44-27 record. Since he left, Grossi notes, no Browns coach has had a winning record.

After leaving Cleveland, Schottenheimer joined the Chiefs, who were 101-58-1 in his 10 years with the Chiefs (1989-98). The Chiefs twice won 13 games and advanced to the AFC Championship Game in the 1993 season.

In one season with Washington in 2001, he had an 8-8 record, then had an 47-33 record with the Chargers in five seasons (2002-06).

Schottenheimer talked to Grossi and said: “I’m sitting here looking at a lake and it’s a spectacular setting. Pat and I, the Lord’s blessed us. I mean, there’s no other way I can identify it. We’re doing really good.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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