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December 14, 2012

NFL coaches have a fear of Friday night and for good reason

It is another Friday. The NFL hopes it is much calmer Friday night/early Saturday morning than the last two weeks.

Early Dec. 1, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend before committing suicide in front of his coach and general manager at Arrowhead Stadium. A week later, in the early hours last Saturday, Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter as the driver in a single-car wreck that left practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown dead.

NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy said on Football Night in America that Friday night was the night he feared most as a head coach. NFL players have a lighter workload Friday and thus leave the facility earlier.

"I don’t want to use the word fear, but you certainly understand the dynamics of the week, when players have work to do the next day or when they want to kind of get away from things and that’s certainly been the case for a long, long time in this league, for players and for coaches," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Certainly, you want to, the best you can, help guide players through the different scheduling issues that you have during the week and try to help guide them to make the right decisions.”

NFL coaches surely will use the tragedies as cautionary tales in meetings today, imploring players to be smart tonight.

"It’s something we talk about continually not necessarily in reaction to unfortunate incidents," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on a conference call with media in Dallas. "We all have been in this league long enough to understand the dangers of that, so it’s not something we mention it in reaction to recent events. It’s just normal protocol."

-- Charean Williams




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