Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz loves the media so much he scheduled a 40-minute side interview at Big Ten media days in late July.
Ferentz met with NFL Films in Chicago not to talk about his team, Big Ten schedules or the new playoff format, but to relive his days as an assistant coach under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns. The episode “A Football Life: Cleveland ’95″ airs on NFL Network at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Ferentz, who was Cleveland’s offensive line coach from 1993-95, was quoted multiple times in the one-hour documentary. But NFL Films producer Greg Frith said, “Kirk’s best stuff didn’t make the show.”
“When (Ferentz) was talking about getting hired, he comes in from Maine to interview and he said Belichick just grilled him, dragged him over the coals. Murdered him in this interview,” Frith said. “‘Yeah, you don’t know what you’re doing.’ He left that interview saying, ‘God he hates me. I’m not getting the job.’
“Then he got back and got a call and said, ‘Bill loves you. Kirk said, ‘He sure has a funny way of showing it.’”
Frith said he had to pry to get Kirk to talk about the Browns situation.
“Kirk was giving me a little bit of coach speak when we were talking, saying ‘Yeah, we were planning for a game and worrying about winning games,’” Frith said. “I said ‘Coach, come on. I know you guys think that and wanted to think that. But this was like no season anybody has ever been through. Surely some of that human emotion had to come out on the coaching staff.’”
Former Browns GM Phil Savage, a close friend of Ferentz, did share a story about barely coming up for air a few months into the job.
“(Ferentz) gets the job there and Phil Savage, who ended up being the GM of the Browns, he told the story that he was one of the first to pick up Kirk,” Frith said. “He said, ‘Hey, here’s the new guy, and they all ended up going somewhere. He said after two months, Kirk was like, ‘How in the heck do I get out of here?
“All these guys, when they got there were so excited to be there and he compared it to The Firm. You’re so excited to get in and they you get in, it’s such a rat race and you’re working so hard and all the sudden you want to leave and you can’t. I think Kirk felt like that initially after he took the job.”
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