As former Browns players and coaches prepare for a 30-year reunion of the 1986 team that reached the AFC Championship game, sad news has come out about the squad’s head coach. Tony Grossi for ESPN Cleveland reveals Marty Schottenheimer, who ranks sixth in NFL history with 200 wins, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago.
On the positive side, Schottenheimer’s wife Pat reveals her husband is in great physical condition at 73 years of age. Unfortunately, the coach of 21 years is suffering from a brain disease that is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.
“He’s in the best of health, (but) sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything,” Pat said. “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.”
Schottenheimer coached four different teams and ranks only behind Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry, Bill Belichick and Curly Lambeau on the NFL’s all-time win list. While he nearly guided the Browns to their conference title in ’86, Schottenheimer is probably best known for his 10-year run with the Chiefs in which they went to the playoffs seven times. For all of his success though, he never won or took any of his teams to the Super Bowl.
As Grossi writes, Alzheimer’s will not prevent Schottenheimer from attending the Browns reunion, as two of the team’s alums, Felix Wright and Reggie Langhorne, reached out to his son, Brian, currently a coach for the Colts.