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Zorn talks about not quitting when the going got toughest

A hush fell over the 4,000 men who gathered at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden on Saturday morning as former Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn talked about the day last year when he learned that he could no longer call his own plays.

"When I got play calling taken away from me, I called Tony and asked his advice and he said, 'I wouldn't do it,' " said Zorn, who was sitting alongside his longtime friend, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, as well as Baltimore Ravens Coach John Harbaugh and veteran sportscaster James Brown.

Brown told Zorn that during his stormy tenure as the Redskins' coach he was an example of "grace under pressure," but Zorn said the issue weighed heavily on his mind. "I had to pray about it....For the life of me, I couldn't bring myself to quit just because things were not going my way."

There was plenty of frank discussion of about faith, football and being better fathers at the Red Zone National Men's Conference, where three current and former NFL head coaches and more than a dozen current and former players talked about their faith to a sea of men sporting various jerseys.

The event was sponsored by Foundation for Manhood, a nonprofit group focused on "promoting biblical manhood," and even though the cheapest ticket was $25 to attend, event organizers had no problems selling out the venue before the doors to the event even opened.

"The goal of this conference was to partner with a local church to bring the message of Jesus Christ to men in a unique forum," said Marty Grainger, board chairman of Foundation for Manhood. "A lot of men are used to attending church conferences where they will hear speakers or preachers, but having these men who they all know and love from the sports world was an effort to help get them where they are to where God wants them to be."

Dungy told the men that he always has to set an example every Sunday afternoon. "There is always a camera waiting for your reaction," he said. "You can say that you are a Christian coach, but one reaction it can be gone."

Harbaugh used his time to encourage the men to study the example that Jesus set, especially when it came to dealing with children. "He got down on his knees, looked little kids in the eye and told them that they were special. Its about relationships," Harbaugh said.

Rev. John K. Jenkins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, said that he is glad that his church had the opportunity to host the all-day conference, where men broke up into smaller huddles that were led by a host of NFL players, ministers and heads of Christian men groups.

"These NFL coaches are men who have accepted the Lord Jesus in their lives and we want to use their testimony to connect men who prayerfully want to see their lives change," Jenkins. "It is our hope that these men leave here being better Christians, better husbands and better fathers, many of them have brought their sons with them."

Brown, a CBS sportscaster who himself had a successful basketball career that began at DeMatha, quoted scriptures from the stage like a gospel preacher. "Matt 6:33 tells you to seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteous and all these things will be added unto you. There are tons of scriptures that if you read them, study them and apply them, they are the keys to success in the game of life."

On the day when the Redskins began their first minicamp under new coach Mike Shanahan, Zorn joked about looking forward to seeing his former team in August when the Redskins play the Baltimore Ravens, where he is now the quarterbacks coach.

"The Washington Redskins are practicing today, I wouldn't be here today if I were still head coach, but life goes on," Zorn said, adding that the most important thing that one can do is keep their good name. "Your name is valuable, what's important is what you do with that name. It takes years of living a consistent life ."

By Hamil R. Harris  |  April 17, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
 
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Comments

Sunday school on Saturday? Strange place to look for insights into Jim Zorn's Redskins days, but I share the view that he was a class act all the way. A corny class act, but a class act.

Posted by: League-Source | April 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"burgundy and black".

Posted by: dmlopez1 | April 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Black and Ben Burgundy and Burgundy and Burgundy and Black Roethlisberger.......

Posted by: dmlopez1 | April 17, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Maroon and black.... but good for him...seemed like a good man I wish him well

Posted by: theredskin | April 17, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Surprised Tebow wasnt in the house.

Posted by: KingJoffeJoffer | April 17, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

vomit beeps

Posted by: RomoShortball | April 17, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

All the best luck to Zorn. He was a man in over his head as a head coach, with an owner who never let him up for air. But he's (seemingly) a good man, who deserved better. I wish I could've been in attendance at this gathering.

Posted by: redskins2199 | April 17, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

A good man and a class act.

Posted by: MDterpfan | April 17, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Zorn is a good man-I wish him the best. The way the organization was set up, he was destined to fail.

Posted by: djorl | April 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

nothing but the best for jim zorn he a good man an someday will be a good head coach all my hats off to you sir an thank u because i learned from you last year it might not have work out for u as a coach but from where i stand u are the man j z

Posted by: teresabogans | April 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

people paid money to hear this screwball speak?talk about hard up.he didnt quit so he could get paid.im sure he wasnt the main draw at this event.

Posted by: DLESMonday | April 17, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow. And to think James Brown, Tony Dungy, and John Harbaugh all supported, counseled and/or coached Zorn. Where does the blame go now? Pansy a$$ players and a GM want to be. Snyder missed so badly on this and the team.

Posted by: 2ndtierfan | April 17, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

So nice that our former head coach remained medium and had grace under fire while his head was stuck firmly up his arse. One can't fault a man for being committed, but in the face of the adversity that he was complicit in creating, one can certainly wonder why Zorn couldn't find in two years he was over his head and incapable of producing a winner.

But then again, because of Zorn we got rid of Vinnie. That is almost like Chemotherapy getting rid of cancer.

Posted by: laserwizard | April 17, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

It still amazes me that we have so many Zorn haters! Get a clue.

Repeat after me - "Zorn was not problem. Vinnie was the problem".

There. Doesn't a dose of reality help you feel better?

Zorn will be an NFL head coach again, and he will take an NFL team deep into the playoffs.

Hail Redskins!

Posted by: SkinsFan2111 | April 17, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Coaching is similar to Opus Dei, and I think it involves a similar level of pedophilia.

Posted by: cpascopr | April 17, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't hate Zorn, but he was not a good play-caller, offensive coordinator, nor motivator. He was also put in a weak position by ownership, and the players knew it.

Nice guy. Not the brightest bulb, but a decent worker - not afraid to dive in.

That said, this event sounds like a puke-fest.

"Holier-Than-Thou-Gone-Wild"

Posted by: Thinker_ | April 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Somebody on here actually thinks that Zorn will be a NFL head coach again. That's amazing. Zorn doesn't even believe that.

Posted by: coparker5 | April 17, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

.For the life of me, I couldn't bring myself to quit just because things were not going my way."
================
Zorny.. you were a classy guy..but, your Contract stipulated that if you quit, Snyder would owe you nothing..
Instead, because you didnt quit, you are now the highest paid QB coach in the history of the NFL.. (2.5 mil for one year).

Posted by: SkinsneedaGM | April 17, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Good post. It's interesting to hear what makes these guys tick.

Posted by: SteveBuckhantz | April 17, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

t still amazes me that we have so many Zorn haters! Get a clue.

Repeat after me - "Zorn was not problem. Vinnie was the problem".

Posted by: SkinsFan2111 | April 17, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope Zorn is a head football coach again because the Skins will beat that team. Vinnie was part of the problem, but Zorn was in way over his head. Even God can't help a team that calls the same trick play twice in a row!

Posted by: rfjh1 | April 17, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse


I don't hate Zorn, but he was not a good play-caller, offensive coordinator, nor motivator. He was also put in a weak position by ownership, and the players knew it.

Nice guy. Not the brightest bulb, but a decent worker - not afraid to dive in.

That said, this event sounds like a puke-fest.

"Holier-Than-Thou-Gone-Wild"

Posted by: Thinker_ | April 17, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse
========================================
Thinker, you've said some stupid s* on here before... but not this time. I'm w/ you on all of it.

Posted by: hogmeister | April 18, 2010 6:17 AM | Report abuse

It's a delight seeing Jim Zorn in Redskins Insider once more. I'm encouraged that he is still sharing the faith and the message not to give up when facing difficult times that seemed impossible to deal with. Definitely a class act.

Posted by: RedCherokee | April 18, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Someone should have asked Tony Dungy if he feels any remorse for rejecting his gay son- which ultimately led to his suicide.

Posted by: mgonter | April 18, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It sounds like these men have not invited Jesus into their lives, it sounds like they invited the NFL into their lives.

Jim Harbaugh needs to give the chapter and verse where Jesus is on his knees with children, from his example. He made it up. Harbaugh did not lie, he just does not know his Bible.

Christianity can teach men to be better fathers and husbands without idolatry. It does not need to exclude those who can't pay $25 a ticket nor worship the NFL.

This was an example of idolatry. The NFL Temple and the pantheon of coaches, ex-coaches, and players, to the exclusion of the poor, the sick, the humble, and women.

Little Children, Beware of Idols," 1 John 5:21, seems to warn about sports worship.

Another blown opportuntiy, unless you are counting the money.

Posted by: SemperPax | April 18, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Before we have a telethon for Zorn, recall that he's still on the Skins payroll. If one more person is referred to as a "class act", I'm gonna lose my cookies....

Posted by: randysbailin | April 18, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: itkonlyyou14 | April 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

It's usually puke-worthy when players open their mouths and spout religious cliches. It's even worse when it's coaches... they're supposed to be halfway smart. I'm for the separation of church and sports.

Posted by: chris_zz | April 18, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It's usually puke-worthy when players open their mouths and spout religious cliches. It's even worse when it's coaches... they're supposed to be halfway smart. I'm for the separation of church and sports.

Posted by: chris_zz

Really? Well Im for the separation of close minded people who are against anything that they dont agree with or believe in. Seriously what impact does it have on your closed minded little world?

Posted by: SkinEm1 | April 18, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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