HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Herman Edwards' mother saw this side of
him many times before. Now the entire country has seen it, too.
The Jets coach finally let his emotions get the best of him
during the wild-card game against the San Diego Chargers on
Saturday night, getting into a fight with assistant coach Bishop
Harris on the sideline. Edwards knew he was wrong the second he let
the words come out of his mouth, so he stepped in front of his team
Tuesday and said he was sorry for losing his cool.
He apologized to his mother days ago, after she saw the
confrontation from the stands. When he saw her afterward, she said,
'They saw the other side, didn't they?'
"It wasn't right," Edwards said as the Jets prepare to play
Pittsburgh on Saturday. "The head coach is supposed to keep his
composure. That's the one thing I preach to our football team all
the time. I have high expectations on myself and I let my guard
down and I shouldn't have fallen into the trap.
"I won't embarrass the league by showing me on the TV set
instead of showing our team."
Edwards, who usually exudes California cool, had never lost his
temper before as a player or a coach. But his players know Edwards
is plenty emotional. Veteran receiver Wayne Chrebet said he does
not understand how Edwards keeps everything bottled up inside.
"I liked it," Chrebet said. "I know he's got it in him. We
need that, to follow his lead. I know what he was like when he
played. I know he still has it in him. You just know. You can tell
by talking to him. He's got that fire in his belly."
Edwards will never be confused with Buddy Ryan, who slugged
fellow assistant Kevin Gilbride while they were on the sideline
with Houston in a game, coincidentally against the New York Jets,
on Jan. 2, 1994.
But the inner fire Edwards has serves his team well.
"I don't usually get mad but there's times on the field where
I'm a second away from the same type of thing," Curtis Martin
said. "That's just emotion, that's football. Just playing out
there in that game especially. I didn't really think of it as
anything. That shows the fire. You can't avoid those things
Edwards started screaming at Harris late in the third quarter,
but has declined to say why. It is known that Edwards wanted to get
backup LaMont Jordan more involved in the game. At around the time
of the argument, Martin had just caught a 23-yard pass.
Harris makes the personnel calls after getting the plays from
offensive coordinator Paul Hackett over the headset. So the
altercation probably had something to do with the use of Martin and
Jordan. Harris has declined interview requests this week.
Fullback Jerald Sowell had to stop the two from coming to blows.
After Edwards turned away, Harris said something else and Edwards
started yelling again. Sowell said he did not know why his coaches
"I look at myself as a peacemaker," Sowell said about stepping
between the coaches. "I don't like confrontations like that. I
knew it wasn't right at the time. We were trying to win the game."
After the Jets won 20-17 in overtime, Edwards was asked who won
the argument. Edwards smirked and said, 'The head coach always
Perhaps that is why Jordan was on the field late in overtime for
the biggest run of the game, a 19-yarder that put the Jets in
field-goal range for the winner.
Jordan, who becomes a free agent when the season ends, could be
franchised to keep him from leaving. But he refused to talk about
his contract situation, instead giving all his attention to
"When Curtis and I are both in the game and we are both into
the game we haven't lost," Jordan said. "And that was proven even
in San Diego. If you really look at the end of the game in the
overtime and in the fourth quarter, Curtis and I both were very
Edwards wants it that way Saturday. He also vowed no more
"The thing I hate the worst about it is it distracted from what
happened on the field," Edwards said. "These guys played a heck
of a football game, both teams, and I think most people are worried
about my confrontation with a coach. That's what I'm sad about. It
won't happen again. I'm sorry it happened."