A report on Profootballtalk.com is intimating Steve Wisniewski’s departure from the Raiders staff may have been more of a forced resignation that a decision of personal choice.
There were no reason given for his exit just as the team was reporting to training camp, but it would be prudent to hold off on any speculation that there was friction or philosophical differences on Dennis Allen’s staff where Wisniewski is concerned.
“Personal reasons” in Wisniewski’s case probably has quite a bit to do with family and faith, two reasons I was surprised he ever became a coach in the first place.
Toward the end of his career, I sat down with Wisniewski following practice on a bench at the club facility for probably the only extended intervew we ever had. Wisniewski was notoriously tight-lipped with the media, sticking with cliches and platitudes whenever possible.
At that point, Wisniewski explained that he was “old school,” and simply didn’t believe in flashy quotes or doing anything at the expense of a team. Wisniewski said there was no memorabilia at his home giving any hint he was a professional football player, and that when he walked away from the sport, he’d be gone for good.
Wisniewski said he’d instantly lose at least 50 pounds and then move on to the next phase of his life, which included becoming a church minister and getting back to a family life that was not always made easy by the demands of a professional football player.
But there was also the pull of the sport Wisniewski loved, and he occasionally began showing up at training camp, watching the line coaches do their job. He got a job on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford as a weight training assistant and worked his way back to the Raiders.
Because of his team-first attitude, Wisniewski was a favorite of every coach he ever had in Oakland, a career which spanned Mike Shanahan, Art Shell, Mike White, Joe Bugel and Jon Gruden. He thrived in any scheme, carried out orders and was Pied Piper of sorts to the rest of the linemen who followed him dutifully on distance runs following practice.
The chances of any sort of issue with Wisniewski is contrary to pretty much everything he is about.
Pollack becomes one of eight coaches without a line assistant, and he’ll miss a guy who in the middle of practice thought nothing of dropping to the ground and doing push-ups during breaks in the action.