TAMPA, Fla. -- Give credit to the East team at the East-West Shrine Game -- airing exclusively Saturday on NFL Network at 4 p.m. ET -- this week for assembling one of the most eclectic and diverse coaching staffs in the long history of this event.
It has head coach Charlie Weis, who as of last month was being paid handsomely by two schools not to coach; quarterbacks coach Brady Quinn, Weis' former signal-caller at Notre Dame; and Katie Sowers, a former women's semi-pro football player and Weis' assistant who has been working with the wide receivers.
Oh, and also a former Arena League team owner and one of the most famous rockers of all-time. Yes, Jon Bon Jovi has been roaming the sidelines for the East team all week, decked out in red East-West coaching gear and hardly being recognized by anyone under the age of 40. That's the way he wanted it, leaving town Wednesday night with little-to-no fanfare.
"He really took his duties as a coach seriously," said Tom Reeves, director of game operations for the event and the man called upon by Weis early Monday morning to wake Bon Jovi up for team meetings. "He insisted on keeping his profile low here; he really wanted to concentrate on learning as much as he could about football and soak it all in."
Bon Jovi, who was interested in becoming principal owner of the Buffalo Bills in 2014 after Ralph Wilson's death, was invited by Weis to be an honorary coach this week. Bill Belichick and Bon Jovi are longtime friends, and Weis got to know the singer/songwriter when he was offensive coordinator in New England and Bon Jovi was a regular around the Patriots facility.
On Wednesday, Bon Jovi was part of the chain gang during team drills at the East morning practice. He was too into it to even notice another celebrity, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, walking his dog along the sideline.