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Schottenheimer battling early-onset Alzheimer's

When the 1986 Cleveland Browns reconvene this weekend for a 30-year reunion of the last Browns team to win 12 games, their beloved coach will be by their side.

Marty Schottenheimer, the long-tenured coach who led the Browns to four consecutive playoff appearances from 1985 to 1988, plans to be in attendance in Cleveland this weekend, and that's a victory in and of itself.

Schottenheimer, 73, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's about five years ago, according to ESPN's Tony Grossi, and is reportedly expected to begin a trial of a new drug that could slow down the debilitating effects of the disease.

"He's in the best of health, (but) sometimes he just doesn't remember everything," Marty's wife, Pat, told Grossi. "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 is expected to be joined this weekend by at least 25 of his former players and coaches including Earnest Byner, Felix Wright and Reggie Langhorne.

Upon hearing the news of Schottenheimer's condition, the latter two insisted that their former coach join them, telling Marty's son and Colts offensive coordinator, Brian, "Your dad has to come to this. We all want to see him."

After leaving the Browns following the 1988 season, Schottenheimer spent 11 years in Kansas City, during which he coached the Chiefs to seven playoff appearances, one season with the Redskins and five years in San Diego. He last coached professional football in 2006 when he went 14-2 with LaDainian Tomnlinson and the Chargers before being fired following an early playoff exit.

Schottenheimer concluded his coaching career with a .613 winning percentage and 5-13 record in the postseason. No Browns coach has posted an overall winning record since his departure in 1988.

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