With the news breaking Sunday night that longtime New York Giants guard Chris Snee was planning to announce his retirement, one angle that came to mind was the potential impact this could have on Giants coach Tom Coughlin.
Snee is Coughlin's son-in-law -- married to Coughlin's daughter and the father of three of Coughlin's grandsons, who are often there to greet Coughlin in the locker room after games. The family is a very close one, and as driven and intense as Coughlin is as the Giants' coach, he's a man who values time with his family a great deal. Having Snee on the Giants for the past 10 years has delivered a tangible benefit to Coughlin, providing an easy means of maintaining a unique form of work-life balance. Not having Snee on the team -- or at least in the building for injury rehab, as he was last year -- is going to feel odd.
For the record, I believe Coughlin when he says he doesn't think about retiring. People outside the building talk about it because he's the oldest coach in the league (turning 68 next month), but Coughlin always says he doesn't feel old and has nothing in particular he's looking to do in retirement. He loves coaching and remains as good a coach as the NFL has. Other than the external perceptions of others, there's really no basis for a discussion about his retirement. My opinion is there's no real reason to think Coughlin will or should give this up any time soon.
But as we look big-picture, I think it's worth considering how the loss of Snee from the roster could affect the way Coughlin looks at his job. Something's going to be different for Coughlin this year. Snee has been on every Giants team he's coached. Not having him and his family around will have an effect that goes beyond that of any other player's departure. I'm confident it won't affect the way Coughlin approaches his work and coaches the team, because he's obviously a high-level professional with a rare ability to maintain focus and priorities. I'm just saying it's not out of the question that this particular move could affect the way Coughlin feels about the job in the big picture, and could factor into decisions he makes about it down the road.