Two shocking revelations from ESPN's profile of Hans Backe posted this morning.
In the meantime, he'll enjoy the sun, coffee and snus. He'll oversee his stable of 18 race horses in Kentucky, his beloved trotters. He'll continue to suffer along with the Cincinnati Bengals, as he has for 22 years. He'll watch hockey. He'll play golf. He'll keep going to indie rock concerts; he has tickets to go see The Vaccines next month. He'll eat good food. He'll walk around New York City. If he finishes out the season, he'll equal Octavio Zambrano as the longest-serving coach of the New York franchise. If not, he'll find a new job like he always has
Race horses? Twenty-two years of Cincinnati Bengals fandom? Indie rock?
But the second might be even more shocking. He has the respect of his players, who describe him as "dedicated," "hungry," "awesome" and "supportive."
Jan Gunnar Solli:
"He's very dedicated. ... His hunger for winning games and the way he tries to prepare himself and also the way we do the breakdown on each opponent, he's definitely the most professional [coach] I've ever been involved with. His messages are very clear, but of course you always have your own options.
"For me personally, he's been awesome. ... As the season went along and I was called upon, he gave me confidence and pulled me aside and said, 'Hey, make your decisions and I'll support you.' As a player that's fantastic to hear -- that a coach has so much confidence in you. It really helped me come along."
"I don't think he changes [according to results]. ... He makes sure we keep a positive mindset. He's very calm and relaxed and makes sure we know that it's early in the season and that we're still trying to figure out some kinks."
Of course, no one wants to upset the guy who's holding your playing time in his hands, but Solli, Keel and McCarty's assessments seem legitimate. Keel's especially. The photo ESPN went with, Backe sitting in a bench with a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face is, apparently, not the Backe in the dressing room at Red Bull Arena. And this can only be a good thing heading forward for the squad.