Gbaja-Biamila On Kingsbury: Players Don't Want Stiff Coaches

Kliff Kingsbury was quite the social butterfly this past weekend. Akbar Gbaja-Biamila's take: Good

The DA Show
May 06, 2019 - 11:44 am
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Kliff Kingsbury had quite a weekend. He hung with Tom Brady and Baker Mayfield at the Kentucky Derby and then flew to Las Vegas for the Canelo-Jacobs fight. Kingsbury, 39, did all that just days before his first rookie minicamp.

Any chance he’s not taking this head-coaching gig as seriously as he should? 

Former NFL player and current American Ninja Warriors co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila says no.

“I’m actually glad that he’s doing that,” Gbaja-Biamila said on The DA Show. “I think they need to stop making coaches so stiff. The players today don’t relate to that. ‘I’m the head coach, and I can’t do anything. I have to just be in the building.’ No. Do you know why McVay is so successful? Because people see him as real. The athletes today are different than the athletes of yesterday. In the media, they’re just a bunch of old dudes sitting there wishing that things were done like it was in the old days. The players today, they want that realness.”

Gbaja-Biamila, 40, said Kingsbury is providing exactly that, which makes him even more of a players' coach.

“A players’ coach back in the day used to mean the coach was kind of easygoing and he gave the players a break,” said Gbaja-Biamila, who played for the Raiders, Chargers and Dolphins in the mid-2000s. “The players’ coach in today’s time means something totally different. It means these guys can relate to the players. They’re not looking down on the players. They’re still the authority figure; they’re still the mentors; they’re still the coaches. But they’re not looking down on them. They’re helping them in their system and they’ve become more empathetic. I think Kliff doing that just allows him to be seen by his players as like, ‘Oh, man, he understands me.’ Because guess what? That’s where the players are going, too.”

Gbaja-Biamila, in fact, remembers going to the Derby and hanging with Brady, Michael Jordan, and others.

“I felt like I was out of place,” he said, “but that’s a part of the experience. When other players see that – like, ‘Oh, man, there’s coach!’ – it just gives you a different feel. It’s different. I can’t even explain it, but as a player, you kind of respect it – like, ‘Oh, man, he’s not a stiffy.’”