Before Kevin Carberry, the Redskins' new assistant offensive line coach, began his upward coaching climb from high school to the NFL, he began, like many coaches, as a player.
Carberry was a four-year letterman at Ohio University as a defensive end, earning All-MAC honors as a senior team captain. He went undrafted but attended training camp with the Browns in 2005, later latching onto the Lions' practice squad, and spent August with the Panthers a year later.
He couldn't stay on, however, so he bolted to play for the Berlin Thunder in 2006 with NFL Europe and then came back to the U.S. to join the Arena Football League. That's where, in 2008, he joined the Philadelphia Soul and became a champion.
OK, so the Arena Football League isn't a huge deal in the broad scope of things, but not many gentlemen can say they've been part of a championship team.
Carberry, as a defensive end for the Soul, played a strong part in Philadelphia's 59-56 nail-biting victory over the San Jose Sabercats in ArenaBowl XXII in New Orleans. Carberry (No. 95 in the photo above) recorded a fumble recovery as well as a two-point safety, helping the team finish with 16-3 record to capture its first title.
"It was a great experience and we were treated very well in New Orleans," Carberry told Saint Ignatius Magazine. "We had a lot of free time to see the city, which was nice. My dad, my brothers, my uncle and a cousin came to support me and having all of them there was really special."
If you're unfamiliar with the magazine, and wondering why he was quoted in it, look no further than the fact that while he was a member of said Area League football team, he also was the defensive coordinator and defensive line/linebackers coach at Saint Ignatius Prep in Chicago, Ill.
aTeaching the game and playing the game at the same time is no easy feat.
As part of that championship run, Carberry, in addition to getting to know Soul owners Ron Jaworski and Craig Spencer, had the opportunity to spend time with Jon Bon Jovi, a part-time owner of the team, too.
"He's a really nice guy … really down to earth. We gave him our trophy from the conference championship, and just before the bowl game, he had a concert in Madison Square Garden and brought the whole team in by bus for the show. We had dinner with him, too," Carberry said. "Then, after the bowl game he rented a place in New Orleans and threw a big party for all of us and our families and friends. It was awesome."
Though, Carberry admitted those things aren't what he'll remember most about his playing days.
"Some of our best times were when we just hung out during the week," Carberry added. "Playing cards and getting to know each other."
Which, reminds me of something.