Many coaches talk about going the extra mile for their players, but Jeff Reinebold went the extra 2,122 miles. Until recently, Reinebold was the defensive coordinator for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats; he was fired Aug. 7 following an 0-6 start. Veteran Ticats’ defensive end John Chick was traded to the Edmonton Eskimos Aug. 21 and was looking for a way to make it easier for his wife and eight kids travel across the country, so he called Reinebold to see if he knew anyone in Hamilton who might be able to help. Reinebold then offered to transport the Chicks’ belongings himself, as Dan Ralph of The Canadian Press writes:
When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats dealt defensive lineman John Chick to the Edmonton Eskimos on Aug. 20, Reinebold offered to drive the family’s belongings to Alberta. Chick’s wife, Catherine, was originally considering to make the trip with the couple’s eight children in tow.
“Coaches sometimes take the easy way out, we say players must be disciplined but we scream at the officials and get 15-yard penalties,” Reinebold said. “When we (Ticats) got to training camp we talked about the brotherhood, that we have to take care of each other and here was an opportunity for me to not just talk about it, but live it.
“You’re given opportunities in life to really demonstrate if you’re a guy who just talks about it or who’s about it. I think it was a real blessing for me to get that chance.”
…”Getting fired, getting traded, getting released, it’s all part of the business and what we sign up for,” Reinebold said. “But the people who don’t sign up for that are wives and kids.
“I went to help Catherine pack and she said she was going to drive with eight kids. John called me a day later and asked if I knew anyone who might be able to help because he didn’t want Catherine to drive. I couldn’t find anybody so I called John back and said I’d do it … if you’re in a position and have the ability to help then I think you have a responsibility to.”
Reinebold posted numerous photos and videos during the trip (a 32-hour, 3,415-kilometer or 2,122-mile drive) on Twitter. Here are some of them:
"CHICKSPEDITION" ROLLS ACROSS THE NORTH DAKOTA PRAIRIES HOME OF EAGLE QB CARSON WENTZ pic.twitter.com/pu6BT4n5V9
— Jeff Reinebold (@Jeff_Reinebold) September 5, 2017
"CHICKSPEDITION" DAY FOUR THE FINAL PUSH – HAD TO STOP IN REGINA FOR A CUP OF STRONG JOE AT ATLANTIS COFFEE pic.twitter.com/gkfRjnxBRV
— Jeff Reinebold (@Jeff_Reinebold) September 6, 2017
— Jeff Reinebold (@Jeff_Reinebold) September 7, 2017
That’s pretty amazing, but it fits in with Reinebold’s overall philosophy of giving back through football. In January, he bought 104 tickets to the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii and donated a pair to each of 52 high schools there as part of his Ohana Project, inspired by the “Heart of a Warrior” scholarship he helped establish together with and in honor of his former Hawaii coaching colleague Brian Kajiyama. Kajiyama, now an instructor in the University of Hawaii’s Department of Special Education, was a graduate assistant with Hawaii football team in 2006 and 2007 while Reinebold was the DL coach there, and he’s the only person with cerebral palsy to ever have an on-field role in Division I FBS football. Reinebold remains heavily involved with those and other charity projects in Hawaii.
Reinebold’s had a remarkable coaching career, working in the NCAA everywhere from Dartmouth to Montana to New Mexico, Hawaii, and SMU, in the CFL with B.C., Las Vegas, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Hamilton, and in NFL Europe with the Rhein Fire. He’s also been a NFL analyst for Britain’s Sky Sports for the past few years, and is continuing that work this year, and he regularly engages with NFL, CFL and NCAA football fans on Twitter. But it’s particularly cool that he took the time to help out one of his former players this way.