By Jack Brennan
It's right there in black-and-white on the coaching staff's offseason schedule:
May 29 to June 9: Vacation.
July 3 to July 14: Vacation.
But the reality for the Bengals coaching staff is that vacations are easier to schedule than to fully enjoy. Though the coaches all try to get away from the job as best they can, the workaholic nature of their profession can make that difficult.
"I guess coaching is kind of like a disease or an addiction," says defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. "The first few days, I still wake up at 5 and feel like I should be going in. The last few days, I start dreaming football again. You dream you're at training camp, and you're going to be late because you forgot to do this or do that. It's a feeling of there never being enough time."
When Krumrie can relax, it's on his sprawling country homestead in Milford.
"I've got my quarter-horses there, and my motorcycles, and that's really being on vacation to me, just having the chance to enjoy all that. I don't take many out-of-town trips, and I won't be taking one this year."
All the Bengals' coaches said it's tough to completely get away from the game.
"But I don't know if we're all that different from a lot of other people," said defensive backs coach Ray Horton. "You hear a lot of things about business people taking a laptop on vacation. You make yourself get away for periods of time, but it's always going to be in the back of your mind.
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With children ages 12 and 8, Horton does realize the need for time to get away with the family. But he's not into planning trips.
"I just let my wife do it," he says. "I ask her where we're going, she tells me, and we all go and have a great time. I don't really care where we go."
Here's a roundup of the rest of the Bengals' defensive and special teams coaches, on their plans for and philosophies about vacation. Bengals.com will follow tomorrow with the thoughts and plans of the remainder of the coaching staff:
Dick LeBeau: "It was easier for me to use vacation as a real getaway when my son (Brandon) was younger," said the Bengals assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. "We planned trips around him and what he wanted to do. But he's a senior in college now, so he mostly wants to go off by himself.
"So I won't go on any kind of major trip. But I do enjoy golf very much, and on vacation time you can tinker with clubs and do other stuff you don't have time to do when you're on a full-time working schedule. I also like to read, and it's very difficult to read consistently during the football season. Those are my two favorite things."
LeBeau admits he likes a couple of mornings "just to kick back and take it easy." But he also feels the call of "getting to those jobs that pile up on you."
"They're always going to pile up on you more than you can handle," LeBeau says, "but you wind up feeling good about the ones you do get accomplished."
Mark Duffner: The Bengals linebacker coach is an engaging guy with a well-rounded personality. But on this issue, he's in the hard-core football camp.
Duffner's main activity during the first vacation period? It was, uhhhh, coaching football.
"I had four rookie players in town," he explains. "I figured it was to everyone's benefit if I spent some time with them."
Duffner will get away for a week in July to a family reunion in Northern Virginia, but adds, "a week is about all I can do without getting anxious about getting going on something."
For the rest of his vacation time, Duffner might be found in his office.
"Vacation is a good time to spend time studying a specific offense or specific defense," he says. "You can do it and not have it be a hindrance to anyone else's schedule."
Like we said, hard core.
Louie Cioffi: The Bengals' youngest coach at age 26, Cioffi is also the only one who's not married. But that's about to end.
The Bengals' defensive staff assistant will tie the knot on Saturday, June 24, the day after the end of the team's voluntary workout sessions. He'll marry the former Cindy Bath at St. Monica-St. George Church in Clifton.
Cindy is from Cincinnati. Louie's from New York and has a lot of family coming in. With such big plans afoot, is he catching any heat for being involved in a minicamp until the day before the wedding?
"I'm sure I am," he said with a laugh, "but it's all happening behind my back. Hey, this is the life of a coach."
Cioffi will, however, have a full getaway after the wedding, heading to Disney World and later on a cruise for his honeymoon.
Al Roberts: Cincinnati's special teams coach comes in to his office quite often during vacation.
"I love what I do," Roberts says, "and it's a pleasure for me to be down here. When it's vacation time, I'll come down to get a workout, spend some time with the players who are around."
But Roberts and wife Arvella also block out some time to get away.
"Our idea is to take a cruise every year, but it works out to about every other year," Roberts says. "This year, we're going. We're flying to San Juan and heading south from there for eight days. We'll end up in Caracas."