Edgar Bennett is having the kind of month most of the rest of us could only dream of. In fact, he had a hard time describing January 2005 - a month that has seen him be elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and named the Packers' running backs coach in the span of a week.
"Words can not put it into how I'm really feeling," Bennett said Friday, shortly after his appointment to the Green Bay coaching staff was announced. "This entire January so far of '05 has been truly a blessing. I'm excited, I'm overwhelmed, but I'm just feeling extremely blessed to be in this position."
Bennett, who was elected to the team's Hall of Fame for his outstanding five-year playing career as a versatile runner and receiver out of the backfield for the Packers, will be taking on his first coaching job after serving as the team's director of player development since April of 2001.
While technically not a member of the coaching staff over that period, Bennett has been learning from the Packers' past two running backs coaches, Sylvester Croom and Johnny Roland. Bennett has been serving in sort of a "shadow" role of those two men both on the practice field and on game days.
He plans on incorporating his experience from his playing days and from the past few seasons on the other side of the football operation, into his coaching style.
"After playing the position, knowing Green Bay, (I will be) able to talk to the guys from experience as far as being out there on the field, but also have a good understanding from a coaching point of view as well," Bennett said. "So I think (my experience) can help. I had a great opportunity to learn from some of the best in Sylvester Croom and Johnny Roland, so I think it really is going to benefit me."
As far as coaching players who aren't much younger than he is, and in one case - Pro Bowl fullback William Henderson - one who used to block for him, Bennett feels he has earned the respect of the players he will be tutoring, just as they have earned his.
"I think the bottom line is respect," he said. "I respect those guys in that locker room and I believe they respect me as well. That's really what our relationship was built on. So when it comes down to making corrections and getting after guys, I think the mutual respect is there and I think they all know it's for the good of the team. So I don't foresee any kind of problem."
Head Coach Mike Sherman is also quite confident that Bennett is ready for the job and is excited to see him take over his new job.
"I'm excited about Edgar Bennett becoming our running backs coach," Sherman said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "Over the past few years in his role assisting with the backs, he has continually demonstrated the ability to be a successful coach in this league. Each year I gave him additional responsibility in his coaching duties and he performed very well.
"He's a natural for the position. His attention to detail and relationship with the players will serve him well - they trust him and his knowledge of the game."
While it will definitely be a new and different role for him, Bennett doesn't see his approach to this job being any different than the one he brought to his previous positions with the Packers.
"I've always tried to take the approach that I was willing to do whatever I needed to do to help the organization win football games, and I guess this is a situation now with Coach Roland leaving that my opportunity is now. I'm very thankful to Coach Sherman and the organization, Mr. Harlan, for giving me this chance."
Roland is leaving Green Bay to take a similar position with the New Orleans Saints. Bennett feels he's the right man to replace him and is ready to get to work.
"Pretty quick," Bennett replied when asked about the process that took him from his player development role to the coaching staff. "It was a situation when Johnny decided that he was going down to New Orleans for a great opportunity, Coach Sherman had confidence in me and I was ready and was excited.
"As far as my passion to be in this situation to coach those guys, I'm excited. I'm excited - I can't wait."