Cardinals release Strength coach John Lott
Lott had been the Cardinals’ strength and conditioning coach since 2007.
The move comes right after the NFL Scouting Combine, where Lott was in his usual role this year as the spotter on the bench press. Lott has been tied to the event for a long time. He attended the combine for 16 consecutive years before missing it last February.
There had been indications Lott’s tenure in Arizona could be nearing an end. After Cardinals coach Bruce Arians took over from his predecessor last January, he distributed T-shirts to players and coaches mainly for offseason condition, with the words “Trust, Loyalty, Respect” printed on the back. Everyone wore them – except Lott, who still wore his T-shirt from the Whisenhunt era, with the phrase "Get your mind right" printed on the back. This hinted at a possible disconnect between the two sides – even if Lott had been one of the few personnel from the previous coaching staff, whose tenure in Arizona was prolonged after being retained by Arians.
There also seemed to be a difference between their coaching philosophies on a few things. Under Whisenhunt, Lott used to lead organized stretching before practice. But Arians considered it a waste of time and expected his players to take care of pre-practice warm-ups on their own.
In Arians’ coaching staff, Lott also had a lesser role in training and molding young players according to the team’s training program. It’s not hard to see that Arians probably wants to bring in his own guy as part of his desire to lead the team in a different direction with a different philosophy.
“Coach Arians let John know this morning that he’s making a change and going in a different direction in that role,” the Cardinals said in a statement on Friday. “Everyone on the team is certainly grateful to John for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best. The search for a replacement is underway.”
The Cardinals did however retain assistant strength and conditioning coach Pete Alosi, who will likely have a bigger role with the team until Arians brings in Lott's replacement. Hopefully, Arians will act quickly with free agency kicking off on March 11 and the rest of the busy off season calendar also rapidly approaching.
Lott had two years remaining on his contract, which reportedly pays him $500,000 per year. The Cardinals could be obligated to pay the rest of Lott’s salary should he not be signed by some other team.
However, there is speculation that Lott will land in Tennessee, where Whisenhunt ended up as head coach after his release by the Cardinals. The Titans, currently have Steve Watterson as strength and conditioning coach. Watterson has been manning the position for the past 28 years.