suntimes
COARSE 
Weather Updates

Bears’ DeCamillis facing familiar faces

Updated: January 7, 2014 6:44AM



Special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis spent Wednesday night talking about the Bears’ missed field goal with his father-in-law.

“He said, ‘Once you make a decision, you stick with it,’” DeCamillis said Thursday. “And that’s what we did.”

His father-in-law spoke from experience: Dan Reeves won more than 200 games in 23 seasons as an NFL coach.

After Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal Sunday on second down against the Vikings, DeCamillis said that “may be different than how we play it next time,” depending on the situation and opponent.

The opponent Monday night will be familiar: The Cowboys employed DeCamillis for four years before the Bears hired him this offseason.

“I’m not going to lie to you and say, like [Bears defensive tackle and former Cowboy Jeremiah] Ratliff, that it’s like any other game,” he said. “But anytime you leave a place, you always have a little bit more juice going back against them.”

He said it was unbelievable to work for both teams.

“It’s a little bit more like Hollywood [in Dallas], and here it’s a little bit more, probably, a little tamer,” he said. “But they’re both great organizations, and both have had a lot of storied tradition and a lot of championships.”

The Cowboys job changed DeCamillis’ life.

On May 2, 2009, a windstorm collapsed the team’s practice ­bubble. He was pinned facedown in water but escaped.

He broke four vertebrae and had surgery on his lower cervical and upper thoracic spine. He has two titanium rods and 10 screws in his neck and back.

He could’ve been paralyzed. Or died.

DeCamillis still doesn’t sleep well. He has to turn his shoulders because he can’t turn his head.

“Everything is an opportunity for you,” he said. “You learn to deal with adversity all the time.

“We ask the players to deal with adversity. I had some adverse times.

“Hopefully I’ve come out on the other side of it and will keep going from there.”

He never complained, said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, a coordinator then.

“Clearly, he was in pain and ­going through a lot of things physically,” he said. “He just came to work and kept doing his job.

“That really said a lot about him and how he handled that — just the kind of toughness he has as a person and the kind of demeanor he had, and brought, every day.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.