In the midst of an NFL playing career in the late 1990s, Tim Hauck didn't waste time thinking about life after football. Carving out a path in coaching was something he'd considered, but back then, he was not focused on what the future would hold. It was all about the present.
As fate would have it though, Hauck now finds himself back in Philadelphia as the Eagles' safeties coach 17 years after he first joined the organization as a free agent. He's thrilled to once again call this city home.
"The first day I got back here and walked back in this building, it just put a smile on my face," Hauck says. "It brought back a lot of memories. A lot of my teammates I played with are still in the area. It's been nice to see them."
During his time as an NFL player, Hauck spent four seasons in Philadelphia. Those years were arguably some of the best and most productive of his career.
After entering the league as a rookie free agent with New England in 1990, he made stops in Green Bay, Denver, Seattle and Indianapolis before finally signing with the Eagles in 1999. That season he started alongside Brian Dawkins and registered a career-high 122 tackles, his first career interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Throughout his time in Philadelphia, Hauck was also a special teams standout and an important part of the organization.
Following his final year in the NFL in 2002, the last few months of which were played with San Francisco, Hauck finally took the time to think about his post-playing career. After dedicating so much time to the game of football as a player, did he really want to make the sacrifices necessary to succeed as a coach?
"My father (Bob) was a coach for 30 years. My uncle (Tom) was a coach for 30 years. My brother's (Bobby) a coach. It kind of runs in the family," Hauck says. "But, after 13 years in the NFL, I was kind of like, 'I've had enough of it.'"
Two years after his retirement though, Hauck made the decision to join his brother, who was the head coach at Montana, as a safeties coach. However, having been a player, Hauck understood the business side of the game. Staying in one place for long is a rarity in the world of football, especially in coaching. He knew it was only a matter of time before he'd be moving again.
Following the 2007 season, after four years at Montana, a new opportunity came. Hauck received an offer to coach at UCLA and prepared to head out to California.
"I was very happy coaching at the University of Montana," Hauck says. "I got a call from UCLA to coach there. It was kind of funny, talking about moving, one year after I went to UCLA the Tennessee Titans called and I said yes. At that point, I loved it. I realized that I liked being back in the NFL."
In addition to his two years with the Titans, Hauck had a short stint with the Browns in 2012 before heading back to the college ranks to reunite with his brother, this time at UNLV.
After a season away from coaching in 2015, his former teammate Doug Pederson gave him the chance to return to the NFL and to Philadelphia. Hauck jumped at the offer.
"When Doug called and gave me the opportunity to come to Philadelphia, I was ecstatic," he says. "Obviously, Doug and I grew up under Andy Reid's tutelage in some sense, Doug more so on the coaching side of it. It's almost like things haven't changed a whole bunch. I think it's going to be a good thing for the organization and the Eagles."
Officially added to the team's staff on January 20, Hauck immediately got to work.
"We're blessed here. Our first two guys in Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are smart players, very athletic and they understand football, which makes it really easy on me," Hauck says. "Jenkins, he's a Pro Bowl guy. He's got the experience. Good athlete. He's smart, loves the game, competitive. That makes him a great player. Rodney McLeod is a guy who flies around. He plays with a lot of intensity, a lot of heart. He's another guy who really understands football. It's a win-win with those two in the game."
But, Hauck's role is more than just serving as a coach to Jenkins, McLeod and all of the team's current safeties. Having played the position in Philadelphia himself, Hauck knows what it takes to compete in this city. He understands the expectations and strives to be someone his guys can come to for advice.
When his players are going through the highs and the lows the NFL brings, Hauck has his own stories to share because he's already experienced it.
"I think just in general, playing and dealing with the players helps because whatever they're going through, I've probably been through with the career I've had," Hauck says. "The City of Philadelphia is very unique. They love the Eagles, but the fans can be hard on them. I can relate with the players and anything they're going through with the fan base and so forth. I can say, 'Hey, they love you. Go out and play hard and do the right things and you'll be just fine.'" While playing and coaching in Philadelphia certainly isn't easy, Hauck says he couldn't be happier to once again be part of this organization.