The sudden death of John Coughlin, the brother of New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin, was tragic enough without the benefit of specifics that emerged Wednesday.
But now details are starting to emerge concerning exactly how the beloved Meadowlands Racetrack horse trainer passed, and you can’t help but want to cry harder for everyone who knew and loved him.
In a moving piece at NJ.com, Steve Politi describes how John Coughlin was on the Giants sideline, watching his older brother coach in the team’s loss to the Denver Broncos. After the game, he stopped for a couple beers at Redd’s, a bar just outside the MetLife Stadium grounds.
Here’s more, from Politi:
He figured he would play it safe and take a cab to his Hackensack apartment. "I expected him to walk in the door any second," his longtime companion Suzanne Malloy said Wednesday, and when he never did, she called his cell phone.
"You better get down here!" an unfamiliar voice said after answering the phone. It was the panicked cab driver. John Coughlin had tripped and hit his head on the ground after paying his fare, and was bleeding badly.
He was already on the stretcher when Malloy got outside, about to be loaded into the ambulance. The head injury, combined with his prescription blood thinners, had caused swelling in his brain.
On Monday morning, Tom Coughlin, 67, was notified of his 63-year-old brother’s condition, and on Monday night, John Coughlin died with his family by his side. Then on Wednesday, Coughlin was back to work, coaching his team.
He’ll coach against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and then on Tuesday, he’ll bury his brother in Waterloo, N.Y.
According to Politi, Coughlin addressed his brother’s death with the team, telling them, "that time on this earth is precious and don’t allow yourself to think otherwise," and then, according to Giants captain Justin Tuck, "he went right into the gameplan."
It’s not really for me to say whether Tom Coughlin should or shouldn’t be coaching this weekend so soon after the shocking death of his only brother. Everyone grieves differently, and clearly this is what he feels is best for him.
But what I can say is that Coughlin, as tough as he is on the outside, is the most identifiable member of a family that needs some support right now. So whether it’s through prayer or some other means, it probably wouldn’t hurt to send some his way.