Edwards—who played in the NFL for 10 years before entering the coaching ranks—learned a lesson years back, when he was cut from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Eagles coach Dick Vermeil had left the team, and the new head coach was calling for Edwards and his playbook (the usual drill when a player was to be cut).
When Edwards handed over the playbook, the coach never even looked at him—never looked him in the eye— and never thanked Edwards for the nine years he played for the Eagles.
That hurt Edwards, and it took a long time for him to get over it.
Now, when Edwards has to cut somebody, he always looks the player straight in the eye, explains his decision and points out the other opportunities that lie ahead, both inside and outside football. He thanks the player, wishes him well and invites him to call if he ever needs help.
It’s still difficult for Edwards. Firing someone never becomes routine. But the least you can do is give it to him or her straight.
— Adapted from It’s the Will, Not the Skill, Jim Tunney, Executive Books.