Trent Dilfer addresses video of him shoving, screaming at his HS player: 'I should have been a better leader'

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Former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, in his third season as a high school football coach, spread through social media for the wrong reasons over the weekend. Now he's apologizing and clarifying a video that shows him shoving a player down the sidelines while screaming at him. 

The footage is from Lipscomb Academy's 62-7 win at home in Nashville on Friday night during Week 2 of the Tennessee high school football season. Dilfer, who was hired in January of 2019, is seen grabbing the player inside the shoulder pads and steering him away from the team on the sideline as he yells, "sit down now." 

The player is tight end Beau Dawson, the son of former NFL kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson is the school's special teams coordinator and played with Dilfer on the 2005 Cleveland Browns team. 

Some were OK with the video, appearing to speculate or assume the player wasn't taking direction from the coaching squad. Most criticized it throughout the weekend for grabbing a player in such a way and for singling him out. It was also at their home field, so scores of Lipscomb fans, teachers, administrators, athletic department personnel and board of education members saw first-hand what transpired. 

The 13-year NFL veteran addressed it in a statement on the school's website and social pages, taking "full responsibility" and praising Beau as one of Lipscomb's "finest student-athletes." He said that while Beau has been pinned the "culprit" of the video, "I should have been a better leader and shown greater wisdom and discernment in how I handled this incident." 

The full statement: 

“I want to address the incident on our sideline during Friday night’s game versus Independence that has drawn a lot of attention. First and foremost, I take full responsibility as the head coach and leader of our team for not deescalating an emotional situation with one of our players, Beau Dawson. Beau is one of our finest student-athletes and embodies all the characteristics we are looking for in our Mustang players. Beau plays the game with the right kind of passion and is an inspiration to our other players. During a moment of frustration in an attempt to get our team to play with more discipline, I unfairly singled Beau out. Somehow Beau Dawson has been portrayed publicly as the culprit in this situation, when in reality I should have been a better leader and shown greater wisdom and discernment in how I handled this incident. Overall, I could not be more proud of Beau and the rest of our team for how they handle the emotional nature of each game they compete in.”

Dilfer, 49, grew up the son of a football coach and went on to win Super Bowl XXXV as the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens. He was a one-time Pro Bowl selection and threw for 20,518 career yards, 113 touchdowns and 129 interceptions before retiring following the 2007 season.

He became a broadcaster, first with the NFL Network as a guest in 2006 and two years later with ESPN. He was laid off in 2017 and in January of 2019, Lipscomb hired him as head coach of the varsity team. Dilfer said he didn't do it "for a career move. This is a calling," per the Tennessean.

Lipscomb Academy is a private Christian institution with children from ages 2 to 12th grade. The football team is described as a "human development program masked as a football team" and strives to develop good leaders and people. 

Trent Dilfer.
Head coach Trent Dilfer of Lipscomb Academy addressed an incident that occured Friday and took social media by storm. (Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
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