Kevin Sheedy has backed James Hird to make a move back into the AFL coaches box.
The Essendon great believes Hird deserves a second chance to resume his coaching career after he resigned from Essendon nearly four years ago over the club’s infamous supplements saga.
The Herald Sun reports that Hird has recently told friends that he would consider a return to the game if the right opportunity arose, after declining a part-time Melbourne-based scouting role at Fremantle last year.
Sheedy believes the champion midfielder shouldn’t be punished any longer.
“I would stake everything I had that James Hird will be a great coach, if he is ever given the chance,” Sheedy told the Herald Sun.
“Please don’t underestimate the young man who has a fierce amount of pride and would have been hurt (by the scandal) like anyone else would have been hurt.
“And I hate to say it again, but there has never been a positive drugs test.
“I’m not blaming anyone, but there is no way known he would have wished for what happened.
“And he has said sorry. How many times do you have to say sorry?
“I know people will jump at shadows because of what happened and that’s unfortunate.
“But he is one of the most intelligent football thinkers I’ve met. I think he is prime, ready to coach at an AFL club (again).”
And Sheedy isn’t the only one who feels Hird deserves an opportunity.
Three-time premiership Bomber Tim Watson, whose son Jobe was banned for twelve months and stripped of a Brownlow Medal because of the supplements saga under Hird, said that he has no issue with the ex-coach returning to the AFL.
“We all know what he was associated with, that’s been well-documented and played out over a long, long period of time and it dragged the game into a state of disrepute and mess. We all understand that,” Watson told SEN.
“But the fact that he’s been out of the game, he’s said his apologies, he wasn’t penalised really in any way but he was out of the game for a period of time, so if he wants to come back, I don’t see why he shouldn’t come back.
“He’s had that time as a senior coach, so he’s had that experience. He’s had the other experiences that he got dragged into and then he’s had to look his way through that and he’s been to ground zero as a human being.”
Sheedy told the Herald Sun that he and Hird met for lunch last week.
“We discuss football,” Sheedy said.
“I’ve got no doubt if he had his head wrapped around a good club, and a good club which needed help, I would back him in.
“I think if a (Stephen) Dank walked into the club now, he would know what to do.”