Schottenheimer Press Conference

Marty Schottenheimer ended his one-year tenure with the Redskins with a 25-minute press conference in a room packed with approximately 55 people. Here's what the fired coach had to say:

I'd like to begin by thanking our coaching staff and our support staff. Their hard work and determination, with the support of their families, has been instrumental in the performance of our team, particularly over the last three quarters of the season. I want to cite one individual in particular, Russ Ball, with us in Kansas City and was involved with the administration side and did an outstanding job. He's a close confidante and friend of mine.

As I've said before our players are a great group of people. They deserve tremendous credit for their singleness of purpose, preparing every week with going out to play with one objective and that's to win. As we leave the Washington Redskins, they're a good team, a team that's poised to take a step and the opportunity is there for them to challenge for a division title.

Dan Snyder and I have agreed on many things. The issue we could not resolve, however, involved the process of selecting the players that would make up the Washington Redskins roster. I have great respect for the privilege of ownership. However the opportunity to determine the composition of the Washignton Redskins roster was the single most important element in my deicision to accept this position as head coach of the Redskins. Make no mistake about it, Dan Snyder and I shared the same purpose: to return the Washington Redskins to their position as a preeminent franchise in the National Football League. Our only difference was the means by which we would achieve it.

What works better, your way or his? Our way would have been the most successful way to do that. It was the cornerstone of my decision to come here that I would have the ability who would make up the roster of our team.

Did you ever give thought to giving up any of the power? No I did not. I did give some consideration to the matters that Dan and I discussed in a meeting a week ago relative to candidates for general manager. But I never gave consideration to that.

How surprised are you and do you want to coach again? I certainly want to coach again and hopeful that I'll be able to do so. We're disappointed. We had hoped to do better. But as I've said the privilege of ownership is a very very significant one. I can't take issue with the decision.

Do you feel it was unfair situation that not come back? I can't make that judgment. This is Dan Snyder's football team. When I arrived here I made it very, very clear that this is his team. When you go out and you acquire a professional sports franchise that means you're the boss.

First said you couldn't work for Dan. Now that this has happened, do you regret it? Not at all. Not at all. I had a great ride this year. As difficult as the 0-5 start was, maybe the fact that I couldn't ever imagine it would happen buffered it for me. But no. 20/20 hindsight, knowing how it unfolded, I would have been standing on that doorstep on January the [3rd of 2001].

What were some things you felt you had to do besides win when you came here to change the direction of the franchise? Obviously there were some issues relative to the roster. There were issues relative to salary cap. We attacked them all. I felt we did a pretty good job in that respect. We acquired some players who through the course of this season showed their value. But what we have here as I said before, Dan and I have different perspectives as to how you should manage the personnel side and the acquisition of players. Dan's the owner and that's the situation we're in right now.

What Dan tell you that happened that changed his mind? I would rather Dan have the opportunity to speak to anything he might feel in that regard.

When you look for another job, will you require total control again? Not necessarily, no. I don't have to have absolute control.

But you needed it here? (Shakes his head yes)

Did you feel if accepted change, that would have backed you down a bit? No. I'm viewed by many as stubborn, but I don't think I'm stupid. If there had been a means by which we could have reached an understanding on this thing, I would have welcomed the opportunity to continue as head coach of the Redskins. I have a great affection for the players on this team. The team with a change here or there has an opportunity to compete and fulfill the goals and objectives that we had as we begin this year.

Did you ever feel humiliated with talk of Spurrier entering the final game? No. Never. I watched some of the things relative to Tony Dungy and in this business there's two roads and the only road I know is the high road.

In the end are you surprised this happened? Disappointed.

Had you relinquished that part of the job and knowing Spurrier was available, do you think this would have happened if you had come to a compromise? I don't want to speculate on that. You need to ask Dan that.

You have a home in Charlotte and a job is open there. Does that appeal to you?

I'm interested in continuing to coach. You're away from anything for a couple of years, you think that you're still capable and you think that you're still capable, but having been away for a couple years you're not sure. Having been back for a year . . . I can do it.''

Which player moves were the ones that impacted this action? I don't know that you could say that there were any that were key. And I don't regret anything that has taken place this entire season other than the fact that we didn't win the championship.

Did you ever get a feeling this season that this might happen? People that know me know that when I'm involved in what I do there's a singleness of purpose for me and I do not get distracted by things outside of what we're trying to do and things I have no control over. That's misspent energy.

Did you involve Dan enough in decisions that went on? Dan and I had discussions on all the moves that were made, from the time I got here up until the other day, so even as recently as a couple of the players we were adding as free agent futures. I made every attempt to try to continue to maintain that dialogue, but I was very comfortable with that relationship.

Would you coach in college? No.

Can Dan's style of ownership win in this league? Dan Snyder can win in this league, I believe he can.

Does anything in your agreement speak to your liberty to speak about your experience? No.

Can you go to another team without compensation on their end? Yes.

Were the assistants released? No judgment has been made on them relative to this time.

Should a coach who wins eight of his last 11 games come back for another season?

It depends on the other circumstances. The important thing to consider is this: Dan Snyder owns the Washington Redskins. He made a significant commitment to this football team, this organization and to this community and he is entitled to make whatever decision he chooses.

If down the road another coach or GM asks your advice on this job, what would you say? I would say they should sit down and talk with Dan Snyder. Would you have any advice for them? I enjoyed the time I was here.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment here, as a coach or director of football operations? I think we did well in both regards, with respect to the football team our ability as a staff and the players' to continue to focus when it appeared that things were dark and dismal, I was particularly proud of the fact that we could win five after losing five in a row and maybe even more significant than that would be that in two meaningless games in terms of playoff implications our football team showed their commitment to our program and our purpose and that is you work hard and you prepare and that's what our team learned over the course of training camp. They ultimately learned how to win.

Did you feel this was turned around, could you see it developing to the point where it would be at a Super Bowl level? I have no doubt that it would have.

When you first talked to Dan, did he have an understanding to the degree to which top NFL coaches long have wanted to control the entire operation? I don't know. I know that he was comfortable with our agreement.

Have you been in contact with any other teams yet? No.

What has it been like this past week, surrounded by cameras, etc. Certainly I assume you've never been through something like that before? Well, only the fact that this was prolonged a bit because of our inability to resolve the issues, quite honestly I was concerned someone would get hurt out there, backing up falling over a curb. We almost lost one coming in here. I think I manage situations like this reasonably well. That's kind of my nature.

Any feelings about if this is your last NFL coaching job? I don't have any way to look that far down the road. I don't want to speculate on whether or not I may or may not get a job. Those comments are best made once you're in that situation. I'm still hopeful we have a ways to go, then when it's clearly established that I won't coach anymore then I'll have something to address.

The Redskins will have their fourth head coach over 20 games. For the players, what does that mean? I think stability enhances your ability to be successful. Out of the six teams that had new coaches I think Herman was able to win at 10-6 and we were at 8-8. It's hard to turn a program around in one year. I appreciate the opportunity that Dan gave me and I recognize the fact that he feels differently now than he did a year ago.

Why do you feel that this was the best way to run things here? My sense is based on the fact that I believe the head coach, the coaching staff, the personnel staff, everybody needs to work together to be on the same page. What that enables you do to is in the exchange of information and in the process of the decision making, if you have everybody on the same page you have a better chance of being successful. That doesn't mean rubber stamp. That means hey, you sit down you agree, you disagree. You argue, you debate and you come up with the direction you want to go. There are certain aspects and elements that every football coach would like to have in the players that are part of the team. Therein lies the most important factor from a coach's perspective. You're looking for a certain type of individual.

You seem at peace and calm with this decision, could you tell us when it was evident to you that this would end with a parting? Last evening. Well, I'll say it once again. I have for many years understood that the owner is the owner and this can occur at any point in time in this business. Again I'm disappointed that we didn't get the opportunity to finish, but I understand where Dan is coming from and I respect that.

Is it a shame that John Schneider did not get a chance to show what he can do as a personnel director? John did a very very good job in the brief opportunity he had. He was instrumental in adding Ki-Jana Carter to the roster. I debated this with him. And he was insistent. He had information regarding a workout that had taken place in Miami. He had produced some good numbers and John pursued me all over the place. Ultimately he prevailed. I don't have all the answers. I've never purported to have all the answers. That's why you incorporate everybody's input and then someone has to make a decision.

Over the last week, is your pain more for your staff than yourself? It's very difficult. We have a number of people that were brought in. We were hopeful that we would have the opportunity to go on, but everyone in our business recognizes that the one constant was change. They're very capable people and will have the opportunity, quite possibly to stay with the Redskins.

Has Spurrier contacted you in the last couple of days? He's a friend of mine. He and Geri are friend's of mine and he gave Brian a great opportunity at Florida. I would imagine he'll come in here with the quality of the players that are here right now, he has a chance to be successful right now.

What would you suggest to Steve as to how to deal with this situation? I don't want to be presumptous and make any suggestions to Steve in that regard. He's a very good coach. I've seen his teams perform live. He doesn't need my advice.

Do you believe your style of play was a factor? I don't think that was a factor at all. Had we been able to resolve the matter of the personnel thing, I'd probably still be the coach of the Redskins.

Were you asked to make changes to your staff? We never got to that point.


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