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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins.
First of all, let me say that's it's always great to hear what Joe Gibbs is thinking straight from his mouth. If he were to hold a press conference every single day, I would be a captive audience.
Still, his press conference on Monday was unnecessary for readers of this blog, at least when it came to the subject that drew the most headlines and apparently was the reason that Gibbs called the presser. Last week, many media outlets ran with a comment that Gibbs made during an event for his NASCAR team in which he said that his time in football would be "short" and his commitment to racing was lifelong. Headlines such as "Gibbs Expects Short NFL Stay, Long Cup Ride" led stories that highlited his quote that his NFL time could turn out to be "very short". Near panic set in among Redskins fans everywhere.
Here, (http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/flash-gibbs-will-coach-at-least-4-more.html) all it took was reading the excerpts of what he said to realize that he was still committed to finishing out his contract.
Today, Gibbs confirmed that blog entry. From The Washington Post:
Most people sign a three-year contract; I signed a five-year contract. My commitment with the Redskins is I want to do every single thing I can to restore the Redskins to winning football games. I'd say that my commitment is a minimum of five years. . .Let's see, he's coached one, his contract is for five, he says he'll coach at least five, yup, that's at least four more years. Again, he announced it last week but that's not what everyone heard. Well, some of us heard you, Joe.
Another subject that the blog was ahead of the curve on was the rumors of a trade for Randy Moss. While Gibbs didn't exactly say that he wouldn't trade a warm six pack for Moss (http://redskinsblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/more-on-moss-to-skins-talk.html), as was said here, he did say this:
He's a heck of a player, but I think in our case, it's not something we would be interested in.This despite the fact that the Redskins are looking to upgrade the WR spot. Said Gibbs:
We're looking for somebody who is talented, who fits in with us and who we feel we can build around. That's a high priority for us.That could mean that Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams will be tabbed with the team's first-round selection in April's draft.
One other topic discussed was Fred Smoot's pending status as a unrestricted free agent. Said Gibbs:
Personally, I would hope that the guy gets all the money he can get. The problem is when you do that, it cost you players. . .If you spend more for one player than you feel like you should then it's going to cost you with the other core-group guys you are trying to sign.If he's not franchised, and Gibbs said that, "We haven't really talked about those issues yet," it appears that Smoot will hit the open market. Once that happens, the chances of him returning are lessened substantially.
It's still not impossible, though, for him to play for Washington in 2005. The team's strategy vis a vis Smoot is something like this: Say all the right things, make sure he knows he's wanted and needed. Conduct friendly negotiations, don't comment to or try to make a PR cast through the press. If on March 2, the first day of free agency, he is still unsigned ask that he give the team a chance to respond to an offer from another team before he accepts it. Should Smoot come back with anything less than a big-time cap busting deal, the Skins will study it, swallow hard, and match it.