How the Redskins signed Gardener

Daryl Gardener had two choices: Denver or Washington. The money in Denver was excellent; the coach, Mike Shanahan, overwhelmed Gardener with his intense interest. So why did he choose Washington?

For starters, give owner Daniel Snyder an assist. We'll criticize him for things he does wrong--and this deal might eventually go South if Gardener isn't healthy or has a bad attitude. But, in this case, Snyder helped stoke the initial interest.

When Gardener visited Redskin Park last Thursday, he was admiring a motorcycle parked indoors. A man dressed in casual clothes appeared and the two chatted for a few minutes. Then Snyder introduced himself to Gardener.

''It gave Dan an opportunity to observe Daryl without Darly knowing who the owner was,'' Gardener's agent, Neil Schwartz, said. ''Daryl was impressed. Then [later that day] he met [defensive line coach Ricky Hunley] and they hit it off well.''

Add defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis to the mix and it just felt right for Gardener. But there's another reason, too. Personal problems have plagued Gardener this offseason. All of his immediate family lives in Baltimore, making this the place to be.

''At this time in Daryl's life, it's in his best interests to stay on the East Coast,'' Schwartz said.

John Keim also covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers.

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