Predictable Move

The dots are easy to connect now. And when they are connected, what Joe Gibbs did this morning was not surprising. Not in the least.

Before the season started, another writer and I sat outside the weight room and talked to Gibbs about a variety of topics. His grandkids. His beach house. Golf. Relaxation. After the conversation, for the first time, I wondered if he would return for a fifth season.

However, Gibbs was adamant that he would return and I believed him. Still, in the back of the mind, that conversation remained.

Then the week of the second Eagles game, the topic of Andy Reid's kids arose and Gibbs talked about the regret he had about not spending more time with his own sons. And how he couldn't get that time back. He did not want to make that same mistake with his grandkids, one of whom is undergoing treatment for leukemia.

During the Sean Taylor tragedy, Gibbs talked about the balance between real life and football, again bringing up the grand kids. One person who saw him a few weeks later said he was more buoyant when discussing racing and his grandkids.

The clues were there and they continued. After the Buffalo debacle, Gibbs stood up in front of the team and, among other things, wondered to the team if the game had passed him by. Mark Brunell stood up and told him, in essence, that it clearly had not.

But the way they finished the season, Gibbs could justify returning and finishing his contract and possibly going out in a flourish.

Last week, I told a Seattle radio station that Gibbs would return. That was based on talking to people in the building; there was no sense that he would not.

However, he also talked about wanting to leave the Redskins in good shape for the future. When he returned, it was as much about that aspect as it was about winning Super Bowls. He felt he had done just that, with two playoff seasons in three years, a host of good young players and a young quarterback.

And that was my predominant feeling until his press conference Monday. When I left Redskins Park last night, I thought he was done. He looked like a relaxed man, a guy who was at peace with his decision. He no longer has to worry about every little detail of a franchise, as he had to do as team president. Gibbs is going home and doing the right thing, returning to his family. It's easy to understand.

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