Last week's comments were in jest
ASHBURN, Va. -- Joe Gibbs emphatically reiterated his commitment to the Washington Redskins on Monday, quashing speculation that began with a
misinterpretation of remarks he made at a NASCAR media day last week.
"I signed a five-year contract when I came here," Gibbs told a news conference Monday. "Most people sign three-year contracts. My commitment to the
Redskins, 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. I want to get the Redskins back to winning, and that's first," he said.
Last week, Gibbs said during a NASCAR media tour that his "time in football will be short" compared to his commitment to his racing team. He then
repeated a variation of a lighthearted one-liner he used several times during last year's 6-10 season: "If we don't win a few more games next year, my
time in football will be real short."
Some commentators took the remarks seriously, prompting Gibbs to clarify his position Monday.
"I was joking. I was telling a joke," Gibbs said. "It's amazing how very few people evidently don't have a sense of humor. ... Our dream is to
continue forever with the racing. Football, you can't do that. My time in football is going to be short - 'er,' I should have said, meaning less time
than in racing."
Gibbs touched on other matters, confirming that receiver Rod Gardner had been given permission to seek a trade and denying any interest in Randy Moss,
but such mundane football topics weren't the focus of his agenda.
"I guess the moral of this story is I can't joke," he said.
Gibbs was particularly upset over the way his remarks became fodder for sports talk radio, a medium that barely existed when he first coached the
Redskins in the 1980s and early 1990s. He felt some comments were "out of bounds," including suggestions that he only returned to football for the
money or that he wasn't devoting sufficient time to the football team.
"You would hope that people would do some research and everything before they jump out and put that out there," he said.
Gibbs said the negotiations for the NFL-record five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed a year ago lasted "probably 60 seconds," with owner Dan
Snyder offering an amount that Gibbs quickly accepted.
"I've actually reached a point in my life where for the first time I didn't have to do things based on finances," Gibbs said. "I hope people would
take me at my word that I did not do this from a financial standpoint."
As for his time investment, Gibbs last year adopted his work habits of old, holding meetings until the wee hours and frequently sleeping on a cot in
"I'm giving this every single thing I've got," Gibbs said.
Gibbs' remarks came at the start of three days of coaches' meetings to discuss the salary cap and free agency. The coach offered updates on several
# Gibbs said Gardner's agent had requested a trade, and that the Redskins had agreed to it. Gibbs said the decision was based on "just the way the
year went" without being specific.
Gardner, entering the final year of a five-year, $7.7 million contract, has been an erratic receiver who has failed to live up his billing as a
first-round draft pick. He caught 51 passes for 650 yards last year and made headlines by throwing a midnight, midweek birthday for himself during the
season. Rookie Sean Taylor was stopped on the way home from the party and was subsequently convicted for refusing to take a blood-alcohol test, a
verdict that is under appeal.
# Gibbs said he would pass if contacted by the Minnesota Vikings about a trade for volatile receiver Moss, not surprising given that Gibbs puts an
emphasis on good character players who can be locker room leaders.
"He's a heck of a player, but I think in our case, it's not something we would be interested in," Gibbs said.
# Gibbs said his biggest injury concern is linebacker LaVar Arrington's right knee, which has been slow to recover from surgery in September because
of a bone bruise. Gibbs said more surgery is a possibility if Arrington doesn't continue to improve over the next two weeks.
# Gibbs said he has had "good conversations" with Fred Smoot's agent, but the coach implied that a wide gap still existed in negotiations with the
pending free agent cornerback.
"Personally, I would hope that the guy gets all the money he can get," Gibbs said. "The problem is when you do that, it costs you players."
Not that I really thought he meant he'd be leaving soon, he's too persistent to just up and quit. But it does make me feel better.
[Edited on 1/31/2005 by Gibbs Baby!!!]