Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has hired longtime Broncos assistant Bobby Turner to be his associate head coach/running backs, according to the Denver Post. The Broncos initially blocked Turner's exit, according to the report, but relented when Shanahan added the title of "associate head coach."
Turner presided over one of the most successful running games in the league beginning in 1995. The Broncos pretty much introduced the phrase "system running back" with their ability to mine 1,000-yard seasons out of relatively obscure players such as Olandis Gary (fourth round), Mike Anderson (sixth round) and the great Terrell Davis (sixth round). Of course, it's worth pointing out that the Broncos haven't had an 1,000-yard rusher since 2006.
In Washington, Turner will be reunited with Clinton Portis, who surpassed 1,500 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Broncos. I'm sure both Shanahan and Turner will meet with Portis in the coming weeks to measure his desire to return from what was effectively a lost season for him in 2009. Shanahan has already alluded to the fact that a veteran back has to be willing to put in the work in the offseason, something that hasn't been one of Portis' strengths in the past.
We'll see if the presence of a former mentor can have any influence on Portis, a player who chose to criticize his teammates on the radio this past season rather than actually hang around and help them through some tough times.