ATLANTA -- Less than five minutes into his news conference, Mike Shanahan was asked a question that, as many had all week, veered away from what he’d rather talk about: football. Instead, it addressed the chaos from throughout a week that saw different stories leaked almost daily.
This time, Shanahan decided enough was enough. So when asked what he could do to stop the reports from coming out, Shanahan ended his news conference.
“OK, thank you gentlemen,” he said as he walked away.
Perhaps 30 seconds earlier, when asked about the latest story of the day, Shanahan said, “We’re just disappointed we lost the game. I’m tired of talking about the job. If you want to talk about this game, if you want to talk about Dallas or if you want to talk about the New York Giants, that’s great. We’re a football team. I’d sure like to concentrate on that.”
It’s been a long week for Shanahan and the Redskins because of the controversy surrounding his job and whether or not he’ll return in 2014. Stories have popped up almost every day, and they’ve run the gamut from he’s trying to get himself fired to not wanting to leave, but only returning under certain circumstances (perhaps with an extension and with the assurance he could run things his way).
Then there was the decision to bench quarterback Robert Griffin III, which increased the scrutiny. Shanahan said he only wanted Griffin healthy for the offseason, but this move led to more speculation about ulterior motives.
It weighed on the players, who welcomed the three-hour respite provided by playing a game.
“It was so nice to get out there,” Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen said. “I don’t have Twitter, I don’t have Facebook, I don’t listen to the radio, and I don’t listen to news. But this is so saturated, it’s touching everywhere. I’m watching Thursday Night Football, and at halftime they’re talking about the Redskins. I’ve never had a situation where I had such a hard time staying away from it. Family and friends call me about what’s going on. I’m like, I don’t want to be talking to you guys about this. It’s difficult, but it is a sanctuary to come here to play, and a sanctuary during the week at practice. Even though it’s overwhelming, we have an opportunity to lose ourselves in the game.”
At 3-11, the noise will continue to grow because the questions won’t be going away until a decision is made.
“We don’t pay attention to it. We just have to keep our blinders on,” Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon said. “You just have to let it roll off your back.”
It was a postgame topic. It will be one throughout each of the next two weeks. That means there will be two days they can just like being players again.
“Once we’re between the lines, it’s all the game,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “Everything else is out the window. Regardless of the drama, we came out trying to win a game and we fell short, but we fought hard to the end.”