Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and coach Marty Schottenheimer just couldn't find a middle ground. Monday, he was officially fired as Washington's head coach, to be replaced by former Florida coach Steve Spurrier.
After nearly a week of discussions, an accommodation in which Schottenheimer might keep control of personnel decisions and Snyder could bring in a general manager under his rights outlined in the coach's contract, the pair parted ways Sunday night.
After a meeting earlier in the day left the two sides no closer to a resolution of their differences, Schottenheimer was summoned again to a 7:30 p.m. ET meeting and was released from the final three seasons of his four-year, $10 million contract, ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli and Chris Mortensen reported.
Snyder was also able to get Spurrier on board to replace Schottenheimer, and sources said the former Florida Gators coach has agreed to a five-year, $25-million deal that makes him the highest paid coach in the NFL. Spurrier will be introduced on Tuesday.
"Snyder never would have fired Marty without having Spurrier in place," a league source said.
Schottenheimer will receive the $7.5 million in base salaries due him over the next three years.
Schottenheimer addressed the media Monday morning and
confirmed Snyder's decision to strip him of total control over
personnel matters was the reason for the dismissal.
"The issue we could not resolve was the process of selecting
players to make up the Washington Redskins roster,"
Schottenheimer said. "The opportunity to determine the
composition of the Washington Redskins was the single most
element of my taking the job here last January.
"It was my belief that my way would have been the most
successful, but Daniel Snyder owns the Washington Redskins. He made the commitment to the
organization and he is entitled to make any decision he chooses."
The team subsequently issued a statement in which Snyder said that
Schottenheimer was released from his contract, not for any coaching reasons,
but rather "because of philosophical management issues." The statement noted Schottenheimer had been offered various paradigms in which he could have retained his job. A Redskins source said Schottenheimer had "a ton" of opportunities with "very palatable" options that would have kept him with the team.
Schottenheimer, 58, exits the Redskins, and perhaps the NFL for good, with a
career coaching mark of 158-104-1. The 12th-winningest coach in NFL history,
he was 8-8 in Washington for the 2001 season.
Schottenheimer didn't rule out a return to coaching.
"You're away from anything for a couple of years, and you think
that you're still capable but you're not sure," Schottenheimer
said. "Having been back for a year, I can do it."
Schottenheimer said he never considered giving up his authority
over player decisions, which Snyder gave him in an effort to prove
"Dan Snyder and I have agreed on many things. ... Our only
difference was the means by which we would achieve it,"
Schottenheimer said in his next job he wouldn't necessarily
demand the absolute control he thought was necessary under Snyder.
No decisions have been made regarding Schottenheimer's coaching
staff, which includes his brother and his son. Most -- if not all --
will probably not be retained.
While Snyder felt Schottenheimer's job as coach was acceptable,
the owner was perplexed by Schottenheimer's decision to release
fullback Larry Centers, who was signed by Buffalo and had a Pro
Bowl year. Schottenheimer also stuck with Jeff George -- with no
experienced backup -- through training camp even though it was
apparent the quarterback didn't fit Schottenheimer's West Coast
Those decisions, and the early losing streak, soured a
Snyder-Schottenheimer relationship that started out so well. The
two vacationed in Europe together, the coach called the owner
"Dan" in public, and they even wore matching straw hats at
The 'Skins started the campaign
0-5, then rallied to win eight of their final 11 games. Even some older
veterans, who balked at Schottenheimer's conditioning and practice methods
in training camp, played much harder for him in the second half of the year.
By the end of the season, Schottenheimer and Snyder were speaking less often, and
Schottenheimer was calling the owner "Mr. Snyder."
But the contract that Schottenheimer signed provided Snyder the explicit
right to hire a general manager or a front office executive with general
Schottenheimer fooled some observers early
last week when he seemed ready to reconcile the possible addition of a
general manager. He told his friends that he respected Snyder for having
spent more than $800 million to purchase the franchise and that he ought to
be able to hire people to oversee things.
But other issues remained and the two sides couldn't resolve them.
Team sources said that options presented to Schottenheimer on Sunday would
have allowed him to make personnel decisions in the event of a disagreement
over specific players. But ESPN.com has learned that Snyder requested that
Schottenheimer also replace vice president of
personnel John Schneider and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye.
The coach originally refused to do so but, after the sides adjourned their
first meeting, was said to be considering the changes. He never got the
chance to change his mind, because Snyder acted by releasing him from his
Spurrier will become the fourth head coach for Snyder in his brief
stewardship of a franchise that he legitimately loves and wants desperately
to be successful. Snyder inherited Norv Turner, fired him last December and
replaced him with interim coach Terry Robiskie, who was released at the end
of the season. Then there was Schottenheimer and now Spurrier will add to
Information from ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Len Pasquarelli, along with the Associated Press, was used in this report.
A Fair Schott?
An argument could be made that Marty Schottenheimer was not given a fair chance. Joe Gibbs also started 0-5 and finished 8-8 in his first season as Redskins head coach, but he would go on to win the first of three Super Bowl titles the following season and coach Washington for 12 years. All Schottenheimer will get for this year's turnaround is a pink slip. The Redskins were one of nine teams this season to go 8-3 or better from Oct. 21 on, but each of the other eight teams reached the playoffs.
*Won Super Bowl in next season