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Did Marty Schottenheimer deserve to be fired? ESPN's Chris Mortensen deciphers.
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Chris Mortensen Archive
Schottenheimer officially out in Washington

Jan. 13
Marty Schottenheimer is out and Steve Spurrier is in. That development came to fruition Sunday afternoon when Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder was able to get Spurrier on board as his next coach, according to sources.

Spurrier has agreed to a five-year, $25-million deal that will make him the highest-paid coach in the NFL. The deal should become official in the next "day or so," sources said.

"(Snyder) never would have fired Marty without having Spurrier in place," a league source said. Spurrier refused to confirm or deny the report, according to the Gainesville Sun.

Snyder's efforts to land Bobby Beathard as general manager appear to have failed. Bucs GM Rich McKay also resisted an overture from the Redskins owner, sources said.

Spurrier is expected to seek Bucs personnel director Tim Ruskell as his personnel man in Washington, sources said. The two men worked together when Spurrier coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL.

Schottenheimer's fate clearly had been sealed, even though there was reportedly "no resolution" during a two-hour meeting that began at noon Sunday between the coach and owner. Both men had their attorneys actively involved in the meeting, much of it spent on the language of the four-year, $10-million contract Schottenheimer signed last January.

Snyder would have allowed Schottenheimer to remain as coach if he surrendered his final authority on personnel decisions, as guaranteed in his contract. The owner proposed a "committee" arrangement in which he would hire a general manager to oversee the personnel department; Snyder would have had the final say on any disputes between the GM and the coach, sources said.

Schottenheimer was willing to work with a GM and even allow Snyder a voice, but would not surrender his personnel authority.

The two sides agreed to meet again at 10 a.m. Monday as Schottenheimer and his IMG representatives, Tom Condon and Terry Prince, pushed for a conclusion. Instead, Schottenheimer was summoned back to Redskins Park for a 7:30 p.m. meeting Sunday that resulted in his dismissal after just one season in which the Redskins battled back from an 0-5 start to finish 8-8. Schottenheimer will be owed the $7.5 million balance of his deal.

Spurrier's $25-million agreement was already in place, sources said, but awaited Schottenheimer's final fate.

Snyder, who courted Spurrier last year before turning to Schottenheimer, renewed his interest in the Florida coach during Washington's 0-5 start. Sources told ESPN in October that Snyder openly spoke of pursuing Spurrier while sitting in the press box on a scouting trip in October when he attended the Fresno State-Colorado State game to observe Fresno State quarterback David Carr.

Snyder also privately expressed regret at canceling a face-to-face meeting with Spurrier after the 2000 season in which he fired Norv Turner. Sources said then that Snyder believed that if he ever were able to meet personally with Spurrier, he would be able to convince the then-Gators' coach to take the Redskins' job. He was eventually right.

Snyder engaged Spurrier shortly after Florida defeated Maryland in the Orange Bowl, sources said. Snyder attended the game as a Maryland alum but used the opportunity to congratulate Spurrier afterwards; the handshake led to a more private meeting later that night, sources said.

Pepper Rodgers, who has the Redskins' title of vice president of football operations (without any power), was a key liaison between Snyder and Spurrier, who once served under Rodgers as a college assistant coach.

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