Dan Snyder said Tuesday that he's matured as an owner, acknowledged he has made personnel mistakes and said that although he pays the players, ultimately the Washington Redskins are "the fans' team."
Snyder was speaking at a summit for owners of Washington-area sports teams, hosted by The Washington Post.
Snyder, who bought the team at age 34 and is now 46, said he has learned to put his trust in the right people.
"I think that you come in -- and I'm sure all of us originally -- you come in as a pure fan," he said, according to the Post. "And you don't appreciate the nuances of coaching or scouting or all of what's involved in the particular sport. And it takes some time to understand what that's all about, and how you have to have patience. The Redskins hadn't gone to the playoffs in eight years before I bought the team, and we were frustrated, so that frustration rubs off pretty quick. But I've learned to get the right people, and we did that with Joe Gibbs, we're doing that with Mike Shanahan, and I'm excited about where we're going."
When asked to describe his biggest personnel gaffe, Snyder said followers of the Redskins already know the biggest bust during his tenure.
"You know. I don't need to answer this. You all know," he said, according to the Post.
Snyder didn't specify whom he was talking about, but it presumably was defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, whom the Redskins signed to a $100 million contract two offseasons ago.
Haynesworth was suspended for the final four games of the 2010 season for conduct detrimental to the team and is expected to be traded or released this offseason, if and when owners and players agree to a new collective bargaining agreement.
"One of the things you try to do is, you're trying to make the right decision," Snyder said, according to the Post. "You're trying to be supportive. You end up taking the entire blame in response and I understand that. That's fine. But the reality is the intentions are in the right place."
Snyder also didn't discuss quarterback Donovan McNabb, for whom the Redskins traded last offseason. McNabb was benched at the end of the season and also is likely to be traded or released.
The fans haven't seen much success under Snyder; the Redskins have missed the playoffs in nine of his 11 seasons as owner.
"It may be our money, but it's the fans' teams," he said, according to the newspaper. "And that goes across the board up here [for all the owners on the panel]. It's the fans' team. We have the responsibility to try to do the right thing. And from my perspective, obviously, people have known I'm aggressive in seeking free agents ... but we're trying to do the right thing."
For the first time in franchise history, Washington finished at the bottom of its division in the final standings for the third straight season, showing only marginal statistical improvement in the transition from Jim Zorn's 4-12 team to the Shanahan's squad that finished with a 6-10 record.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.