Jake Plummer will be rooting extra hard against the Redskins

October 23, 2013

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

The whole Jake Plummer-Mike Shanahan relationship has been pretty well documented for a number of years. After Shanahan drafted Jay Cutler while Plummer was the starter in Denver, and eventually went with the younger quarterback over the older quarterback, Plummer was left with some sour feelings.

And so Plummer once said Shanahan’s firing in Denver was “past due.” He once said, after the Redskins’ initial struggles under Shanahan, that “I think we’re seeing that he isn’t the special coach he thought he was.” He embraced the trend toward running quarterbacks, saying “I don’t need to say names, but I was forced to kind of do what I didn’t feel comfortable doing.”

And now Shanahan is going back to Denver with the Redskins, and Plummer — who does a weekly spot on Denver’s 104.3 The Fan morning show — knows who he’ll be rooting for.

“I’ll be rooting extra hard for the Broncos this weekend, no doubt,” he said with a laugh on Wednesday. (Listen here.)

In truth, though, the hosts gave Plummer several invitations to lay into his former coach, and he repeatedly declined.

“You know, a lot of fans I bump into, they say you got a raw deal, this and that, blah blah blah,” Plummer began. “I just laugh, because really, I didn’t get a raw deal. They paid me handsomely for four years. We won a lot of football games. The guys on team respected me, they played hard for me. I loved them, they loved me. A ‘raw deal’ was just the fact that there was a changing of the guard, and that’s what coach wanted to. That happens on teams all the time. Shanahan did a lot for my career. I think he, more than anybody, missed Gary Kubiak, because Gary was able to take my style and mesh it with Shanahan’s really well. When he was gone, that’s when things just didn’t mesh quite as well. I have respect for Coach Shanahan, and I think that as a coach, he’s a great coach obviously. His track record speaks for itself. But I’ll be rooting extra hard for the Broncos this weekend, no doubt.”

The hosts praised Plummer for his class, but then said he must have been bitter at the way his time in Denver ended.

“Yeah, it was tough to go through, obviously,” Plummer agreed. “But what you’re saying, what everybody says, I don’t have to say much more. My fans now, they appreciated what I did. I don’t need to go back and say this and that. Obviously I think it was a poor decision. It showed itself; everybody now knows it was a poor decision, a bad decision. We would have made the playoffs had I just been allowed to come out in the second half against San Francisco [in 2006]. I have no doubt about that. And nowadays, I would have, because Jay had a concussion.

“You know, it was tough,” Plummer continued. “I really had never been benched before in my life, and probably should have been years prior in Arizona. But yeah, it was a tough time to go through, but through time I’ve gotten over it. I had 10 great years. Of course I felt a little bitter towards Shanahan, but he’s a coach trying to do the right thing, what he thinks is right. I knew it was a bad decision; everyone else did. But when you’re a soldier, you don’t question the commander in charge, you don’t question his calls….

“Like I said, he’s a good coach,” Plummer later concluded. “I had a great career. I wish it would have ended differently, because I think I would have had a little better taste in my mouth right when I retired. But I have a great taste in my mouth leftover from the NFL just from the fun I had and the teammates I played with. And we’ll see how it goes this weekend. Like I said, I’ll be rooting hard for the Broncos.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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