Jon Gruden: ‘How can I not love the Redskins?’

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)
(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Jon Gruden went to Redskins OTAs this week wearing a Redskins hat, but he’s shown even greater allegiance to the franchise in recent weeks. The broadcasting Gruden spoke at a banquet honoring Joe Gibbs in mid-May, and his speech was peppered with fond words for the team now coached by his brother.

“I think we have a lot in common here tonight,” Jon Gruden told the crowd. “We all love the Washington Redskins, don’t we? My brother is the head football coach; how can I not love the Redskins? One of my best friends Bruce Allen is the general manager. I grew up with Doug Williams. I mean, when Joe Gibbs and Doug Williams left Tampa … we didn’t make a first down for nine years. Robert Griffin III, he was on my QB Camp show. Colt McCoy, had him as well. Cousins, had ‘em all. I’m a big Redskins fan. Got a lot in common with ‘em. Many of the coaches on this staff — Raheem Morris, Sean McVay, Paul Kelly, Randy Jordan, Ike Hilliard — they were on my staff. Let’s give the Redskins a hand — Let’s Go Washington! And if you don’t win, guys — no pressure — Dan Snyder might fire me.”

More of Gruden’s one-liners:

* “I’d like to wish my brother good luck filling Joe Gibbs’s shoes, Jay. Good luck. I mean that. Good luck, brother.”

* “I used to steal the Washington Redskins’ Beta tape in the early 1990s as a young receiver coach and try to steal his ideas. I didn’t do very well at that, by the way.”

* “In 2004, the Redskins roared out out of the tunnel against yours truly and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I was on the field and had the best seat at FedEx and I said watch the counter, WATCH THE COUNTER! There goes Clinton Portis on a damn counter play.”

“This is an exciting time. Free agency is over. The Redskins got Hatcher from Dallas, they got DeSean Jackson from Philadelphia — I like that — they got Ryan Clark, the safety man. My boss at ESPN wanted me to ask you, are you paying his salary or are we?”

“It’s hard to make a first down in pro football. It’s hard to win a division. It’s hard to win a Super Bowl, let alone three. And again, I just am mesmerized by your accomplishments and I congratulate you, coach.”

There was lots more, less specific to Washington. Gruden closed like this:

“I love football, and I love global franchises like the Redskins, and I love football fans. And I really love what Coach Gibbs stands for. If I can be half the man he is, I’ll be very proud.”

(Thanks to Jim Dugan. See the rest of Gruden’s speech here.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | June 12