Mike Shanahan spoke to reporters after learning that he has been fired as coach of the Washington Redskins.
If you can’t watch the videos, here is the full text of Shanahan’s statement.
“First off, I’d like to thank the fans. Through the first couple years, you go through some rough times. And I can’t tell you how supportive this fan base is. And to be able to coach here, be the head coach, in front of fans like that, that support you the way they do, made me feel very special. And I thank them, to start out with.
“I’d also like to thank Dan for the opportunity to be here under a great organization. This is the best. When you take a look at what the franchise has done, you take a look at the opportunities that [are] given to you as a head football coach and your staff, you can’t feel better.
“I’d also like to thank the players. There are so many players that have given me everything that they’ve got over the last four years, and I thank them for it.
“You know, one of the questions that’s been asked of me the last couple weeks, you know: Is this a better place today than it was when you came here four years ago? Instead of just opening up for questions, that one is probably asked of me more than any other one. So I’ll answer that.
“When we first came here, we knew that we were in some tough situations relative to the salary cap. And when we first came in as a staff, we knew we had to make some tough decisions. And any time that you release $100 million-worth of players, you’re talking about a lot of football players, a lot of players that have been very successful. And that’s always hard to do. And to do that, you know, you’ve got to—a lot of people are involved. You watch a lot of film. You make some tough decisions. And we felt we had to do that relative to the salary cap. And the thing we felt pretty good about, that not one of those players played a full year the next year. So we did make some good decisions relative to getting back to a base relative to the salary cap because we had made some mistakes in the past.
“And then I thought over the first two years, even though it was tough with five and six wins, I thought overall the direction of the team was going the right direction. We had some quality guys. We still do. We had to make some tough decisions on offense, defense and special teams. And going into the third year, I felt very good. We had to—we got lucky on a couple draft choices. Not lucky, where guys played at a very high level with Robert [Griffin III] and Alfred [Morris]. You get lucky with a free agent acquisition, guys like Pierre [Garcon]. But over those two, three years, we did make some strides.
“Going into the third year, what I thought was something that we had to do was get some defensive players. And when we got that $36 million [salary cap] hit, we weren’t able to get some of those players we wanted to get. And we had a lot of people targeted in that third year. But to show you what our football team did, we were still able to win the NFC East. So I was proud with them being able to do that. And any time you’re the 28th-ranked defense and you’re 31st in special teams, usually you don’t do it. But offensively we were able to overcome some battles and we found a way to win, at least the last seven games.
“So when you take a look at that, a lot has been done. But any time you take a look at some of the cap situations that we went through, it’s always tough to have depth. And that’s what I thought really hurt us this year, was depth on our special teams, depth on our defense. We didn’t have the speed that we had a year ago. But the thing I feel good about going into this year, we don’t have those problems financially. And you don’t have to worry about us not doing things the right way relative to overspending. I think from now on, the problems with the cap are over with. The penalties are over with. So with $25 [million], $30 million to go forward, I believe we’re in at least a situation that we’re better off today than we were four years ago. So hopefully that answers some of your questions.
“Okay? Hey, I enjoyed it. The press right here—I know you guys have got a tough job to do. I’ve made a number of friends. I appreciate your hospitality. I know it’s been tough at some times. But you guys have always been pros to me and I thank you for being that way under some tough situations over the last three years. Again, thank you.”
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