“We talked about how similar NFL players are with warriors in our military,” Love said later. “So we went into detail about that and how we prepare for things and how they prepare for things. They’re coming towards the end of their season, and how they’re coming to their vacation. We talked a lot about how important it is to train, to keep it up and remember what your mission is.”
The meeting was arranged through the NFL by Bobby Crumpler, the Redskins’ director of player programs, and was similar to ones held at most team facilities earlier in the year.
The Post Sports Live crew breaks down Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan's final news conference of the season, which included a couple of eyebrow-raising comments.
(Matt McClain/for The Washington Post) - The Redskins' Darrel Young carries belongings in a bag.
“Bobby knew it would be very motivational, very informative,” Shanahan said, “and we thought they did a great job.”
While Shanahan didn’t share his feelings with the team as a whole, he did hold a series of private meetings with some players Monday and addressed the media for a final time later in the afternoon. He stressed that he believes the Redskins are pointed in the right direction, despite just 11 wins in two seasons.
“It’s not going to happen all in one year or two years,” he told reporters. “You know, I’m still disappointed we didn’t win 10 or 11 games. I really believe if we would have stayed healthy — that’s not using it as an excuse because we didn’t have a lot of depth — I think we could have gotten there.”
Shanahan said it’s difficult to struggle through a second straight losing season — “It’s like somebody sticks a knife in you,” he said — but his players learned Monday about a different type of adversity. Love shared his story, fielded questions and met with many Redskins after the team meeting concluded.
Carriker said one of the SEALs compared football and the military, re-framing the sense of loss many players felt following Sunday’s season finale in Philadelphia. “He said, ‘We’re both really competitive in what we do, but the difference is, we mess up, we lose a game. They mess up, somebody gets hurt.’ So to me, I have the ultimate respect for them,” Carriker said.
Added defensive end Stephen Bowen: “His message wasn’t about the playoffs. It was just about being accountable for your teammates and putting it on the line, and you always have somebody depending on you to do your job, so you don’t want to let anybody down.”
It wasn’t delivered by the head coach, but that’s the final message many players say they will carry with them into the offseason.