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Redskins' Gibbs Resigns As Coach
But after the recent run, Gibbs seemed to feel better about the team's standing. The defense, a problem in 2006, had stabilized, the players bonded after Taylor's death and there was a hope around the team that it had identified its quarterback of the future in Jason Campbell.
"I know this: He would never want to leave an organization in disarray," said Brett Fuller, the team chaplain who spent a great deal of time with Gibbs, an evangelical Christian. "So us making the playoffs probably more than anything helped him make his decision."
Gibbs talked frequently yesterday about the tug he felt from his family. After promising his wife, Pat, that he would not repeat his lifestyle from his first coaching run and spend many nights sleeping in the office, he quickly fell back into old habits, talking fondly of hearing the trash truck at Redskins Park at 3 a.m. and knowing that it was probably time to sleep.
After Saturday's loss in Seattle, Gibbs went to Charlotte, where he and Pat have a home, to meet with his family and discuss his future. Several times, his wife and children told him that if he wanted to return to the Redskins they would support him, Gibbs said. But he added "there were a couple of things that were said that just kind of grab you."
At that point, he figured it best he no longer coach. He returned to Redskins Park on Monday and told Snyder that night that he wanted to leave. Snyder, who had sensed Gibbs was unsure about returning as early as Sunday when the two talked, tried vainly to talk the coach into staying.
Yesterday, the two men were a contrast in emotions. Snyder sat quietly at the news conference, giving short, subdued answers to questions, while Gibbs stood behind a lectern and laughed several times. It was the Gibbs that people who know him best say he often is like -- glib with a cutting humor -- but one few saw in public. When Snyder said he learned "passion and desire" from Gibbs, the coach threw his head back and laughed.
"That's a joke, the passion of a zillionaire? At 40? Give me a break," he roared, mocking Snyder, a young multimillionaire.
Later, standing outside of Redskins Park, Fuller said "this is as content as I have seen him."
While Gibbs no longer will keep an office at Redskins Park, saying he doesn't want to loom over his successor, he has other projects outside of football, including Joe Gibbs Racing, his successful NASCAR team run in his absence by his son, J.D. He visited with the team at its headquarters in Huntersville, N.C., this week before heading back to Washington. He also created a foster care home and private school for troubled children in Bristow called Youth for Tomorrow.
As night fell at the team's training facility yesterday, the Redskins allowed the two dozen or so fans gathered near the entry road nearly a mile away to come to the building to say goodbye to Gibbs. He walked out, waved, shook their hands, signed autographs and told jokes. There were no Super Bowls to celebrate this time, but six weeks after his best player died, there was a sense his legacy had been salvaged.