Joe Gibbs helping Washington Redskins players to gain the financial savvy he lacked when he was younger

"I just wanted all those guys . . . to be better prepared in life to handle their finances," Joe Gibbs said of his money-managing seminar.
"I just wanted all those guys . . . to be better prepared in life to handle their finances," Joe Gibbs said of his money-managing seminar. (Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post)
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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Unbeknownst to all but a handful of people, Joe Gibbs spent most of two days at Redskins Park on June 1-2. He met with many of the team's key veterans, two of their wives and about 20 players in all, sandwiching the time during the team's organized team activities.

He is involved. Very involved.

"I wanted to give back," Gibbs said in a telephone interview. "I just thought this was something I could do for the players."

Joe Gibbs talked money with the Redskins early last month. For help, he enlisted two university professors with Harvard MBAs.

He humbly spoke of how, during the early 1980s in Washington, Gibbs lost his personal fortune because of financial ignorance. How he felt helpless when several of his former players -- some in contract disputes -- confessed to him about making bad business decisions that negatively affected their careers. And how every team in the NFL needs the kind of OTA that recently transpired in Ashburn: a free-of-charge financial seminar Gibbs partnered with Strayer University to put on.

"What Coach Gibbs felt compelled to do means a lot," said London Fletcher, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who took part in the nine-hour, three-session class over a week and a half with teammates Phillip Daniels, Kedric Golston, Reed Doughty and other players. The wives of Daniels and Golston also attended.

"I'm fairly conservative -- some would say tight," Fletcher added. "But I have friends who have situations where once they're done playing, they fell on hard times. Is it needed? We just saw a stat that after retirement about 80 percent of players end up in financial ruin. What do you think?"

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated story, 78 percent of all NFL players go bankrupt or are in financial duress just two years into retirement. Which makes the furor of the past month feel a little like small potatoes, no?

For all the consternation over a certain lineman not showing his face around Redskins Park, Albert Haynesworth could have used that seminar more than a new defensive scheme; he currently faces three lawsuits and other legal filings.

Mark Brunell, the former Redskins quarterback who has signed playing contracts for $52 million during his career, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week because he could no longer pay off a series of bad business loans when a housing investment backfired.

Young, black defensive stars.

Aging, white quarterbacks.

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