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Vinny Cerrato and his life after the Redskins

On Joe Gibbs: Gibbs's fault - for leaving. "If Joe Gibbs stayed, I'd still be there."

On Mike Shanahan: Shanahan's fault - for not taking the job sooner. "If Mike Shanahan was the coach, I'd still be there."

In a rare moment of clarity, though, a caller asked whether Cerrato believed the Redskins were better off when he took the job or when he was fired. Thinking back to the one home playoff game under former coach Norv Turner - Jan. 8, 2000; the game ball is encased downstairs - he comes to terms with his tenure.

"I'd have to say unsuccessful," Cerrato says, nodding for a long while, almost pondering that he just said that word in relation to himself.

He was working out during the NFL owners meetings in Dallas in Dec. 2009 when Snyder told him to meet him alone in a conference room at the Four Seasons. It was the day the owner played the card no one ever thought he'd play - firing Cerrato, the guy who survived six coaches, millions of wasted dollars on someone else's stars and all the anger of fed-up season-ticket holders.

"I didn't know it was coming," he said. Really? After what happened the last decade? "Nope."

Utterly unaware till the very end. Shocker.

It's after 6 p.m. and Becky has just returned home after another day in the operating room. Cerrato has to take one of the kids to basketball practice at 6:30.

After he thanked me for coming, I pull out of the driveway, above the football field with the names stenciled in the end zone - away from the palatial home of one of the most unpopular figures in Redskins history, the man who in all likelihood did Dan Snyder's bidding, who couldn't tell him "No" nearly enough.


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