Turner, Casserly Remember Cooke
By Bryan Tucker
Most of the guys have had an opportunity to be around him and the word spreads and I know it will have an impact on our football team. I know it will have an impact on me.
Q: Does anything change this offseason or do just go to John Kent Cooke?
Each time I visited or had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Cooke, we would have a session [and] talk about players. I can't think a time I didn't walk away from him without an inspiration, thought or idea something came out of it. His vast knowledge and vast experience of dealing with people as much as dealing with athletics. He had this unique ability to evaluate people and all those things. We worked hard to make the progress we made and we're back to the point [of] going into a new stadium. I think we are going to be a very good football team. From my standpoint, I would love for him to sit in the stadium and watch us play.
Q: Have you ever been around someone with that charisma?
Q: Do you think the stadium should be named after him?
Q: Were you worried about Mr. Cooke's support during your first season?
A: I kind of smirk to myself when Coach Gibbs was 0-5 because I was 3-13. There's a little difference. I appreciate and will always [his support]. . . . He is so experienced and been involved with so many different situations, he knew what we were dealing with and what we were going through and he continuously created an environment for me to be successful. When we seemed to struggle at our worst, he came out and was the strongest and supported me. It has an effect of everyone around you and it gives you the best chance to be successful.
What I think was lost at times with Mr. Cooke is people wanted to talk about what he was involved in and his corporations. You can't replace his experience in athletics. You go back through his biography, Sparky Anderson or people he's been involved with I don't know how many years it was his life. That experience, you don't get that experience in a short period of time. You don't acquire that when you automatically acquire an organization and that's the advantage he had over most people involved in this business.
Q: [Talk about the] disappointment about how long it took to build that stadium and how only in five months it would have opened and he doesn't quite make it after the long time that it took to get that done.
Q: Since you talked to him regularly did you feel he was improving.
Q: Any favorite stories with Mr. Cooke?
General Manager Charley Casserly
Another thing that strikes you is a lot of people want to win there's a lot of people who spend money to win but not many people knew how to win. I think that was one of the great things: he knew how to win. . .Another great thing was he challenged you, he challenged you every time you talked to him. You had to accept that as a challenge but that is a positive don't miss that. I always felt when you got off the phone with him you learned something. Was he tough? We all knew he was tough but more importantly he was fair and that's what I remember the guy was fair. He had a technique he would use he might have used it with you guys, it caught me by surprise the first time. Say you talked to him about a player you were going to sign, he'd ask you about the player and how he would fit in and then he'd call you back the next day and ask you the same question. He'd ask you the same question the next day. In the beginning, you would think he didn't remember, but he was challenging you, he wanted to know what exactly your conviction on this player. What was your conviction on this move and how thoroughly had you thought it out, this is how he was successful because this is how he operated when he made those decisions and that was good. As regards to John Kent Cooke, he has been involved to day-to-day operations of this team since 1981. Since I've been general manager, he has been involved in every major decision that has been made here. John's personality in case you don't know him is not one to seek the limelight or seek credit for things that's his personality. John deserves a lot of credit for the success we've had he's just never chose to take it. I don't think anyone is going to notice a difference in how the organization is run. We're certainly well-prepared and once we get through this period of grief here were going to be rolling and going.
The stadium was the pride and joy of Jack Kent Cooke. Someone asked me if it was going to be the last great thing he did and if you guys knew him there was going to be something else great after the stadium he just hadn't figured it out yet. I think [the stadium] was the driving force during the last few years I think it kept him going and young. He could have moved this football team. He didn't move this football team. I don't think he ever got the credit for that but he'll get it now that he is gone. He said it was going be here for the fans and we should be thankful for that.
Q: What about the name of the stadium?
Q: How will his death affect the players?
I think this was a guy who meant so much to this franchise. And I think this franchise will not miss a beat thanks to John Cooke. But I think the man's legacy, certainly the physical legacy will be stadium, the legacy of the Redskins of being a class organization. That's one thing I think people look and say that is a class organization and why it is a class organization it had a class owner.