At the news conference announcing his retirement, Gibbs choked back tears as he told reporters: "I've lived a dream . . . I don't know what's ahead for me, but it's tough to move on . . ." Two dozen current and former Redskins showed up to tell their coach goodbye, and many of them shed tears as well.
Gibbs' retirement was the beginning of a long, bad summer. After ordering Casserly to cut off negotiations with several unsigned veterans midway through the 1992 season, Cooke watched as a large part of his team departed through free agency. Gary Clark, one of the NFL's top wide receivers for eight seasons, was the most prominent loss. His departure was the first sign that the Redskins had someone new in command. Petitbon didn't like Clark's temper tantrums, his abrasive personality and his ego. Gibbs hadn't either, but he had appreciated Clark's brilliance on the field even more.
Then there was the case of Art Monk. Casserly and Petitbon summoned him to their office and told him that he was no longer a starter. Just like that. After 13 seasons, he wasn't even allowed to compete for his job. The Redskins were right that Monk had lost a step and that it was time he began phasing out. But Gibbs would have let the adjustment take place gradually, on the field, not in a meeting room. Monk, proud and sensitive, reacted with fury, skipping mini-camp and attracting a summer's worth of headlines that gave the impression that the Redskins were coming apart.
It would take five years, after stints with the Eagles and the Jets, for Monk to make peace with the Redskins.