The Washington Post

Joe Gibbs on Mark Rypien, head injuries and bounties


“I’ve got to tell you the truth, I think the NFL always — from the time I was in it — was dead serious about the health of the players,” Gibbs replied. “I think we had some of the best medical teams that I’ve ever seen with the Washington Redskins, conscientious people. We had trainers that were heavily involved in what was going on. Our doctors were the best in the communities, and I think they still are to this day, and always have been. I think the NFL is always interested in the safety of the players.

“In my particular case, many times, I generally would leave it up to a player first of all if he was gonna play, and the medical team. And I think with the more experience we have in the medial field, I think some of these things have brought to light, and I think one of those has been the concussion thing.

“Now I’m not the expert on that. I’m certainly not a doctor. But I can tell you this: that in the NFL, my experience was [with] the best medical people that you could have.

“Dr. Jim Andrews with the Redskins, I mean, Dan personally flew in Dr. Andrews every single weekend, and that’s the number one person in the world as far as operating on joints or athletes. And I felt like they were trying to do every single thing they could.

“Now the head injury thing, there’s a lot more being brought out on injuries to the brain. I don’t know how all that works, I don’t know who’s responsible for what, but I can testify to the fact that I felt like our players were really cared for.”

Gibbs was then asked about the recent penalties levied against the Saints for their bounty program. And while Gregg Williams wasn’t mentioned in the question, Gibbs brought up his former assistant himself, repeating his earlier denial concerning knowledge of bounty programs in D.C.

“The fact that you have a lot of attention right now going on head injuries in sports, I think that kind of all just highlights what’s going on,” Gibbs said. “Gregg Williams actually coached for me when I was at the Washington Redskins. And my whole point on that was never, in my entire career of 40 years of coaching, did anybody, EVER, bring up to me incentivizing someone to hurt somebody else or to take them out of a game. Never ever. And if that took place anywhere where I was, I certainly didn’t hear about it

“But I think all that kind of highlights what’s going on in today’s sports. And I think this one is a big issue, and it’s gonna be interesting to see how we wind up working our way through this. But I know it’s a huge concern for the NFL, for the medical teams there. The best people in the world are working on it, and hopefully we solve this in some way to everybody’s benefit.”  

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.


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