Peppered with questions about his decision to sign the 27-year-old Galette despite repeated vows to bring only players of good character to the squad, McCloughan defended the move with conviction and provided further details about the vetting process conducted by himself, Redskins President Bruce Allen and Coach Jay Gruden.
But he declined to explain what ultimately gave him comfort about moving forward despite the video, other than to say, “I got the real story, and I’m fine with that.”
Asked what that story was, McCloughan said: “Just the truth. Like I said, I’m not trying to protect him at all. He’s going to have to prove himself out with us to be with us. But just to talk to him and hear his story – because I wanted to know it, too. It was very important to me.”
According to McCloughan, who was hired by the Redskins in January, team officials spoke with more than 20 people who knew Galette, starting from the moment he learned “on the street” that the Saints might release the Pro Bowl linebacker, who recorded 22 quarterback sacks over the last two years. McCloughan said that vetting process included his own two-hour, face-to-face meeting with Galette that left the player “in tears” and left McCloughan convinced of his sincerity.
“I promise you guys this, being new here and knowing where we’re going and what we want to build, I’m not going to bring a bad guy in here,” McCloughan said. “I know he’s a really good football player, which I really respect. But I’m not going to bring a bad guy in here. I will not give on that at all. I sat with him for two hours and it was very intense. Very intense. To the point where we were almost face-to-face telling him what I expected. And if he can’t bring it, then we don’t want you. Because somebody else will sign him. That’s a given. He’s way too talented at 27 years old not to be signed. But it was intense.”
McCloughan said that the idea of pursuing Galette was his own, noting that his job is to give the Redskins and its coaching staff the best 90 players he could find heading into training camp and the 2015 season.
Galette may also face an NFL suspension at the start of the season pending a league investigation into disturbing off-field incidents that include a January arrest for allegedly injuring a women while trying to force her to leave his home, although the charges were later dropped; and the 2013 video that surfaced in June capturing a brawl in which a man, who appears to be Galette, beats a woman with a belt. Galette’s lawyer has insisted that the man in the video isn’t his client.
McCloughan said team officials were willing to take a chance on him, despite a potential NFL suspension, because they were Galette would ultimately “give us a lot of games.”
“All players have issues; we all have some kind of issue,” McCloughan said. “We’ve all made mistakes or something. I don’t want the repeat offenders.”
The Redskins signed Galette to a one-year deal for the NFL minimum salary of $745,000.
“When it’s all said and done, the final say is my call,” McCloughan said. “Right or wrong, doesn’t matter, because when it’s all said and done it’s on my shoulders. I felt really, really strong about it.”