The scene itself was not unusual. Snyder often lingers in his suite after games, sometimes well into the night, and Smith has become a regular companion of Snyder’s while recovering from the horrific leg injury he suffered last year. What drew the greatest attention was the absence of team president Bruce Allen, who was seen leaving the stadium about three hours before.
For most of Allen’s decade in charge of the Redskins, a run that started exactly 10 years ago Tuesday, he has been a constant presence at Snyder’s side, walking with the owner onto the field before games and sitting with Snyder for hours-long postgame talks in the suite. Many have described the two as being joined at the hip.
But in recent weeks, they have not been spotted together nearly as much. Snyder no longer goes onto the field before games, leaving Allen to stand alone on the sideline. The fact that Allen was not in the suite with Snyder and Smith on Sunday only fueled speculation that Allen will soon be out as the team’s president.
“Bruce not being [in the postgame suite] is a big thing,” one person who knows Snyder’s and Allen’s habits said, later adding it’s a sign that “Bruce is in exile.”
Multiple people with knowledge of the situation say Snyder has not made a decision on Allen’s future with the team. The owner is planning a full evaluation of the organization, and while Snyder often has such reviews, one person familiar with Snyder’s plans said this one will focus more on the top than in past offseasons. Like others interviewed for this story, the person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Several people connected to potential candidates for the Redskins’ head coaching job have said those candidates are interested in the opening but have hesitations about working for Allen and might not be willing to accept the role if he remains in charge.
Still, Allen continues to run the team, overseeing offseason planning meetings and attending the NFL’s two-day meeting near Dallas last week with other Redskins executives, in addition to Snyder. People around the team have described it as “business as usual.”
Allen, who rarely speaks to the media, has deflected questions about his future. When asked about it a few days before Washington’s 20-15 loss at Green Bay on Dec. 8, Allen said, “I’m much more concerned about the Green Bay Packers.”
With Smith suddenly being seen more with Snyder, it has raised speculation around the league that the quarterback is in line to receive a front-office position. But one person who has spoken to Snyder, Allen and Smith said there is a belief that Smith wants to continue his comeback from the compound fracture of his right leg in hopes that he can one day play in the NFL again, and he is not actively seeking an executive role.
A team spokesman said Monday that Smith has been watching games in Snyder’s suite since the first week of the season, primarily because their wives have become good friends and Smith has been told it is not yet safe for him to stand on the sideline during games, given the possibility players could tumble into him. Elizabeth Smith does not travel to road games, but she is in the box with her husband for all home games.
The spokesman also said there is “no correlation” between Alex Smith’s presence in the suite during and after games and any potential executive role with the franchise.
Team officials also shot down any suggestion that Smith spending time with Snyder had anything to do with Allen’s future with the team. Smith said through a team spokesman that he wants to try to play next year, and there has been no talk about him assuming a front-office job.
Smith continues to act more like a player than a team official during his year of recovery. He uses his same locker and works out with other injured players such as linebacker Reuben Foster. He attends the same offensive meetings as the other quarterbacks and has been a regular adviser for Dwayne Haskins.
During Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Smith sat in Snyder’s box with his former college coach at Utah, Urban Meyer, who won three national championships while coaching Florida and Ohio State. While Redskins rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who played for Meyer at Ohio State, said he was the one who invited his old coach to the game, the fact that Smith and Meyer were sitting side-by-side not far from Snyder led to speculation that Smith is trying to recruit Meyer to be the team’s coach.
Meyer also attended Saturday’s Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, where he was photographed alongside President Trump, and he told Brit Hume of Fox News that he was in town for a White House Christmas party. Of his potential interest in the Redskins’ job, he added, “I think I’m done coaching.”
Team officials tried to play down the visit and said Meyer left the stadium not long after the game was over — several hours before the Smiths and Snyders finally departed the owner’s box.
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