INDIANAPOLIS — Washington Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan is not with the team at the NFL Scouting Combine. It is a notable absence for a front-office figure whose specialty has long been college scouting and the draft.
Two people familiar with the situation said Redskins staffers were told Tuesday during their trip to Indianapolis that McCloughan was “tending to a personal matter.”
A Redskins spokesman Wednesday night confirmed that the team’s top talent evaluator did not make the trip to Indianapolis, saying only “he is taking care of some family matters.”
McCloughan said via text message late Wednesday night he was dealing with a death in the family. His 100-year-old grandmother Marie McCloughan died Feb. 6.
The absence has raised speculation over McCloughan’s job status with the Redksins. Late Wednesday, 106.7 the Fan reported that McCloughan had been sent home from Redskins Park on Feb. 20, and multiple league insiders wonder if there's more to the story, given the timing. But McCloughan's agent, Peter Schaffer, said late Wednesday night that report was "not true," and that the claim of McCloughan's absence owed to a death in the family was "100 percent accurate."
Stopped for comment Thursday morning as he headed to a meeting at the combine, Team President Bruce Allen said only, "he is dealing with family matters."
Allen declined to comment on The Fan report that McCloughan was sent home from work, saying, "I'm not getting into speculations." Allen said McCloughan will return to work, "just as soon as things are handled."
Multiple agents that represent the Redskins’ players have said they were told McCloughan wasn't in the office last week, and there's been some confusion with what's going on in the front office. It's been a dark cloud hovering over the franchise just a week before the start of the NFL’s free agent signing period, and it's during a time when Washington has scheduled meetings with the agents of its pending free agents this week at the combine.
McCloughan’s top area of expertise is the draft, and he places a high priority on conducting pre-draft interviews at the combine to evaluate players.
McCloughan has been under scrutiny this offseason because of the mixed results of last year’s draft and the past two free agent classes. Allen has restricted McCloughan from speaking to the media this offseason, denying interview requests for McCloughan at the Senior Bowl in January and leading up to the combine.
McCloughan also recently found himself at the middle of a firestorm as Chris Cooley, a former Redskins player who is now a morning talk-show host of the team-owned ESPN 980, speculated that Allen was blocking McCloughan from addressing the media because of a possible relapse of the drinking problems that contributed to his dismissals as a front-office executive in San Francisco and Seattle.
The team never publicly addressed Cooley’s comments. And Allen declined comment when asked Wednesday morning.
Master Tesfatsion contributed to this story from Indianapolis.