Chapter 5, Page 194

There's a history and a tradition with the Redskins, and I wanted to be part of that."

Some associates had warned him not to take the job. One NFL general manager told him that the Redskins were out of players, that Casserly was overmatched in the role of general manager, and that coaching the Redskins in 1994 would be a prescription for career disaster.

Turner soon would come to agree with part of that assessment. He told Cooke: "Mr. Cooke, a lot of people warned me against coming here. They told me the Redskins didn't have any players. I wanted to be here because of you. But they're right. This is going to be a long, slow process. We've got to rebuild this team."

As part of the farewell to the old team, the Redskins said their goodbyes that summer to Mark Rypien, Art Monk, Ricky Sanders, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Earnest Byner, Brad Edwards, Charles Mann and Eric Williams. So many more of the names and faces associated with Joe Gibbs and Super Bowls would now be gone.

On the rebuilding side, the Redskins made two sharp moves in free agency that summer in signing linebacker Ken Harvey away from the Arizona Cardinals and unwanted wide receiver Henry Ellard, last with the Los Angeles Rams. Turner also had used the third pick in the draft to get Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler. Almost overlooked on draft day was a seventh-round pick named Gus Frerotte, a quarterback from Tulsa.

But Turner's rookie season was a 3-13 nightmare. Shuler missed half of training camp in a contract dispute, forcing Turner to change his plan to make him a starter from his first day. Not much else worked right, either, with the Redkins now a mixture of over-the-hill veterans and youngsters who weren't as good as expected.

Turner got his first NFL victory in Week 2 at New Orleans, but it would be six weeks before he won again. He stormed out of a post-game news conference after a 34-7 home loss to the Cowboys. He had watched Shuler complete just 11 of 30 passes in his first start. He had seen his offense gain only 110 total yards. He had watched running back Reggie Brooks fumble three times in the first half.

One of the few highlights of the Redskins' worst season in 31 years came in Game 8, when Turner stunned the city and his organization by giving Frerotte a start. Shuler had sprained an ankle in an overtime loss to Arizona, and instead of putting veteran John Friesz back in the lineup, Turner turned to perhaps the NFL's least known quarterback.

Page 194 | Next Page: 195

Other Pages in Chapter 5:
172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205

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Names, Numbers
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