- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

PHOENIX Teased yesterday by NFL executive vice president Joe Browne that it's good that he left Washington for San Diego since today's NFC coaches breakfast is even earlier than yesterday's AFC sitdown with the media, Marty Schottenheimer was ready with a return volley.
"In more ways than one," Schottenheimer cracked about being glad to be gone from the Redskins.
But under questioning, the Chargers' coach declined to criticize his firing by Redskins owner Dan Snyder in January 2002 despite an 8-3 stretch run.
"I don't have any regrets about my year in Washington," said Schottenheimer, who has rigorously avoided discussing his Redskins experience. "We faced adversity [an 0-5 start], but we didn't capitulate. From that standpoint, it was as gratifying a year as I've ever had. I have a tremendous sense of achievement about what took place in Washington."
Schottenheimer was the only coach to skip last spring's meetings, in part to avoid discussing the Redskins. He declined interview requests from Washington writers last year.
Kemp back in the game Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential nominee and 1965 American Football League Most Valuable Player, was announced as the chairman of USA Football, which the NFL and the Players Association formed in December to promote youth and high school football.
"I hope I can give some impetus to the importance of football in a young man's life," said Kemp, a former congressman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. "The lessons of football stay with you. We want to encourage young players and coaches to aspire to be in the NFL. That doesn't mean they'll all make it, but they'll be better men for having gone through that experience."
No resting on laurels Oakland Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen was honored by the Sporting News as the NFL executive of the year, but the son of late Redskins coach George Allen said his father wouldn't have patted him on the back for a job well done.
"My dad would have said, 'Good for you. What free agents did you talk to today? What have you done to help us win today,'" Bruce Allen said with a smile.
Officiating change In the wake of controversial officiating rulings in the 49ers-Giants playoff game, the NFL has decided to choose its postseason officials as crews instead of as individuals. The feeling is that the all-star nature of past crews has led to some problems because the officials hadn't worked together previously. However, split crews are still likely since officials in their first and second years aren't eligible for postseason and only those with at least five years of experience are allowed to work a Super Bowl.
Officiating director Mike Pereira said "it's a huge change," and believes the new system also will push crews to work together better during the season. Pereira said there has been some grumbling by his officials, but that "this is the right thing to do. The commissioner said we can't stay with the status quo."
Playoffs, OT on deck Competition committee co-chairman Rich McKay said he expects votes today on the proposals to expand from 12 to 14 playoff teams and to mandate one possession for each team in overtime. McKay senses a ground swell for the former but not the latter. Each requires approval by 24 of the 32 owners.

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