Three days before the Washington Redskins open training camp, another link to their glory days of the 1980s and early 1990s is gone. Longtime assistant coach Don Breaux retired Thursday because of a heart condition.
Breaux, who turns 68 on Aug. 3, coached Washington’s running backs as they reached the playoffs eight times and won four NFC titles and three Super Bowls from 1981 to 1993. Four of Breaux’s backs reached 1,000 yards: Hall of Famer John Riggins (1983-84), George Rogers (1985-86), Earnest Byner (1990-91) and Reggie Brooks (1993).
When new coach Norv Turner cleaned house in 1994, Breaux moved on to the New York Jets as tight ends coach and then worked in that capacity for the Carolina Panthers from 1995 to 2002.
Breaux returned to the Redskins in 2004 under his former boss, Joe Gibbs. While he had the title of offensive coordinator, Gibbs (2004-05) and associate head coach Al Saunders (2006-07) designed the offense. Breaux’s main responsibilities were in game-planning.
A quarterback for the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers for three seasons, the Jennings, La., native moved into coaching in 1966 at Florida State. Gibbs joined the staff the next year. They worked together again at Arkansas in 1971 before reuniting in Washington. All told, Breaux coached 40 seasons, 27 in the NFL.
“I felt it was a privilege to coach for one of the NFL’s premier franchises for 17 years under an outstanding leader of men in Joe Gibbs,” Breaux said in a statement. “I also want to pay tribute to Dan Snyder, who I feel operates a first-class organization for the fans, players, coaches and staff. I wish the Redskins success under new head coach Jim Zorn. I was looking forward to working with Coach Zorn and the staff.”
Breaux’s departure leaves only offensive line coach Joe Bugel and tight ends coach Rennie Simmons from Gibbs’ original staff. Only defensive coordinator Greg Blache, receivers coach Stan Hixon, safeties coach Steve Jackson, linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and special teams coach Danny Smith remain from the first season of Gibbs’ second Redskins tenure.
Note - The Hall of Fame announced that Redskins enshrinees Gibbs, Ken Houston, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor will join inductees Darrell Green, Art Monk and Emmitt Thomas for the Aug. 2 ceremony in Canton, Ohio.