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It wasn’t all smiles and handshakes in Washington, though. If Gibbs‘ masterwork during the strike wasn’t impressive enough, he then had to incorporate the few replacements the front office opted to keep with the returning union members.

“It was obviously awkward,” Thielemann said. “We called them scabs and all that like we were a coal mine union or something. We really weren’t. But at the end of the year we realized they just wanted to play like we did. The few that were left that made the team, we were glad they were there.”

Added Gibbs: “That was rough. I think that’s why today this is going to be much different. Players and owners know once they get this thing negotiated, they’re going to come in together.”

The lessons learned that season about the importance of unity and leadership still apply, though.

They’re part of what Gibbs shared with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan when Ryan sought his counsel earlier this offseason. And they’re why current Redskins leaders such as London Fletcher and Lorenzo Alexander have stressed the importance of offseason workouts during the lockout.

“They stuck together and had their workouts as a group,” Gibbs said. “They had good leadership in there and they had veteran guys who were real Redskins. The Redskins meant a lot to them. When you get real leadership, that probably had a lot to say about what happened that year.”