- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2002

Coach Marty Schottenheimer's future with the Washington Redskins remained bleak after a meeting with owner Dan Snyder yesterday at Redskin Park failed to resolve differences.

Schottenheimer had hoped for a resolution before he leaves tomorrow on a three-week vacation, but Snyder has seemed in no hurry to decide the fate of the coaching staff. Several assistants already have left on vacation, and some have taken personal items from the team offices. Team sources said several are pessimistic about their chances of remaining, but Schottenheimer has shared little information with his staff.

Schottenheimer departed after 41/2 hours at Redskin Park, including a meeting with Snyder for the first time at the Ashburn facility following two talks elsewhere. Minority owner Gerry Snyder also met with Schottenheimer.

"There's no new developments," Schottenheimer said when television crews encircled him en route to his car. "I'm sure Mr. Snyder and I will have [another] occasion to meet."

NFL sources said Snyder had been expected to dismiss Schottenheimer on Monday before the coach unexpectedly agreed to the hiring of a general manager. Schottenheimer previously had refused to cede his complete control of operations. Team sources said Schottenheimer first feared Snyder's increased involvement through a player personnel director but decided the owner had the right to increase his control. Former Washington general manager Bobby Beathard appears ready to sign should Schottenheimer depart, according to NFL sources.

"This isn't about Marty coaching," a team source said. "This is about Dan Snyder wanting to become more involved."

Meanwhile, Arizona Cardinals coaches will oversee the Senior Bowl on Jan.26 instead of the Redskins' staff. Washington was expected to handle the all-star game's coaching duties after finishing with the best record among NFC teams that didn't make the playoffs, which traditionally requires involvement. Schottenheimer said it was "a league decision" and refused to comment whether it indicated the Redskins staff would be dismissed.

Snyder and Schottenheimer haven't discussed a buyout of the $7.5million over three years remaining on his contract, according to NFL sources. Schottenheimer won't accept less, team sources said.

Schottenheimer rediscovered his love of coaching this season after a two-year retirement, and any chances of working elsewhere during his contract's duration would require a release by the Redskins. A settlement for less money in exchange for his release would be possible.

Schottenheimer still appeared adamant about retaining his assistant coaches. Snyder has sought the release of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and possibly quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer. However, Schottenheimer has made it a personal point of conviction to stand by his longtime coordinator and son rather than surrender control of his own staff.

Even conceding a new general manager wouldn't interfere with Schottenheimer's oversight of assistants.

Still, Raye has told friends he expects to be dismissed despite Schottenheimer's backing. The offense scored only 256 points, fourth fewest in the NFL. The Redskins were 28th offensively and 30th in passing. Snyder scouted possible first-round quarterbacks during the season, and team sources said the owner is looking for a sexier offense than Schottenheimer's run-first scheme with only high-percentage short passes.

Snyder continues to pursue former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who met with Carolina Panthers officials the past two days. Snyder offered Spurrier the job before hiring Schottenheimer last year and tried to talk with him in September during the Redskins' 0-5 start. NFL sources said Spurrier claimed he didn't talk to Snyder at the time.

Carolina and Tampa Bay are considered the front-runners for Spurrier, though Atlanta and San Diego are possibilities. Spurrier said he's not in a rush to make a decision, especially with Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy's status undecided. Tampa Bay meets Philadelphia tomorrow in the first round of the NFC playoffs.

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