- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Washington Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer's future appeared doubtful after a showdown over his staff with owner Dan Snyder last night.

Schottenheimer couldn't be reached for comment, but NFL sources said Schottenheimer expected Snyder to demand the firing of offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and possibly quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer during the meeting as part of a front office shakeup that may also include a new general manager. However, Schottenheimer said during a season-ending news conference that he didn't envision staff changes despite an anemic offense.

"I have no comment on my future other than I'm the coach of the Redskins and proud to be so," Schottenheimer said. "What you do is you make sure you continue to focus on the things you think are important. Don't worry about things you have no control over. [Thats] always been my philosophy. I espoused that to the rest of the staff."

The meeting follows three days of uncertainty where many front office staffers expected Snyder to fire Schottenheimer and his assistants after the owner's pursuit of former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who resigned Friday to seek an NFL job. Schottenheimer is owed $7.5 million over the final three years of his contract. A Redskins spokesperson denied a CBS Sportsline report that Schottenheimer accepted a $5 million settlement.

Spurrier is also being courted by the Carolina Panthers and possibly the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but yesterday said he would consider a job only as a coach and not also general manager. That would fit with the Redskins, who are also talking to former Washington general manager Bobby Beathard. NFL sources said one of Beathard's considerations was picking the coaching staff.

Schottenheimer plans offensive changes after the 8-8 season. Trading for New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe was among possible moves mentioned. Team sources said Schottenheimer would also accept Snyder hiring a general manager that would end Schottenheimer's complete control of football operations.

Uncertainty was the dominant feeling around Redskin Park. Many front office staffers and assistant coaches felt in flux, uncertain whether they'll remain. Then again, several assistants never really bonded with the organization and even used Kansas City Chiefs travel bags for part of the season.

"You can't really tell what's going to happen in the next week," running back Stephen Davis said.

Said quarterback Tony Banks: "Everybody's obviously anxious to get on with whatever's going to happen in their personal careers and what's going on with this staff. There's a lot of uncertainty so we're trying to find out as much as we can."

Several players said final meetings with assistant coaches left everyone unsure whether they were saying final goodbyes. However, many players backed the staff. They want some consistency to an organization that has seen three coaches in 13 months and three defensive coordinators in three seasons.

"It breeds winning when we have familiarity with the people that are going to be around," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "If Marty and the rest of the guys come back it will have a great start next year because we've got all of our nuts and bolts tightened up this year. It will mess up our time frame a little bit if we bring in a different staff. The coaching staff seemed real optimistic about coming back and giving this another crack next year. This coaching staff is more than capable of getting us to the highest level."

Schottenheimer met briefly with every player down to the practice squad after a short team meeting focusing on past accomplishments instead of next season. Players appreciated the pressure Schottenheimer's feeling.

"I don't want to know his business," defensive tackle Kenard Lang said. "He has too much stress on his own coaching this team."

The mention of Spurrier drew darting looks from players who once faced his Gators. Where ever Spurrier lands, players felt the coach would have to learn to deal with an older roster.

"[Spurrier] has to realize he has men instead of little boys who just let their mommy and daddy," Lang said. "He's one of those love'em-or-hate'em kind of guys. He's not arrogant, but he's real, real, real confident."

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