- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

The long and distinguished NFL career of Bobby Beathard finally is nearing an end. And this time, it seems, for good.

The former Washington Redskins general manager and current Atlanta Falcons senior consultant said in a phone interview yesterday that he will retire again after his one-year deal ends with the Falcons, who play host Sunday to the Washington Redskins.

“This will be the last season,” said Beathard, who from 1978 to 1989 constructed a Redskins club that played in four Super Bowls and won three titles. The last championship came after the 1991 season, by which point he had moved on to the San Diego Chargers.

“There’s a lot of things I don’t miss about the game,” he explained. “But game days, the friendships, a lot of neat people … when it’s over and I look back, if I ask myself would I do it again, the answer is absolutely. It was worth it. [Falcons owner] Arthur Blank has given me a great friendship.”

Beathard, 66, also retired in 1999 following a decade with the Chargers. But he nearly returned to the Redskins as general manager in January 2002 after owner Dan Snyder fired coach and president of football operations Marty Schottenheimer. A few months later, Beathard was lured back to a position of far less intensity by Blank.

Beathard planned on leaving the Falcons after one year, but Blank took him to dinner after April’s draft and talked him into staying for another. The first 12 months, though, were far more hands-on; his wife, Christine, counted just 37 days in that span that he was back at their home in San Diego.

“This year it will be a lot more than that,” Beathard said. “We agreed on a schedule that allows me to get home much more often.”

Also with the Falcons is minority owner Joe Gibbs, the Redskins coach for the four Super Bowl trips in the 1980s and early 1990s. Gibbs, who could not be reached yesterday, introduced Blank to Beathard, but generally he does little in Falcons day-to-day operations. Gibbs will not be at Sunday’s game.

“Arthur does talk with Joe, but Joe is never there second-guessing,” Beathard said. “[But] I get calls from Joe when we don’t do well. ‘This is the owner calling,’ he says. ‘You work for me now.’ He’s got a great sense of humor.”

Beathard was at the airport as he spoke, preparing to fly back to Atlanta for the game. He said the contest would be “real interesting” but not for any reason that relates to him.

“I don’t look at it as anything special,” Beathard said. “I look at it as another game early in the season that we need to win.”

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