- The Washington Times - Friday, December 18, 2009

Bruce Allen seemingly was destined to become the general manager of the Washington Redskins, the job he was given Thursday.

As a teenager, Allen nearly was tossed from the sideline during a Redskins game for cursing at the officials - an outburst that caused his father, the coach, to deny knowing him in an effort to avoid a penalty.

As an adult, Allen built the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that the Redskins victimized for their only playoff victory this decade.

Allen believes passionately in, well, passion - as did his father, George, the Hall of Famer who turned the long-moribund Redskins into winners in the 1970s.

“The greatest thing is the passion, love of what you’re doing,” said Allen, who ran the Oakland Raiders’ front office from 1995 to 2003, then spent five seasons with the Bucs. “I worked at a gas station on Route 7 by Tysons Corner. A car pulls up, and it was [my father]. He didn’t like the way I came out of the gas station. Whatever you’re doing, have a passion for it.”

Asked why he wants to work for owner Dan Snyder, Allen said, “I like Dan for his passion.”

Allen, 53, sounded just like his father when he talked about the key to success.

“The principles of football in my mind are simple,” he said. “It’s a team. It’s 53 men, an entire staff, everybody in the building going in the same direction for one common purpose - and that’s to win.”

Allen wasn’t a big winner with the Raiders (a 72-72 regular-season record with three playoff berths in nine seasons) or the Buccaneers (38-42 with two playoff berths in five seasons). But he did help produce the Raiders’ only Super Bowl team of the past 25 years and the Buccaneers’ only consecutive winning seasons since 2001-02.

Allen is credited with solving the Bucs’ salary cap problems, but in doing so he rid the roster of longtime standouts Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Simeon Rice. He also traded malcontent wideout Keyshawn Johnson for the more productive Joey Galloway and revived the careers of receiver Antonio Bryant and defensive end Stylez White. He did make a crucial move that didn’t pan out when he gave quarterback Chris Simms a huge contract.

The Bucs won the NFC South in 2005 and 2007 but were bounced from the playoffs early each time, scoring a total of just 24 points in home losses to Washington and the New York Giants.

Only one of Allen’s 47 draft picks in Tampa Bay, guard Davin Joseph, has reached the Pro Bowl. And only one of his 34 free agent signings, punter Josh Bidwell, has been so honored.

Allen’s first year with Tampa Bay was his worst. He gave big contracts to past-their-prime veterans - offensive linemen Derrick Deese and Todd Steussie and running back Charlie Garner. And he drafted a bunch of busts, headed by first-round receiver Michael Clayton, who has scored four touchdowns in the past four-plus seasons.

When the Bucs lost their final four games to miss the playoffs last season, Allen and coach Jon Gruden, a prime candidate to coach the Redskins in 2010, were fired.

“Bruce Allen is a great football mind and an even better person,” said Gruden, now an analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” “He is a leader and a great fit for this job. He’s a big reason why I had any success in coaching.”

Allen, an agent before becoming an executive, used his time off to visit former opponents around the league.

“Hopefully learning [and] having more experience, we can make sure we have less mistakes and more correct decisions,” he said.

Allen’s track record was better in Oakland. He was named executive of the year in 2002, when the Raiders capped three straight AFC West titles with a conference championship. They were routed by Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII.

“He’s a proven winner,” Snyder said. “He has a great passion for the game, a passion for winning. He’s a great communicator. He has a tireless work ethic. He works around the clock. It’s an added bonus that he understands the tradition and heritage of the Washington Redskins.”

On that point, there’s no argument. Allen referred to some members of his father’s famed “Over the Hill Gang” as extended family.

Bubba Tyer, the Redskins’ trainer for 37 years before retiring after last season, remembers throwing Bruce and his brother George, the future Virginia governor and senator, out of the training room for spitting tobacco.

“If he’s as dedicated as his dad, as one-dimensional about winning as his dad,” Tyer said, “we’ll be fine.”

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