- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent, a longtime friend and former teammate of Jim Zorn’s, said during a radio interview Wednesday that the Washington Redskins coach contemplated resigning after management stripped him of his playcalling duties.

“Yes, he did consider it. And no, he did not want to give up those responsibilities,” Largent said on Seattle’s KJR-AM. “They went to the point of pulling out his contract and said, ‘You have to do whatever the owner tells you to do.’ His choice was to either resign or to continue on under the current scenario. Jim’s not a quitter. He said he wasn’t going to quit on his coaching staff and quit on this team.”

Asked after practice whether he considered stepping down, Zorn nervously laughed and danced around the question.

“That’s probably [Largent’s] thoughts on the process,” Zorn said. “I don’t really know what he’s said.”

Zorn would not comment on how his contract is structured, but the Redskins denied it includes a clause that gives owner Dan Snyder and executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato power to strip playcalling duties.

Hours after the Redskins’ loss to Kansas City on Sunday, Cerrato installed offensive consultant Sherman Lewis, with the team only two weeks, as the play caller, a move Largent called a “joke.”

“To think that’s going to be successful, that’s a joke. That is really a joke,” he said. “The embarrassment lies at the feet of the people who made the decision, and that was not Jim. To think you can bring in a guy from a retirement center who’s pulling out pingpong balls at the bingo games in Detroit - bring him down here for two weeks and say, ‘You’re going to call the plays for the next game’… I think it will be humbling and embarrassing for the Redskins’ owner and management that made the decision.”

Largent, who still lives in the D.C. area, said he speaks with Zorn often.

“I haven’t talked to him in a while,” Zorn said. “Friends, they kind of get fired up for friends. I’ll have to go bust him.”

Largent unloaded on Snyder and Cerrato, saying Zorn has faced long odds since he was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach in February 2008.

“He was told who his coaches were going to be. He was told who his players were going to be. He didn’t have any opportunity to go, seek and find players and coaches that he wanted to fill out the team with a couple of exceptions,” Largent said. “He inherited everything that he has to work with today, and yet all the blame is being laid on his feet because he can’t make them Super Bowl champions, which I could have told you two years ago. They don’t have a Super Bowl-quality team, so it doesn’t matter how good a coach you are - you’re not going to get there with the players the owner gives you.

“The formula that the Redskins’ owner and the Redskins’ GM have for producing a winner on the field is not a winning formula. … It’s been proven for 10 years in a row. The failure of the Redskins is not about Jim Zorn.”

If Zorn is fired, Largent said the next coach needs to make sure Snyder will stay away from Redskin Park as much as possible.

“That would be my advice to anybody coming into this coaching position,” Largent said. “I would say, ‘You need to make sure, if you want to be successful and win here, you have to make sure you have a GM or you are the GM of the team and that you have autonomy over what the GM decides and that Dan agrees he’s going to step away and let you run the organization.’ ”

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