The Redskins fired general manager Scot McCloughan Thursday, ending weeks of speculation over his role in the organization.
“The Washington Redskins have released Scot McCloughan from the organization effective immediately,” team president Bruce Allen said in a statement. “We wish him success in his future endeavors. The team will have no further comment on his departure. The organization remains confident in our personnel department as we execute our free agency plans as well as prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft.”
McCloughan had just finished the second year of a four-year deal that was initially marketed as one that would bring a smart football mind in to call the shots on personnel decisions.
“I’m sure he wouldn’t have taken the job if he didn’t have the opportunity to do it his way,” Ron Wolf, the Green Bay Packers architect and one of McCloughan’s mentors, said after McCloughan was hired.
“He’s going to be in charge of all the personnel department and the personnel on this team,” Allen said when the team announced McCloughan’s hiring.
Over the last weeks, though, McCloughan was clearly on the margins of the organization and removed from decision making.
He did not attend the NFL Scouting Combine, the largest college scouting event of the year, last week in Indianapolis. Allen and a team spokesman claimed his absence was due to the death of his 100-year-old grandmother, which rang false given that her passing had come nearly a month before and McCloughan had already returned to work in the interim.
Allen said that McCloughan would return as soon as the family matter was resolved, but McCloughan was not at Redskins Park for the start of the NFL’s legal tampering period on Tuesday. His absence made it clear that he was disconnected from the organization as important contract negotiations took place.
The Redskins made several moves in the past couple of days, re-signing tight end Vernon Davis and adding three free agents on Thursday. McCloughan was obviously not a part of those negotiations.
Terrell McClain, a defensive lineman the Redskins signed away from the Cowboys Thursday, told the AP that he wasn’t nervous about signing but acknowledged that his new team has “a whole bunch of issues going on right now.”
A Redskins official with knowledge of the situation told the Washington Post that ongoing issues with alcohol led to McCloughan being let go. The official claimed McCloughan had shown up drunk in the locker room on numerous occasions and that ongoing alcohol treatment hadn’t helped the situation.
McCloughan’s struggles with alcohol abuse had already cost him front office positions with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010 and with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.
The Redskins hired him in 2015 with the understanding that McCloughan had a checkered past. They gambled on him, it seemed, in order to benefit from his smarts.
“I want to be thought of, when I’m all done with this, as a good person, a good scout and I took care of my guys,” McCloughan said after taking the job in 2015. “That’s what matters to me. Wins, losses very important. I understand that. But, good person.”
Allen and cap guru Eric Schaffer have been working as the de facto general managers with McCloughan out of the building, but his firing leaves the Redskins without a critical employee at one of the most pivotal points in the offseason.