Shanahan takes control of Redskins
ASHBURN, Va. — At the podium stood Mike Shanahan, who has a $35 million, five-year contract that gives him final authority over football decisions as head coach and executive vice president of the Washington Redskins.
Seated at a nearby table was Bruce Allen, the first general manager Dan Snyder has hired in 11 years of owning the team.
And nowhere on the stage was Snyder, who sat next to his wife Tanya as a member of the audience in the Redskins Park auditorium. It was the first time he hasn't introduced a new coach, a powerful symbol of how the balance of power has shifted within a proud franchise.
"Dan Snyder has directed us to please get this team back to the levels where it's been in the past," Allen said. "And I believe he's going to be our most supportive fan."
Shanahan made his formal debut yesterday, one day after signing his contract and just two days after Jim Zorn was fired following a 4-12 season. The winner of two Super Bowls in the 1990s with the Denver Broncos spoke mainly in generalities with polish and confidence, far from the nervous and ragged performance given by rookie coach Zorn 23 months ago.
"I've got very high standards, just like everybody in this organization," Shanahan said. "I can't tell you how long it's going to take. But I can guarantee you: We'll get better every day and hopefully it won't take long to get back to where this organization has been."
Browns: Eric Mangini drove away from the Cleveland Browns' team headquarters after having his big meeting with new team president Mike Holmgren. It's not known if he's coming back. The team is not expected to comment on Mangini's situation until there's an announcement.
Also yesterday, the agent for Browns return specialist Josh Cribbs said the Pro Bowler will clean out his locker at the team's facility after an insulting contract offer from the club. Peter Schaffer said he gave the Browns until the end of the business day yesterday to come up with a better deal than the $1.4 million per year they offered. Cribbs has three years remaining on a six-year, $6.77 million deal.
Bengals: Police will not charge the fiancee of Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry in connection with his death. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said yesterday that there was no evidence that Loleini Tonga drove recklessly or with excessive speed last month when Henry came out of the back of her pickup truck and suffered fatal injuries.
Jets: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says he is content and hopes he remains in New York "for a long time" as rumors swirl about the Buffalo Bills' interest in him for their vacant head coaching position. Schottenheimer says he's "really happy" for the first time in a long time and "loves" the Jets and coach Rex Ryan.
Brady's strong comeback: Tom Brady's strong return from a left knee injury that cost him the entire 2008 season has earned the New England Patriots quarterback The Associated Press 2009 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.
Harvin is top offensive rookie: Minnesota's Percy Harvin won The Associated Press 2009 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. A first-round draft pick, 22nd overall out of Florida, Harvin had 60 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns, and returned 42 kickoffs for 1,156 yards (27.5 per) and two touchdowns.