Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan declined Sunday to deny a report that he was close to quitting a year ago.
The strain was showing from Sunday's 45-10 thumping by the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as the constant swirl of questions about his status. ESPN reported before the game that Shanahan almost quit in January because of the relationship between owner Dan Snyder and quarterback Robert Griffin III.
According to the report, Shanahan was tired of Snyder empowering Griffin and giving him special treatment.
Disillusioned with the way Snyder was running the organization, Shanahan cleaned out his office in advance of last January's wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and expected to leave the team whenever the season ended, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
But when Griffin injured his knee in that game, Shanahan changed his mind, according to ESPN.
He believed leaving at that point was no longer an option. He didn't want the general public, or possibly even his players, to think he left because of Griffin's injury.
Shanahan generally tries to quash such stories. He didn't bother this time.
“It’s not the right time and place to talk about my relationship with Dan Snyder, or it’s not the right time and place to talk about something that happened a year ago,” Shanahan said. “I’ll get a chance to talk to Dan at the end of the season and I’ll give him some viewpoints from me and I’m sure he’ll give me his thoughts on what direction we’ll go, and so we’ll communicate that at the proper time.”
Monday afternoon, Shanahan said he spoke to Snyder in the morning and the two have a good relationship, but he wouldn't say any more about what was said, instead trying to turn the focus to the upcoming game against Atlanta.
He did say the notion of clearing out his office made him shake his head.
"It would take two minutes to clear out my office," he said. "I've got two notebooks and an iPad."
Some say Shanahan leaked the story so Snyder would fire him and Shanahan could then keep $7 million for next season without coming back to coach Washington, News4’s Dianna Russini reported.
Griffin said he is tired of the off-field stories.
“Some things are allowed to happen, and we can cut a lot of this stuff out, and it’s not being cut out, though,” he said. “I don’t know what else I can do about that.”
Asked about his relationship with Snyder, Griffin said: “I'm not going to talk about that stuff guys. It's not even relevant to the football game. It's not relevant to my life.”
A team source told News4’s Russini that this is the worst the relationship between quarterback and coach has been in Griffin’s two seasons in the NFL.
Shanahan is 24-37 since coming to Washington in 2010, on pace for a third last-place finish in four seasons with one year to go on his contract. He increasingly looks like the odd man out in the triangle of owner, coach and influential franchise player.