Mike Shanahan was fired as coach of the Washington Redskins, ending a four-year tenure that included one playoff appearance and was damaged by a deteriorating relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III and owner Daniel Snyder.
Shanahan, 61, had a losing record in three of his four seasons with the team after winning two Super Bowl titles over an 18-year run as coach of the Denver Broncos.
“Redskins fans deserve a better result,” Snyder said in a statement released on Twitter. “We thank Mike for his efforts on behalf of the Redskins. We will focus on what it takes to build a winning team.”
Shanahan said at a televised news conference after his firing that the team was in better shape than when he took over four years ago, thanks to improved position under the salary cap.
“It’s always tough to have depth and that’s what I thought hurt us this year -- depth on our special teams, depth on our defense,” Shanahan said, thanking Snyder and the fans for the opportunity. “We didn’t have the speed that we had a year ago.”
Shanahan was let go with one year and $7 million left on his contract, and his exit comes three weeks after Shanahan shut down Griffin, the second overall pick in the 2011 National Football League draft, for the final three games of the season.
Shanahan said he was seeking to protect Griffin, who underwent knee surgery in January, from injury with the Redskins out of playoff contention. Griffin missed the team’s offseason workouts this year while rehabilitating his knee. Griffin said he wanted to finish this season with his teammates.
Shanahan had grown weary with the way Snyder empowered Griffin and esteemed him above other players on the team, ESPN reported earlier this month, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation.
Since Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, the franchise has one playoff victory and four winning seasons.
The Redskins in 2012 finished the regular season with a seven-game winning streak to rebound from a 3-6 start and capture the National Football Conference East division title. Griffin was voted the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year as Washington reached the playoffs for the first time since the 2007 season. This season, the Redskins had the second-worst record in the NFL.
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