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Sunday, February 3, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In mid-August leading up to this past season, the Washington Redskins were a fairly busy NFL franchise.

They were reeling from the torn knee ligaments that rookie starting running back Derrius Guice suffered in the Aug. 9 preseason 26-17 loss to the New England Patriots, plus dealing with the daily personnel comings and goings of putting together a roster in the final weeks before the start of the season.


On Monday, Aug. 13, they announced the signing of free agent wide receiver Dan Williams III. They also placed receiver Robert Davis in his comfort zone — the reserved/injured list.

The next day was a big personnel day — they released their highly-touted offseason free agent cornerback, Orlando Scandrick, who had been signed six months earlier to a two-year, $10 million deal. This would seem to have been a major development for the player personnel department of the team — cutting one of their big offseason free agent signings before he ever played a regular-season down in a Redskins uniform.

The day after that, they announced that former Miami Dolphins executive Todd Kline was hired as the team’s chief commercial officer (this has nothing to do with player personnel — I just threw it in for a laugh since he would be gone five months later in the infamous suit purge by owner Dan Snyder. It still defies belief).

They prepared for their second preseason game on Aug. 16 against the New York Jets at FedEx Field, a 15-13 win. Two days later, they signed three free agents — tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers and waived three players — running back Martez Carter, linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson.

Two days after that was another big day at Redskins Park — they signed free agent running back Adrian Peterson, a move that arguably saved the season, however pathetic the season would turn out to be.

You get the idea here. There was a lot happening, a busy time for anyone with the title of senior vice president of player personnel. That would be Redskins franchise icon and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams. And, to his credit, Williams is believed to be the one who invited Peterson to Redskins Park for a tryout, according to an interview he did in September on the Team 980.

But in between all this, the man with the responsibility for player personnel for the Redskins took another gig. Williams was named by the University of Maryland Board of Regents to the commission appointed to look into the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair.

For the next two months, Williams devoted 47 hours of his time to his work for the commission, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post. His time was documented in an invoice submitted to the board by Williams for $30,550 for his time — time apparently that the football team didn’t think was that valuable.

I mean, after all, what NFL franchise lets their top personnel guy take on another commitment at such a crucial time — heck at any time during the season? We are talking about nearly six eight-hour days of work that, unless Williams falsified his invoice, was not spent on Washington Redskins business.

Aren’t these guys sleeping in their offices, in between scouring the waiver wires, roaming the streets and looking under rocks for players?

Williams, according to the documents, put in 47 hours of work for the commission helping with a “review of interview memos, Commission conference calls, drafting conference calls and meeting with the Board of Regents,” the Post reported.

How many people do you think in the New England Patriots player personnel department were given 47 hours to do any work other than what was needed to help the Patriots reach their ninth Super Bowl in 18 years? Heck, Bill Belichick locks his coaches in sensory deprivation flotation tanks so they don’t need as much sleep.

But we are not talking about just anybody in player personnel. We are talking about supposedly, if we are to believe the organization, the top player personnel guy, the team’s senior vice president of player personnel.

There was a lot to be outraged about in the Post story about the money grab by commission members serving on a fraudulent commission that only served to become part of the embarrassment the University of Maryland brought on itself in its handling of the McNair probe and subsequent actions — an ongoing embarrassment, I might add, with the continued presence of athletic director Damon Evans at the school.

But if you are one of the dwindling few that are still Redskins fans, your outrage — if you have any left — might be directed at the idea that the team’s player personnel boss was spending a large chunk of his time during a crucial time of the season doing something other trying to improve the football team. Based on the walking wounded list of injuries this past season, it would seem like finding players to replace them was kind of important — and, I would assume, Williams‘ responsibility.

What the Maryland commission documents reveal — if anyone needed any more convincing — is that, when it comes to the Redskins, yes, Williams has a title. And yes, he may have a voice.

But he does not have THE title. He does not have THE voice. 

Both of those belong to, and remain with, the Prince of Darkness — team president Bruce Allen.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.


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