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Thread: WP: Redskins, Coles Just Could Not Reconcile

  1. #1
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...0-2005Mar8.html

    Redskins, Coles Just Could Not Reconcile

    By Nunyo Demasio
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page D01


    The pivotal moment for Laveranues Coles occurred during the regular season finale, when the Washington Redskins defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 21-18, at FedEx Field. During the season, the Redskins wide receiver had expressed displeasure to Coach Joe Gibbs about Washington's conservative offense, and the two met near the midway point of the season to try to work things out. But Coles felt that little had changed in Gibbs's system the rest of the way. And with the Redskins eliminated from the playoffs, and tailback Clinton Portis out with an injury, Coles searched for a sign that things would change for next season.

    Against the Vikings, however, Coles finished with three catches for 37 yards as Gibbs called 31 rushes, mostly for reserve tailback Ladell Betts. Despite the victory, Coles felt that Gibbs's play-calling indicated that he had no future in Washington.

    "That was the final nail in the coffin," Coles, who was traded to the New York Jets last weekend for wide receiver Santana Moss, said yesterday. "He [Gibbs] wasn't flexible. We didn't see eye to eye. I just felt like it [the offense] wasn't for me. He knew that. I knew that. So we felt that it was best that we both go our separate ways."

    After the season, Gibbs and Coles attempted to reconcile at Redskins Park during two extended meetings.

    On Jan. 3, the day after the season finale, Gibbs instructed an assistant to get Coles for a meeting. But Coles left Redskins Park without talking to Gibbs. Coles said he returned to the facility later to meet with Gibbs. "I was wrong for walking out," Coles said. "I admit that, but I went back."

    Gibbs initially broached the matter of Coles's right big toe injury, which has bothered him the past two seasons. But the discussion eventually turned to Coles's desire to leave. According to Coles, Gibbs said that his departure could be worked out if Coles forfeited some money. "He said: 'The other option is you might have to stay here,' " Coles recalled. " 'I know you don't want to do that because it wouldn't be comfortable for either of us.' "

    After the meeting, Coles said that he left it up to his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, to work out a departure. Coles said that being released was initially Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's idea. In return, Coles would forfeit the final payment of his signing bonus: $5 million due April 1.

    "It went from: 'Okay,' to 'We never shook on it,' " Coles said, "to 'We never even said it.' When me and Gibbs talked about it first, it seemed like that's what was going to happen."

    Gibbs, in meetings most of yesterday, did not return a call seeking comment. Snyder's spokesman, Karl Swanson, did not return voice messages seeking comment.

    Gibbs has said that both sides never made such an agreement. Barnes didn't return several calls yesterday. Coles said later that Gibbs told him in a telephone conversation that such an agreement was never finalized.

    Indeed in the final meeting in mid-February, Gibbs tried to reconcile with his disgruntled player, Coles said. Gibbs explained he planned to open up the offense. Coles said he apologized if he had been a locker-room distraction.

    Coles said he took notes during the meeting. "It went great," Coles said. "After that, he thought we might be able to work things out."

    However, Coles said that the situation disintegrated after a Feb. 21 article in the Washington Post that described his unhappiness with the Redskins and reported that the two sides had reached an oral agreement that would likely lead to his release. The Redskins and Coles accused each other of disclosing private information, Coles said, and disagreed on a solution.

    "We agreed to keep everything out of the media," Coles said. "But once everything hit the fan and came out, they just went ballistic. They started talking nasty and everything went south. It went from night to day.

    "I'm not totally innocent, I admit that. I was frustrated this whole year. But they didn't handle things much better. I think people's pride and manhood got in the way. Mr. Snyder was made to look like a liar because it looked like he was backing out of an agreement."

    Coles said that he knew that things reached the point of no return two weeks ago after a phone conversation with Snyder, who, Coles said, threatened to make life miserable for him if the team was forced to bring him back. Coles said that Snyder was Angry that the wideout had initially caused the trade with the Jets for Moss to collapse on Feb. 26 by demanding a contract extension.

    "He said: 'If you come back here, you'll never play again,' " Coles recalled, adding that Snyder promised to send him a flat-screen TV on which to watch games. " 'We'll bench you for two years then we'll cut you.' He said: 'If you come back, we'll torture you.' "

    "Once he was threatening me, I said to myself: 'Man, I know I have to leave.' I knew I couldn't come back because of the way they handled it."

    Coles said that he was so disturbed by Snyder's remarks that he called later. "I said. 'Why would you threaten my career? I've done nothing wrong,' " Coles said. "And [Snyder] admitted that he was being emotional."

    During an extensive telephone interview yesterday, Coles expressed ambivalence about how his departure occurred. Coles said that he was reluctant to criticize Gibbs -- "he's a legend," Coles said -- but felt compelled to speak the truth about an offense that took too long to open up.

    And while Coles said that his former coach was too resistant to change in an outdated offense, the wideout believes that Gibbs's determination will eventually pay off.

    "The best thing I can say about him is he's proven that he can win," Coles said. "And I know with his determination he's going to get that team turned around. He told us that whether it's this year, next year or the year after, he's going to have guys on his team that are going to want to win and fight for him. With his work ethic, he will eventually get that done. But I was just too miserable to stay aboard."

    Coles added that despite his criticism of the organization, he wishes the Redskins well, especially former teammates.

    The Redskins signed Coles as a restricted free agent in March 2003. Coles, 27, played his first season with Washington under coach Steve Spurrier, whose downfield passing game suited the 5-foot-11, 193-pound receiver.

    Despite Coles's complaints about Gibbs's offense, he finished with the second-most passes thrown his way in the NFL last year, according to Stats Inc. The Redskins threw in Coles's direction 168 times -- two fewer than wideout Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, most of the balls to Coles were intermediate passes, and Coles finished with only one touchdown -- on an option pass from Portis.

    Coles said that he became more miserable each week of the season because there were few signs that the offense was being altered. "With the losing, it became depressing," Coles said. "It wore on me mentally."

    Coles said that he grew most disenchanted late in the season when, he said, the coaching staff went out its way to help Portis try to reach 1,500 yards. (Portis would have become the first player in NFL history to reach the milestone in his first three seasons.) After Portis suffered an injury in Washington's next-to-last game, Coles said, Gibbs dismissed Coles's desire to finish with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

    "When it was my turn, they threw me three balls in the first half," said Coles, who finished with a career-high 90 catches for 950 yards, but with a career-low 10.6 yards per catch. "I told him, 'Coach I don't feel like I'm one of your guys, so I need to go somewhere else.' "

    What would Coles miss about Washington?

    He paused: "The fans and some of my teammates. The past football season was the most miserable season I had as a football player. I should never feel the way I felt, and I never want to feel that way again."

  2. #2
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    Originally posted by Section109Row15@Mar 9 2005, 09:48 AM
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...0-2005Mar8.html

    Redskins, Coles Just Could Not Reconcile

    By Nunyo Demasio
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page D01


    The pivotal moment for Laveranues Coles occurred during the regular season finale, when the Washington Redskins defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 21-18, at FedEx Field. During the season, the Redskins wide receiver had expressed displeasure to Coach Joe Gibbs about Washington's conservative offense, and the two met near the midway point of the season to try to work things out. But Coles felt that little had changed in Gibbs's system the rest of the way. And with the Redskins eliminated from the playoffs, and tailback Clinton Portis out with an injury, Coles searched for a sign that things would change for next season.

    Against the Vikings, however, Coles finished with three catches for 37 yards as Gibbs called 31 rushes, mostly for reserve tailback Ladell Betts. Despite the victory, Coles felt that Gibbs's play-calling indicated that he had no future in Washington.

    "That was the final nail in the coffin," Coles, who was traded to the New York Jets last weekend for wide receiver Santana Moss, said yesterday. "He [Gibbs] wasn't flexible. We didn't see eye to eye. I just felt like it [the offense] wasn't for me. He knew that. I knew that. So we felt that it was best that we both go our separate ways."

    After the season, Gibbs and Coles attempted to reconcile at Redskins Park during two extended meetings.

    On Jan. 3, the day after the season finale, Gibbs instructed an assistant to get Coles for a meeting. But Coles left Redskins Park without talking to Gibbs. Coles said he returned to the facility later to meet with Gibbs. "I was wrong for walking out," Coles said. "I admit that, but I went back."

    Gibbs initially broached the matter of Coles's right big toe injury, which has bothered him the past two seasons. But the discussion eventually turned to Coles's desire to leave. According to Coles, Gibbs said that his departure could be worked out if Coles forfeited some money. "He said: 'The other option is you might have to stay here,' " Coles recalled. " 'I know you don't want to do that because it wouldn't be comfortable for either of us.' "

    After the meeting, Coles said that he left it up to his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, to work out a departure. Coles said that being released was initially Redskins owner Daniel Snyder's idea. In return, Coles would forfeit the final payment of his signing bonus: $5 million due April 1.

    "It went from: 'Okay,' to 'We never shook on it,' " Coles said, "to 'We never even said it.' When me and Gibbs talked about it first, it seemed like that's what was going to happen."

    Gibbs, in meetings most of yesterday, did not return a call seeking comment. Snyder's spokesman, Karl Swanson, did not return voice messages seeking comment.

    Gibbs has said that both sides never made such an agreement. Barnes didn't return several calls yesterday. Coles said later that Gibbs told him in a telephone conversation that such an agreement was never finalized.

    Indeed in the final meeting in mid-February, Gibbs tried to reconcile with his disgruntled player, Coles said. Gibbs explained he planned to open up the offense. Coles said he apologized if he had been a locker-room distraction.

    Coles said he took notes during the meeting. "It went great," Coles said. "After that, he thought we might be able to work things out."

    However, Coles said that the situation disintegrated after a Feb. 21 article in the Washington Post that described his unhappiness with the Redskins and reported that the two sides had reached an oral agreement that would likely lead to his release. The Redskins and Coles accused each other of disclosing private information, Coles said, and disagreed on a solution.

    "We agreed to keep everything out of the media," Coles said. "But once everything hit the fan and came out, they just went ballistic. They started talking nasty and everything went south. It went from night to day.

    "I'm not totally innocent, I admit that. I was frustrated this whole year. But they didn't handle things much better. I think people's pride and manhood got in the way. Mr. Snyder was made to look like a liar because it looked like he was backing out of an agreement."

    Coles said that he knew that things reached the point of no return two weeks ago after a phone conversation with Snyder, who, Coles said, threatened to make life miserable for him if the team was forced to bring him back. Coles said that Snyder was Angry that the wideout had initially caused the trade with the Jets for Moss to collapse on Feb. 26 by demanding a contract extension.

    "He said: 'If you come back here, you'll never play again,' " Coles recalled, adding that Snyder promised to send him a flat-screen TV on which to watch games. " 'We'll bench you for two years then we'll cut you.' He said: 'If you come back, we'll torture you.' "

    "Once he was threatening me, I said to myself: 'Man, I know I have to leave.' I knew I couldn't come back because of the way they handled it."

    Coles said that he was so disturbed by Snyder's remarks that he called later. "I said. 'Why would you threaten my career? I've done nothing wrong,' " Coles said. "And [Snyder] admitted that he was being emotional."

    During an extensive telephone interview yesterday, Coles expressed ambivalence about how his departure occurred. Coles said that he was reluctant to criticize Gibbs -- "he's a legend," Coles said -- but felt compelled to speak the truth about an offense that took too long to open up.

    And while Coles said that his former coach was too resistant to change in an outdated offense, the wideout believes that Gibbs's determination will eventually pay off.

    "The best thing I can say about him is he's proven that he can win," Coles said. "And I know with his determination he's going to get that team turned around. He told us that whether it's this year, next year or the year after, he's going to have guys on his team that are going to want to win and fight for him. With his work ethic, he will eventually get that done. But I was just too miserable to stay aboard."

    Coles added that despite his criticism of the organization, he wishes the Redskins well, especially former teammates.

    The Redskins signed Coles as a restricted free agent in March 2003. Coles, 27, played his first season with Washington under coach Steve Spurrier, whose downfield passing game suited the 5-foot-11, 193-pound receiver.

    Despite Coles's complaints about Gibbs's offense, he finished with the second-most passes thrown his way in the NFL last year, according to Stats Inc. The Redskins threw in Coles's direction 168 times -- two fewer than wideout Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, most of the balls to Coles were intermediate passes, and Coles finished with only one touchdown -- on an option pass from Portis.

    Coles said that he became more miserable each week of the season because there were few signs that the offense was being altered. "With the losing, it became depressing," Coles said. "It wore on me mentally."

    Coles said that he grew most disenchanted late in the season when, he said, the coaching staff went out its way to help Portis try to reach 1,500 yards. (Portis would have become the first player in NFL history to reach the milestone in his first three seasons.) After Portis suffered an injury in Washington's next-to-last game, Coles said, Gibbs dismissed Coles's desire to finish with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

    "When it was my turn, they threw me three balls in the first half," said Coles, who finished with a career-high 90 catches for 950 yards, but with a career-low 10.6 yards per catch. "I told him, 'Coach I don't feel like I'm one of your guys, so I need to go somewhere else.' "

    What would Coles miss about Washington?

    He paused: "The fans and some of my teammates. The past football season was the most miserable season I had as a football player. I should never feel the way I felt, and I never want to feel that way again."
    well coles must be pretty sure his toe will pass the jets physical. :lol: i hope he's right.

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