Redskins fire Pres­i­dent Bruce Allen, eye Ron Rivera to coach

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Howard Fendrich and Stephen Whyno AP Sports Writ­ers

ASH­BURN, VA. (AP) >> Bruce Allen was mocked five years ago when he pro­claimed that his peren­ni­ally last-place Washington Redskins were “win­ning off the field.” More eye rolls ar­rived re­cently when Allen de­fended the club’s “cul­ture.”

After a lot of los­ing on the field and all man­ner of public re­la­tions fi­as­coes off it, Allen is out as pres­i­dent of the NFL team once coached by his fa­ther. He was fired Mon­day, a move an­nounced by owner Daniel Snyder a day after a 3-13 de­ba­cle of a sea­son was capped by one last em­bar­rass­ing loss, 47-16 at ri­val Dal­las.

“As this sea­son con­cludes, Bruce Allen has been re­lieved of his du­ties as pres­i­dent of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Snyder said in a state­ment is­sued by the team. “Like our pas­sion­ate fan base, I rec­og­nize we have not lived up to the high stan­dards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and play­ers who have come be­fore us. As we reeval­u­ate our team lead­er­ship, cul­ture and process for win­ning foot­ball games, I am ex­cited for the op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie ahead to re­new our sin­gu­lar fo­cus and pur­pose of bring­ing cham­pi­onship foot­ball back to Washington.”

From the out­set of the 2010 sea­son, the Redskins went 62-97-1 with Allen serv­ing as Snyder’s right-hand man, a stretch that fea­tured only two play­off ap­pear­ances and zero play­off vic­to­ries.

“These guys that are taking the blame and taking that on, it’s on all of us in this build­ing,” said in­jured quar­ter­back Alex Smith, who spent sig­nif­i­cant time with Allen and Snyder this sea­son. “We’re all re­spon­si­ble for it.”

There could be an­other im­por­tant move soon, too: Ron Rivera, fired as coach of the Carolina Panthers dur­ing the sea­son, was vis­it­ing the Redskins on Mon­day. Rivera has quickly emerged as Washington’s top can­di­date.

“He gets the best out of play­ers,” said cor­ner­back Josh Nor­man, who played for Rivera in Carolina. “And not just play­ers, but men. He builds men and guys and also builds char­ac­ter.”

Nor­man said the cul­ture would be en­tirely dif­fer­ent if Rivera gets the job. It has been an is­sue with Allen in charge, and even quar­ter­back Case Keenum on Mon­day said of the or­ga­ni­za­tion, “I think there are some cul­tural things that need to be ad­dressed.”

Allen was hired as Washington’s executive VP and gen­eral man­ager in De­cem­ber 2009, then pro­moted to pres­i­dent in May 2014.

Only once in Allen’s tu­mul­tuous ten­ure did Washington even man­age to win as many 10 games and it fin­ished at the bot­tom of the NFC East five times.

Just one team in the 32-club NFL had a worse record this sea­son, and the Redskins own the No. 2 pick in the next draft.

Jay Gru­den, who was given a con­tract ex­ten­sion by Allen, was fired after an 0-5 start to this sea­son, his sixth — the long­est stint for a head coach under Snyder — and re­placed by of­fen­sive line coach Bill Cal­la­han on an in­terim ba­sis.

So the al­ways-in-dis­ar­ray Redskins are now in need of a pres­i­dent, a gen­eral man­ager and a coach; who­ever is hired to those

jobs will need to over­see a mas­sive re­build­ing pro­ject.

That in­cludes fix­ing the ros­ter and a rep­u­ta­tion that has alien­ated fans to the point that the team’s home sta­dium of­ten had thou­sands of empty seats and plenty of spec­ta­tors cheer­ing for the op­po­nent.

For all of the Redskins’ poor game results dur­ing Snyder’s 20 years as owner — never once man­ag­ing to win 11 games in a sea­son in that span — it was Allen who in­fa­mously tried to down­play the im­por­tance of the los­ing by boast­ing at a news con­fer­ence after the 2014 sea­son that the team’s char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion “does a fan­tas­tic job,” which meant, he said, “We’re win­ning off the field.”

It was also dur­ing that oc­ca­sion­ally con­tentious ses­sion with re­porters that Allen de­clared he would do any­thing to help the team win more games, vow­ing: “If it meant mow­ing that lawn out there ev­ery Tues­day, I would mow the lawn ev­ery darn Tues­day.”

Dur­ing an­other rare ap­pear­ance to take ques­tions from the me­dia, at the news con­fer­ence to an­nounce Gru­den’s dis­missal in Oc­to­ber, Allen ob­jected to ques­tions about wide­spread crit­i­cism of the way things are run at Redskins Park by as­sert­ing: “The cul­ture is ac­tu­ally damn good.”

Nor­man be­lieves Rivera could fix the cul­ture around the Redskins if he gets the job.

“I feel like you’ll see a dif­fer­ence,” he said. “I’ll put it like that. From what you see now to what you’ll see if this is the case, it’ll be a night and day swap.”

Under Allen’s watch, the is­sues away from the field in­cluded: —this sea­son’s hold­out by Pro Bowl left tackle Trent

Wil­liams, whom Allen re­fused to trade and who blamed the team’s med­i­cal

staff for his cancer scare;

—the messy fir­ing of GM Scot McCloughan in 2017;

—the ac­knowl­edg­ment that the team’s seem­ingly end­less home sell­out streak was over, fol­lowed by the house-clean­ing after last sea­son of new ex­ec­u­tives in charge of busi­ness mat­ters;

—the costly trade for, and ugly di­vorce from, Robert

Grif­fin III;

—the mostly un­suc­cess­ful coaching stint of, and ugly di­vorce from, costly coach Mike Sha­hanan;

—the tens of mil­lions of dol­lars given to Kirk Cousins (or, as Allen re­peat­edly called him, for some rea­son, “Kurt”) as the league’s first QB to play under the fran­chise tag more than once; even­tu­ally, he was al­lowed to leave as a free agent, with the Redskins re­ceiv­ing noth­ing in re­turn.

MARK TENALLY - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2018 file photo, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, left, and team pres­i­dent Bruce Allen talk on the field prior to an NFL foot­ball game be­tween the Dal­las Cowboys and Washington Redskins, in Lan­dover, Md.

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