UPDATEDJan. 8, 2008 – After a grueling season, marred by the murder of his star safety, the loss of a promising quarterback to injury and the diagnosis of his grandson with leukemia, legendary Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs resigned Tuesday, the team announced in a statement.
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"It was the toughest [season] for me," the 67-year-old said Monday, three days after being eliminated from playoff contention by the Seattle Seahawks. "When you go through a season like that, for a while it's kind of hard to re-grasp reality."
Sean Taylor, the 24-year-old Pro Bowl safety, died in November, one day after being shot at his home in an affluent Miami suburb. Four men have been charged with unpremeditated murder.
Just a couple months before that, Gibbs' young star QB, Jason Campbell, was sidelined for the season with a serious knee injury. It happened during the first half of the Skins’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Campbell, the second African-American quarterback to start for the Redskins under Gibbs, was hit in the knee by Steelers lineman Brett Keisel and immediately grabbed his knee when he hit the ground. Keisel was assessed a roughing the passer penalty.
Gibbs, who had a year remaining on his five-year, $27.5-million contract, reportedly will stay on as a special adviser to owner Daniel Snyder, The Associated Press reports.
Gibbs was in his second stint with the Redskins, having won three Super Bowls with the team between 1981 and 1992. Under his leadership, Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
He was also a management success in NASCAR before returning to Washington in 2004.
No decision on Gibbs' replacement has been made, although current assistant coaches Gregg Williams and Al Saunders, are the likely leading candidates, AP reports.
Williams is a former coach of the Buffalo Bills; Saunders coached the San Diego Chargers. Former Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher has also been mentioned in reports as a possible candidate, although he previously said he planned to sit out another season before returning to coaching.
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