Joe Gibbs Weighs In on Haynesworth; Relates to John Riggins

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The Mike Wise show today was any Redskins' fan dream interview...Gibbs telling vintage Riggins stories. After talking about a variety of things from Joe's recent involvement with the Redskins (more on that later), co-host Holden Kushner then asked Coach about Hayensworth, where Joe side-stepped the issue stating he didn't know the details of how much money he had received or the contract details, but did say:

"As a coach, every year we went into a season there were problems. Generally, 1-2-3 players with contractual problems, injury problems. Contractual problems like this. This is nothing new or different. This is nothing unusual in the NFL....if a guy takes a bunch of money, which you say he did, then I think certainly, a guy that makes a contractual obligation to play...an agreement, then it's their word. They made a deal. They made a contract. Live up to it."

The interview turned to a whole new level when Wise followed up asking Gibbs how this situation compared to the time Gibbs became head coach and had to inherit John Riggins, who had sat out the previous season due to contract issues. Gibbs gives the ENTIRE story in hilarious detail:

Gibbs: "It's one of my greatest stories. When I got the job, everyone said "You got to get John Riggins back here." Of course he sat out the year before in a contract dispute and everyone got fired. I didn't want to get fired (laughing). Without saying anything to anybody, I got on a plane. Flew to Lawrence, Kansas. Got a rental car. Went to the first corner gas station and said, "Do you know where John Riggins lives?" They said, "Yes, I do. Out down the dirt road." I pulled up on the back of this farm house. I knocked on the door, and I always say, I knew I had a chance to get John Riggins back because his wife answers the door, her hair's up in rollers, kids are running through the house, and says she wanted to come back. I said, "Get me an appointment with John Riggins. I'll be at this motel."

Got up the next morning. The [voicemail] red light was on. It said I got a breakfast appointment at 10am. I put my best stuff on. Young coach. I go roaring out there. Pull up to the back of his farmhouse. First time I laid my eyes on John, he's walking across the back of the courtyard. He's got a buddy with him in camouflage outfit. They had been hunting that morning. It's 10am and he has a beer can in his left hand. (laughing). I said, "I can tell he's impressed with me!" (laughing). I sit down at the breakfast table and man, I start my sales pitch...

I said, "Hey John. Young Coach. New offense. I'm going to put you in the back-field and give you the ball every down. I'll never ask you to block." (laughing)

I'm a salesman! You don't expect me to tell him the truth do ya!  (laughing). This guy just sat there. I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm not getting through to him." The first meaningful thing he said, he leaned across the table and said, "You need to get me back there. I'll make you famous." And I went, "OH-MY-GOSH!" I said, "The guy's a nut-case." Nobody would say that to their coach. I'm going to get stuck coaching an egomaniac for six years.  I was thinking to myself, how am I going to get out of this? Then it donned on me. I'll get him back and then trade him. It was perfect. So I finished the sales pitch, got in the car, went back to Washington, didn't know if I'd hear from him.

Two days later I get a phone call from John Riggins, "Joe, I've made up my mind. I want to play next year." I went, "Perfect! I got him back." I'll trade the fruitcake and get myself a 1st round draft choice. He says, "There's only one thing I want to put in my contract." I said, "What's that?" He said, "A no trade clause."  (laughing)

Now. Now.  Know what the moral of that story is? - John Riggins made me famous. He was right... Anytime it got down to 4th and 1, I'd turn to the sidelines and say, "Give it to John."

I totally missed the first time I met John. I thought he was an ego and all that. Not the case. He was a great team guy. He was a great producer.  If you think about it, he was already late in his career when we got him. I told him, "You're lucky I didn't get you when you were 22 because you wouldn't be able to walk right now giving you the ball 40 times a game."

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