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Washington hires 38 y.o. former player & businessman Jason Wright as President of the franchise

The changes keep on coming

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It’s being widely reported that Jason Wright, a former NFL player, has been hired by the Washington Football Team (established in 1932) to be the team’s President, filling the role left open when Bruce Allen was unceremoniously fired on New Year’s Eve.

Mr. Wright’s most recent employment has been as a partner at McKinsey & Company, where his bio says that he focused on “modernizing higher-education institutions, government agencies, and industrial companies through large-scale transformations.” Now that sounds like job skills that the franchise needs.

Wright has a football background. He was undrafted out of Northwestern in 2004, but managed to last seven years as a running back for the Falcons, Browns and Cardinals, retiring as a player at the end of the 2010 season. He was marginally productive, with his best statistical production coming in 2007, putting up 510 total yards. He finished his playing career with 1,214 yards and 5 touchdowns.

After undergraduate studies at Northwestern, Wright earned his MBA from the University of Chicago. At McKinsey & Co., he worked with clients on improvement of administrative operations, providing advice to chief HR officers, CFOs, chief administrative officers, and chief security officers.

His biography also states that Jason is on the board of trustees of the Union Theological Seminary, where he is helping the institution better equip a changing student body that is more focused on community organizing and social entrepreneurship than traditional ministry.

The official announcement on the team website says that Wright will be responsible for leading the organization’s business divisions, including operations, finance, sales, and marketing, adding that he will join Coach Ron Rivera, who maintains all on-field responsibilities and football decisions, in reporting directly to team owner, Dan Snyder.

Wright is quoted as saying:

From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organizations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me,

The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organization – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.

As a DMV local and fan, I’ve been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder’s vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with Coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team.

The site adds a comment from head coach Ron Rivera:

I remember Jason as a player, and it is no surprise to me that he went on to achieve the caliber of success that Jason has in his time in the business world. From my conversations with his former teammates and coaches plus my own with Jason, I have come to see that we share many of the same core values and beliefs. Because he knows the NFL firsthand and how fast it moves, I am excited to have him on board to head up the front office and operations, so that I can focus on what’s most important to the fans in our community – winning football games.

Earlier this off-season, with a great deal happening in the franchise, including the COVID pandemic, the decision to change the name followed by a sexual harassment scandal reported by the Washington Post, there was concern among fans that Ron Rivera, who seemed to be handling nearly everything personally, might be overwhelmed. In the past few weeks, though, the organization has consolidated the personnel office, replacing the loss of two key executives, and totally remade the media department. The hiring of Jason Wright as the president to handle business, finance, sales and marketing seems to put a bow on the franchise re-structure that may have been signaled with the firing of Jay Gruden last season, but began in earnest with the firing of former team president Bruce Allen, who had been with the team for a decade.

It is difficult to overstate the amount of change that has swept through the organization in 2020; it has impacted the coaching, training & medical staffs, the front office, and the culture of the organization from top to bottom. Recent reports have surfaced about power struggles among the ownership group as well.

With the season less than a month away, it seems like this may be the final major change in the organizational structure this off-season.