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Washington Commanders General Manager Adam Peters Introductory Presser

Adam Peters speaks!

The Washington Commanders finished 4-13 this season, and fired Head Coach Ron Rivera on Black Monday after four years in charge of the team. The new ownership group, lead by managing partner Josh Harris, had been working for weeks to identify the next leaders of the franchise. Five NFL executives were vetted and interviewed in Miami, and after narrowing the field to two candidates, they made their choice. San Francisco 49ers Assistant GM Adam Peters was hired as the new GM, and the team officially announced the move yesterday. He arrived to a snowy DMV welcome with his family last night, and now he’s getting his introductory presser with Washington’s media.

Managing Partner Josh Harris Opening Statement:

Good afternoon, everyone and thank you for being here today. Exciting day for Washington, for our franchise, and I’m super excited to introduce Adam Peters as the next General Manager of the Washington Commanders. Thank you for being here, Adam. I want to thank Adam and his lovely wife Jen, nice to meet you, and two daughters for choosing our franchise. I think as many of you probably have heard, he had a number of opportunities, so we’re so happy and appreciative that you all have joined us here on our quest to build an elite franchise. I know we’re going to do it together, so thank you.

I also want to thank my partners, Mitch Rales, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, David Blitzer, and obviously our advisors, Rick Spielman and Bob Myers. We couldn’t have done it without you guys. It was an amazing process, thank you for your support and onto the next one. We still have a lot of work to do. So, we set out to find a leader, someone who could take this franchise to the next level and build an elite team that consistently competes for championships.

In Adam, I think we have the right leader. He’s a winner. He’s made an incredible impact everywhere he’s been. Starting obviously with the New England Patriots, onto the Denver Broncos where they won a Super Bowl, and then at the San Francisco 49ers. Together, we are committed to restoring this franchise to the highest levels. Adam, again, we’re excited you’re here and now, time to get to work. So, passing it over to you. Thanks everyone.

General Manager Adam Peters Opening Statement:

Thank you, Josh. Well, I’d like to start by thanking you guys all for being here today, this is truly an honor. I’m so excited to be here today. Start off by thanking Josh and really the entire Commanders organization and ownership group, including David Blitzer, Magic Johnson, Mitch Rales, and all the guys that I met today. It’s been wonderful meeting you all and really had a great time meeting you all this past week. Thank you guys so much for giving me this opportunity, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It’s really an honor to be a General Manager and really the biggest honor to be the General Manager of the Washington Commanders. Thank you.

I’d also like to thank Bob Myers and Rick Spielman, both of whom I’ve gotten to know throughout this process. It’s been really, really good getting to know them. They’ve been great resources, tremendous sounding boards, and I greatly appreciate them throughout this process. Starting to get into taking a moment to thank some of the people that really made a big difference in my life. Starting first and foremost with my beautiful wife, Jen, who’s here today, thank you so much for being here. I’m really nothing without you. You’re the best person I could have ever met and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you so much. Alex and Emmy, you guys are being really good right now, thank you. Thank you for being here with me today too, thanks for being good. My parents, they gave me everything. They showed me what hard work was, dedication, and what love looks like. My mom up in heaven, my dad, who’s hopefully watching right now, thank you guys so much for instilling all that into me. I know that’s going to go through to our beautiful girls right here, too. My sisters, Joanne and Stephanie, hopefully you guys are watching today, thank you for your love and unwavering support. Doug Hendrickson, a very good friend, also my agent, but first and foremost, a better friend. Thank you so much for your belief in me, it means the world and I wouldn’t be here without you.

I’ve had a ton of mentors throughout the years, I’d love to sit here and name them all to you guys, we’d be here all night, but I just want to start by thanking a few people that really impacted my life at an early age. One is my High School Coach Dave Vieira, he’s one of the best men I’ve ever met in my life. He instilled in me mental toughness, an incredible work ethic, how to push through adversity, and a ton of different life lessons and one-liners that I’ll never forget. Don Johnson, may he rest in peace up in heaven, he just passed away. He was my Coach at UCLA, father figure, a man who I’ll always admire and try to emulate in everything I do. And Randy Taylor, who gave me my first role in this business at UCLA, gave me my shot, believed in me, and really helped me kick off my career. I can’t thank you enough, Randy.

Moving on to the 49ers. First, I’d like to thank Jed and Danielle and the entire York family, not only did they run a first-class organization, but they treat us all like family and they were incredible in my development. They gave me everything I needed to be here today, and I’ll be forever thankful and indebted to them. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan and their wonderful families, thank you guys for the leadership you showed me and the friendship you gave me and all the lessons. The entire San Francisco 49ers organization, the players, just an incredible group of men who it was a pleasure to go to work with every day and really everybody in that organization, but especially the people I worked really close with and that’s our scouts, our personnel department, our R&D department and our coaches. Lifelong friendships, just incredible relationships and working together side by side with all of them. I wouldn’t be out here without them. And last but not least, the 49er Faithful, a great fan base that’s just like this one. Passionate and loyal, thank you guys for all your support.

Well, all that support and mentoring has gotten me here today, and this is where I’m supposed to be, the General Manager of the Washington Commanders. I can’t tell you guys how excited I am to be here, this is absolutely incredible. I’ve been pinching myself and I’m so excited to get started. I’m going to tell you guys, I promise you, we’re going to work tirelessly to build this franchise. This is one of the cornerstone franchises in the NFL, the pillars of the National Football League, it’s an incredible area, the DMV, our nation’s capital. I could not be more thrilled to be here. Our family could not be more thrilled to be here today and lead you guys.

I know how much this franchise means to our fans. I’m extremely, extremely motivated to deliver everybody what they deserve. We’re going to build this team the right way. We’re going to build it with a great process and a clear vision and you guys are going to see that on the field with the energy, the passion, the toughness, the physicality and all those things that are going to resonate in the DMV area. It’s going to remind you guys what this franchise was built upon. The foundation and the resources that this ownership group has given us is all we need. It’s my job to execute that vision. Now, we’re going to surround ourselves like Josh said, with the very best people and be aligned in everything we do, working toward that common goal.

So, that process starts right now with the critical step, we’re going to hire the new head coach here soon and this is something we dove into headfirst as soon as I was hired. So, again, I want to thank Josh, I want to thank his partners for this opportunity of a lifetime to lead this team, in this region, our nation’s capital, and to have all your incredible support and commitment to being a first-class organization. I’m all in. I’m all in. We are all in. I can’t wait to get started doing everything we can to restore this proud franchise to where it belongs. Thank you. With that, we’re happy to answer questions.

“Opportunity of a lifetime”:

General manager of the Washington Commanders:

Building the team the right way:

Right where I want to be:

What appealed to him about Washington:

Well, everything is the answer to that question. Everything is exactly what a person in my seat would want. A great ownership group, a great fan base, the ability to start new with a new coach. All of those things were so appealing to me that really going through this process, it was very clear to me at a very early time, right when I met with Josh, this is where I wanted to be.

What he saw in Peters and what is most important when setting up an organizational structure:

JH: Adam’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s been. First in Boston, then in obviously Denver, then in San Francisco. He’s learned from a lot of great leaders. He’s about excellence, he’s about attracting the best people and then holding them accountable. He’s about building edges, he’s inclusive, he wants people from a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different perspectives. So, it was a pretty easy decision from my point of view. In terms of how we do it, both of us work super hard, both of us want to do things from the ground up one person at a time, but both of us want to take more of a long-term perspective to build sustainable and elite winning. I think he was an ideal candidate from my point of view.

AP: Yeah, and just hearing that from Josh and seeing that our visions were aligned in all those things that he just mentioned made it really, really easy and really exciting for me to be here.

JH: Adam’s a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s been. First in Boston, then in obviously Denver, then in San Francisco. He’s learned from a lot of great leaders. He’s about excellence, he’s about attracting the best people and then holding them accountable. He’s about building edges, he’s inclusive, he wants people from a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different perspectives. So, it was a pretty easy decision from my point of view. In terms of how we do it, both of us work super hard, both of us want to do things from the ground up one person at a time, but both of us want to take more of a long-term perspective to build sustainable and elite winning. I think he was an ideal candidate from my point of view.

AP: Yeah, and just hearing that from Josh and seeing that our visions were aligned in all those things that he just mentioned made it really, really easy and really exciting for me to be here.

Washington’s current roster:

I believe that there’s a few cornerstone pieces in this roster. I believe we have a lot of work to do and that’s just evaluating everybody, and that’s going to start with the coaches. When we hire a head coach, we sit down together with the personnel department, and we sit down and evaluate everything and figure out where we need to be. So that’s an ongoing process. I’ve started a little bit, but we have a lot of work to do.

What set Peters apart and why this was the right direction to go in:

JH: Yeah, look we were obviously blessed with the opportunity to talk to many good candidates, and I would say that there were a lot of positives in each one of them. And like I said, at the end of the day, our visions really aligned relative to alignment, excellence, focus, work ethic, and then being very people oriented in terms of talent. And so, we decided to go with Adam. Adam, also, even though he’s, I guess at 59, I can say someone in their mid-forties is on the young side now, which is unfortunate for me, but notwithstanding his young age, he’s been in the NFL for a long, long time, and he is ready for this. This is really what he was ready to do. And so, we sensed that through the process.

#2 overall pick:

Yeah, it’s a great opportunity, but like I said earlier, we still have to hire the head coach, and we’re going to do that whole process collaboratively. We’re going to have a great process in deciding what we do there. Like you said, we’re far from making the decision on that, but really looking forward to dive into that process.

Interviewing coaches, how far along he is in that process and what qualities he wants in a head coach::

AP: We’re looking for the best leader for this team, for the Washington Commanders. And so, we have set criteria that we’re going to have it be aligned in that vision. And it’s not going to be in a box. It’s not going to be offense, it’s not going to be defense. It’s going to be the best leader for this organization.

The most important factor in hiring a head coach:

AP: I think in any head coach, in any leader, is leadership. Leadership, great communication, being able to be honest, direct and upfront, have all those qualities, and they’re all intertwined. But those are the main qualities. You have to be very smart. You have to be very driven. There’s so many different qualities that make up a great head coach and a great leader, but really it’s just about being a great person, a great human being that people will follow.

JH: You know, both of us are, in essence come from the model that we’re stewards for the city, and that we’re on a mission to deliver success to Washington. And so obviously, hiring a coach that is on the mission with us, that is all in. That himself or herself can track the best people. All of those things and then hold them accountable and obviously ultimately comes with a certain amount of IQ, football intelligence. I think IQ matters. I think it matters increasingly, so I think that all of those things will be important, but ultimately, a partner where the three of us can be aligned and work for the city on behalf of the city to win.

Quarterback:

AP: Just like all the positions, we’re going to sit down and evaluate and that process will start once we hire the head coach and his staff. And we’re going to do that collaboratively with the head coach, his staff, the personnel department, R&D, analytics, and come up with our evaluations for all that before we move forward.

Research on his new team:

If there is a moment in his career that has educated him in a front office sense:

AP: That’s a tough one. There’s so many moments that you think of and you really always think of the things that you messed up on, that you learn from. And I’ve had plenty of those. All of those things have shaped me to who I am today and have brought me here and so, I’m thankful. I could sit here and talk to you guys all day about that. But all those things have brought me here today, next to Josh, and I’m so thankful for everything good and bad that’s happened to me.

How important it was choosing Washington as a place to have a blank canvas and put his stamp on an organization:

AP: It was everything to me. This opportunity with this ownership group in this place, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me and our family. And that’s why when this came about and I got to meet with everybody, right away I was all in. I probably wasn’t a very good negotiator, but I told him I was all in, and it made it easy for me to pass up other opportunities, which were great opportunities as well. But this was the best opportunity in my mind in the NFL.

JH: Unfortunately, he was a good negotiator. So, thank his agent for that. But look, I think that Adam had done a lot of work. It’s worth pointing out. He had done a lot of work on us, came in super prepared, had researched the team, had researched all of us, had researched the opportunity, had a lot of questions, but at the same time it felt like it was an opportunity that he had identified before we had met and then obviously we all ended up moving forward together.

Rebuild timeline:

Changes during a rebuild:

What he has learned from the unsuccessful moments in his career:

AP: That’s a good question. The not so successful moments, and I’ve had a lot, and I think you learn so much in losing, and they say you win and you learn, and that’s a good saying that you always hear. But it’s a lot easier to learn in a loss than in a win. You have to really challenge yourself to learn in a win. So, a lot to count. I would say that I’ve been very lucky to have a lot more success being around a lot of really, really smart people, a lot of very successful people, so very blessed to have that. But all of those different really experiences shaped who I am today. And so, I’ll take them all and I’m happy to move forward with them and use all that experience to help us consistently compete for championships.

Experience from the tough seasons early on in San Francisco, how long it takes for a reset and how he will go about it in Washington:

AP: Those were dark days, but I think the thing that I could tell you is right away with the 49ers, maybe the results didn’t show, but you could see it on the field, and you could see what we were doing on the field, and the fans could feel it, and they knew it was turning and we were close. So, you can’t put timetables on it, but all I can tell you is that you’re going to see great competitors, you’re going to see a physical team, you’re going to be really impressed with what you see on the field and it’s going to happen right away. Whether the results come right away, that’s a number of different factors, but you guys are going to be very proud of the team that we’re going to put on the field.

What he sees within the roster and culture of the team that he would like to hold on to:

AP: There’s a lot of good things about this building. First and foremost, just walking through here today, there’s a ton of great people in this building, so it’s really, this is not a total rebuild. This is a wonderful group of people here that just needs leadership. That’s what I think is the biggest thing, is we need leadership and an aligned vision. So that’s what I’m going to bring here along with Josh and our head coach. And I don’t think there’s wholesale change needed. I just think we need leadership here and that’s what we’re here to bring.

Biggest takeaway from San Francisco to build a sustained winner:

AP: It’s having an aligned vision, having collaboration, having inclusion with everybody, everybody pulling in the same direction. That’s how we did it in San Francisco and that’s what allows you to get through, not just, the good times are easy, but that’s what allows you to get through the tough times as well.

Build through the draft and supplement through free agency:

AP: Yeah, I find this a very similar situation from when we got to San Francisco in 2017. A lot of great similarities, so I have a lot to lean on from that experience. Both things we did well and things we didn’t, but ultimately, we’re going to build through the draft here and supplement through free agency. We’re going to be very process driven and diligent in who we select in free agency. But we’re going to build through the draft here.