Redskins shake up office
ASHBURN, Va. ó The Washington Redskins brought back a familiar name and dusted off a long-unused title Thursday in a major front office shake-up, the first of many anticipated changes resulting from a losing season.
Bruce Allen, son of late Redskins Hall of Fame coach George Allen, is the team’s new general manager. He becomes the first person hired by owner Dan Snyder to hold the GM title, a notable milestone after a decade of various front office arrangements that usually centered around Snyder and good friend Vinny Cerrato.
“It’s exciting because of the history, the tradition, the comfort about coming home,” said Allen, whose father coached the Redskins from 1971-77 and whose brother has served Virginia as both governor and U.S. Senator.
Out the door goes Cerrato, Snyder’s right-hand confidante for most of the past decade and the executive vice president of football operations for the past two seasons. The team announced that Cerrato had resigned, but Snyder made it clear it was not a unilateral decision.
“I think the best way to put it,” Snyder said, “is it was time for a change.”
And probably not just one. Allen barely had time to get used to wearing his burgundy and gold tie before he was asked about the team’s coaching situation. The names of Jon Gruden ó with whom Allen worked in both Oakland and Tampa Bay ó and Mike Shanahan were raised during his introductory news conference.
Allen responded that he had only just had his first meeting with the current coach, Jim Zorn. Zorn’s job status is tenuous with the record at 4-9 and three games to play. The Redskins host the rival Giants on Monday night.
“Jim Zorn is our coach,” Allen said. “Give us some time to see how our relationship develops.”
DAVIE, Fla. ó Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter says the challenge race between teammate Ted Ginn Jr. and NFL rushing leader Chris Johnson may yet take place.
Porter said the foot race was to be held at the Dolphins’ training complex last Memorial Day weekend but plans fell through.
“They’re back talking about it again,” Porter said. “Hopefully we get to see the race, because it’s something I want to see to put it all behind us and see who really is the fastest.”
The Dolphins play Johnson and the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Johnson said the idea for the race came up at a pool party he and Ginn attended in Miami Beach. Johnson said they agreed to race that night on Ocean Drive, but Ginn failed to show. Porter, who was also at the party, said the race instead was to be held the next morning on the Dolphins’ field.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó Wide receiver Percy Harvin has missed another practice while struggling with migraine headaches.
The rookie sat out last week against Cincinnati for the same reason.
IRVING, Texas ó DeMarcus Ware returned to practice.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie and cornerback Corey Webster missed practice with knee injuries.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. ó Quarterback Mark Sanchez practiced for the second straight day, but coach Rex Ryan remains undecided on his starter for the team’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
ST. LOUIS ó The St. Louis Rams canceled practice Thursday due to an undisclosed number of swine flu cases on the team.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo would not say how many players had the illness but said five or six players had flulike symptoms and added that other players had reported symptoms the last few weeks.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. ó Former Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn is buying a piece of the team.