Gibbs calls time for cars, but football's still in play

'Skins coach can't escape NFL questions at Daytona

Auto Racing

February 14, 2004|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN STAFF

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs worked overtime earlier this week so he could take a couple of days off and be with his Nextel Cup race teams here at the Daytona 500.

But Gibbs found he couldn't really get away from football. At an 8 a.m. interview session yesterday, he was swamped with questions about his new job, the state of his team, the character of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and how he feels about young people being allowed to turn pro out of high school.

"I'm on a crash course, learning about salary caps and new game plans," said Gibbs, who originally retired as the team's head coach 11 years ago. "They've gone to a new-style offense that is completely different from what I ran when I was there. I'm watching film of other teams - and I'll steal whatever I think will work for us. I have no pride."

Gibbs said restoring the Redskins to prominence will be a difficult task.

"We have holes, and we have to do it one piece at a time," he said. "Just putting my coaching staff together, I blew the budget four times."

Gibbs said Snyder had no problems with that and recalled his first dealings with the owner a number of years ago when he asked him to help undertake the building of a youth home.

"He got nothing out of that," Gibbs said. " ... What you want in an owner is someone who will give you what it takes. I think he will do that."

As for the recent court decision that allows young athletes coming out of high school to immediately turn pro, Gibbs was strong on both sides.

"I think a young person needs to graduate from college," he said. "I think you have to give them that opportunity. But the court system rules the world. ... If they're coming out, anyway, and they're good enough and they're 12, we want them to play for us."

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