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Williams to Stay with Skins (1 Viewer)



Redskins Reach Deal to Keep Williams

By Jason La Canfora

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 3, 2006; 1:57 PM

The Washington Redskins have reached an agreement with Gregg Williams that will keep him as the team's assistant head coach for defense, the team announced today.

The deal was first reported by Foxsports.com, which said he received a three-year contract extension worth $8 million -- a deal worth more than what many NFL head coaches make.

"Gregg is a valuable and important member of our organization," Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs in a statement released by the team. "This is a first step in recognizing his contributions and maintaining consistency among our coaches."

Williams, 47, was expected to be one of the most hotly pursued candidates for several vacant head coaching jobs in the NFL, and four teams -- Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston and Minnesota -- were interested in him. The Texans contacted Gibbs on Monday to ask permission to interview Williams next week.

Williams had said that St. Louis, Kansas City and Houston "intrigued" him but also repeatedly stated that he loves coaching in Washington and has turned down opportunities in the past. He already was one of the highest-paid assistants in NFL history and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wanted badly to keep him from leaving.

Williams, who was 17-31 as head coach in Buffalo from 2001-2003, was hired by Gibbs when he took over as coach and president of the Redskins in 2004. Williams has led the defense to top nine finishes each of his two seasons with Washington. Although Williams hopes to be a head coach again, he has made a strong impression on Snyder and the rest of the Redskins management and has a strong personal and professional relationship with Gibbs.

The Redskins will play their first playoff game since 1999 on Saturday, when they travel to Tampa Bay. Washington was 6-10 last season -- largely because of an ineffective offense -- and finished 10-6 this season, a record the franchise has not surpassed since Gibbs's last Super Bowl in 1991. They closed the season with five straight wins to clinch the post-season berth.

Since his defense rose to the NFL elite from humble expectations in 2004, Williams has deflected much credit to Gibbs and maintained a low profile, speaking to the media only once a week during the season and rarely at all in the offseason. He was sensitive about the slower progress of Gibbs's offense and worked behind the scenes to foster unity among both the offense and defense, team sources said.

Williams turned down two interviews for head coaching positions after the 2004 season, and campaigned hard to keep his core of highly-respected assistants from departing for other opportunities as well.

Other defensive assistants -- such as defensive coordinator Greg Blache and linebacker coach Dale Lindsey -- could be sought for higher positions elsewhere, and Snyder is expected to do whatever possible financially and otherwise to keep them as well. There is no salary cap for coaches, and Snyder has set new precedents in that regard several times since taking over the franchise in 1999.


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