There’s no question that former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs was an all-time great. He coached the team to four Super Bowls, winning three, and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before his second stint with the team. One element to his success was his ability to impact the personal lives of his players.
Redskins safety Reed Doughty (@doughty37) joined former Redskin Brian Mitchell (@Bmitchlive) on his video program “BMitch Live” to discuss his journey so far in the NFL. Doughty attributed much of his opportunity rookie year to the compassion of his first NFL head coach.
Doughty sets up the story by talking about juggling a hectic schedule in his first training camp:
Clearly Doughty did not expect this to go over well with the organization, and understood if this resulted in him being cut:
He actually told me, “You’re doing the right thing for your family, but we can’t guarantee you a job here. That’s one less opportunity to see you play.”
So I just had to have faith that, y’know, this was the right decision to make, to miss that last preseason game to take care of my son.
Four years later, we know that Doughty’s faith–along with a lot of hard work on the field–paid off for him and he’s enjoyed a good start to his career. He’s driven by the fact that nothing has been given to him along the way, except the opportunity to prove himself:
I still remember [special teams coordinator] Danny Smith, the first day that I came back after my son was born–I came back four or five days later–and he said, “This is a day-to-day job interview for you. You made the team, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be here tomorrow, so you have to get better.”
Doughty remembers how Gibbs bridged the gap between coaches and players to make sure that Doughty knew how much he understood and cared about Doughty’s struggles:
There’s certain people in your life that really mold you. But there’s certain people that you come in contact with, that have an authority over you, that you respect. But [Gibbs is] a guy that I not only respected, but he came down a level. Y’know, he’s not up there just coaching and then you never talk to him; he was very personable.
I’d see him after practice, and I’m a defensive guy, and he’s an offensive coach–you usually don’t have a lot of contact. “Hey, how’s Micah doing? What’s going on with him right now?” For him to take that time, it meant a lot.
I will never, ever forget the day my son had his transplant. I got home two days later, and on the voicemail at my house, was Coach Gibbs talking to me and saying a prayer for my son, for that kidney transplant. Y’know, he didn’t have to do that, and it just kind of showed you the type of man that he is. That, I appreciate, and will never forget.
Gibbs will always be remembered in Redskins Nation for the impressive feats that he orchestrated on the football field. But it shouldn’t be forgotten, that for a number of the players he coached, he was a real class act.
For the complete video of the interview, check it out below:
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