You don’t have to drive all the way out to Ashburn to realize that head coach Mike Shanahan is an intense guy. He has the sternest poker faces in all of pro football, and could probably stare down Clint Eastwood himself. Whether he’s patrolling the sidelines in front of 90,000 fans or stalking to the kitchen to refill his water bottle, he is one of the most focused people I’ve ever met.
But sometimes he makes jokes–and nobody knows if they can laugh.
That’s what happened at tonight’s media session, on several occasions. I don’t mean to say that the man doesn’t have a sense of humor, but he often has to clarify that it was a joke afterwards.
He started off his comedic shtick tonight talking about the effort he saw out of John Beck today: “John’s done a good job on the first day of practice. I wouldn’t put him in the Pro Bowl yet, but he’s close…That’s a joke.”
Okay Coach, maybe you’re not ready for the Apollo, but that’s a solid start. What else do you have?
When asked about how the heat affected the players out on the field today, Shanahan shot back quickly with: “I think just the coaches were affected by the heat.”
This time it was accompanied by a smile, and the gathered media knew to laugh. He was on a roll. I could smell more wittiness on it’s way.
When asked about the more-intense-than-usual rush on free agent negotiations, Shanahan talked about spending the night on a cot at the Redskins facility last night: “Yeah, I have one of those rollouts. It’s about $200. I charged it to Dan though.”
Shanahan wrapped up the media session with a witty remark on solving the punter crisis by signing veteran punter Sav Rocca: “I sure hope we did. Well, first of all, I’m hoping we don’t have to punt. But if we punt, I’m happy it’s him.”
Comedy gold. Good for Shanahan, for showing a more relaxed side. I think that now that he’s in his second season with the team and the media, combined with the return of football, Shanahan is right back in his element.
Tags: mike shanahan, press conference, washington redskins
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