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Gibbs Retirement Talk is Bunk

Dec 1, 2004, 3:13 AM EDT

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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at

I suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t address the “Gibbs might retire” report that Chris Mortensen gave on Sunday, especially since my wife just burst into the room and asked me about it. I told her to read the blog and find out about it.

I didn’t see the report, but on one of the myriad Sunday morning shows that Mort does he said that he had heard that some friends of Gibbs had said that they were concerned about his health, his diabetic condition in particular, and that Gibbs might use that as a reason to pack it in as coach after this season. Gibbs was asked about the report in his post-game presser and he said that his health was superb and that he has no notion of leaving.

Gibbs has plenty of experience deflecting reports of his impending retirement. In my book Gut Check I chronicle a number of reports of his impending retirement. He brought the first one on himself when in December of 1989 he mused to reporters about life after football, saying that “There’s been a chance that I’ll leave for (the past) two years.” That created such a uproar that he had to call a press conference a few weeks after the season to announce that he was staying. “They’ll have to usher me out,” he said.

It only took until the week after the first game of the next season for another report of Gibbs’ retirement to surface, this one from Will McDonough of the Boston Globe. To that one, Gibbs responded, “I’ll be here forever.”

The rumors died down for a while after that and Gibbs inked a three-year extension following his third Super Bowl title in 1991. Just a little more than a near later, the stunning announcement of his departure came.

But I digress. As of right now, November 30, 2004, Gibbs isn’t going anywhere. When he took the job he said that one of the reasons he came back was for the challenge. Building a winner in the NFL was one of the hardest things a person could endeavor to do, he said, and that was why he was there. This season has proven him to be absolutely correct in that assertion and there is simply no reason to believe that he would run away from the challenge. It just isn’t in him. Archives

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