The Washington Redskins have issued a statement confirming that executive V.P. of football operations Vinny Cerrato has resigned.
“We agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this position,” Cerrato said. “I’m thankful to Dan Snyder and other members of his ownership team for the opportunities I’ve been given over the years.
“Of course, I am disappointed with this year’s results, but I strongly believe that with outstanding draft picks and encouraging performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong foundation for the franchise.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great coaches such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman Lewis, great people on the Redskins staff, and, most especially, some of the best professional football players in the world. I wish them all the best. I’ve also had the privilege of working for a franchise supported by the most loyal fans in the NFL.”
Curiously, Cerrato didn’t mention coach Jim Zorn, the embattled head coach who could end up getting another shot if his former boss, Mike Holmgren, takes over the team in the near future.
And Holmgren is the focal point of the initial speculation, since there’s no other reason why the move would be made before the end of the 2009 season. Given that the Browns are engaged in intense negotiations with Holmgren, the Redskins needed to clear out the spot at the top of the front office in order to have a shot at the Big Show.
Cerrato worked for the team through the 2000 season. After Marty Schottenheimer was given full control of the organization in 2001, he fired Cerrato, who then spent a year wearing white shirts and working a Commodore 64 in the back room at ESPN.
Then, when Snyder fired Schottenheimer after only one 8-8 season, Snyder promptly brought back Cerrato.
League insiders long have believed that Snyder allowed his friendship with Cerrato to cloud the owner’s assessment of Cerrato’s skills.
“[H]e is my friend, and he has always been there for me and the Redskins,” Snyder said in the team-issued statement. “He’s the consummate optimist and has always made decisions based on what would be the best for the team.”
The problem is that the best of Cerrato’s abilities and intentions haven’t been good enough, and that the time has come for the friendship to take a back seat to the franchise.
Some Redskins fans would argue that it’s several years overdue, but they’re nevertheless glad that the day finally has arrived.