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Joe Bugel Retirement Press Conference

Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan

Opening remarks:

"When I was first given the opportunity to coach the Washington Redskins, the first thing that crossed my mind was having Joe Bugel as the offensive line coach. He's obviously a coaching legend. I was very disappointed on my first day on the job. He came in and said, 'Mike, I'm going to retire.' I tried to talk him out of it. I wanted him as our offensive line coach. Joe and Brenda decided to go to Arizona -- well deserved. I hate to see you go there Coach. Thirty-two season in the NFL -- 15 with the Redskins. Everybody that has been in this profession, as a coach or a player, knows he is a coaching legend.

People that have played for him, or have coached with him, have adjectives that explain coach and I would like to go through a few; passionate, positive, relentless, caring, respected, loyal, a man's man, demanding, friend, technician, tough. As I talked to Joe Gibbs today, he says, 'Just the best teacher you could have.' Talking to Jim Zorn today, 'A pro's pro with energy -- 35 years old and coaches like that.' Coach, you're a coaching legend and I respect everything you do. The original Boss Hog, Joe Bugel."

Joe Bugel

Opening remarks: "It's been a great, great, great privilege for the Bugel family and myself, to be able to retire as a Washington Redskin. That means a lot to a lot of people, and it means a lot to me. I have a wife of 41 years. She raised three beautiful daughters, Angela, Holly, and Jennifer. I have a son-in-law, who I know is standing by the TV doing jumping-jacks with his Redskins shirt on right now. I appreciate my wife and I appreciate my kids because I probably saw them the past six years or seven years maybe three or four weeks out of the year. The job is consuming, but I loved it. They knew I loved it. They loved being a Redskin. That's what the Redskins are all about right there -- Super Bowls. My kids love the Redskins because they participated in the Super Bowls.

"I'll tell you what, being invited back by Mr. Dan Snyder, coming back with Joe Gibbs again for another tour- he called me and he said, 'We're going back home Buges.' We've got a great owner who wants to do nothing but win -- great passion. We always used these three rules- loyalty, passion, and friends. That has never changed in our philosophy here - loyalty, passion, and friends. I love the man. I learned a long time ago, from some great coaches, they said, 'Never be ashamed to look somebody in the face, and tell them you love them.' Because of their passion, their loyalty, and they are great friends. That man, right there, I have no problem looking him eyeball to eyeball and saying, 'I love you.' What he does on the field and off the field -- second to none. Trust me when I tell you that. I am speaking from my heart. I have no notes. I am up here and my knees are shaking.

"To see so many people right here, and so many friends and so many players I've coached, and I'm not an easy guy to get along with- I don't have a big vocabulary and they will tell you that. I know every swear word you want to know -- every one. That man, to coach for him and be around him, I will love him forever. Love and respect -- that's the way my family feels about Dan Snyder. There's a lot of good people in this room, and I see a lot of players I've coached right here. It's tough to walk away. After 32 years, it's been a privilege to coach in the National Football League – 15 of them as a Redskin. I love this organization. I will always love this organization. We have a lot of fond memories.

"Joe [Gibbs] called me up about 10 minutes before I came in here and said, 'Remember Buges, our second tour, I promised you we weren't going to work those obnoxious hours. We weren't going to work until 4 in the morning.' We end up working till 5. Joe [Gibbs] couldn't change. The only thing we regret is we did not bring a Super Bowl to Mr. Dan Snyder and this organization. That is in our memory bank right there. We gave it our best shot. I've worked with some great coaches in this organization. There are some great coaches. I have some friends here. It's been beautiful. It's been a great run, believe me. We've had a lot of good times. We've had a lot of great times, we've had some bad times, and we've had some turbulent times. That's the man that never wavered -- never backed out.

"The Redskins are in good hands right now. The past staff, with Jim Zorn and the group right here, we gave it our dead level best. We gave it our dead level best. I love those guys. Mainly, I love the players. Again, if you can't tell somebody you love them, you don't belong in the game. I've coached some players that were just no names that just got better and better, and better and better. The tougher we treated them, the more they loved you. During tough times when the phone rings, it's the ex-players that call you. They always say, 'Remember when you kicked me in the rear end.' Nowadays you can't even grab a face mask. I see Georgie Starke right here. He may have been one of the few guys that could have blocked 'Too Tall' Jones. He disliked the Cowboys just like we did. Chris Samuels, Randy [Thomas], my gosh look at this group right here. I love these guys. I do. I will always love them. I will always love being a Redskin. I really do. It means a lot to a lot of people. I don't want to get emotional.

"It's going to be in good hands. I've known Mike Shanahan for many, many years. In fact, 15, 20, maybe 25 years ago, we used to visit the Denver staff and they came and visited us. We would spend the weekend together just talking nothing but football. You talk about some great sessions. Once the NFL found out about that, they just stopped that. They said, 'No, you can't give out ideas like that.' He's a great coach. Bruce Allen, I've been around Bruce Allen. He's the same person every day. The same person every day. You can talk to him. You can discuss a lot of things with him.

"The organization's in good hands. I'm sorry we didn't get it done. But, this will be back. I promise you, this will be back. And when the owner wins a Super Bowl, that ring is going to cover five fingers. And I'm going to purchase that ring, believe me. I'm going to purchase that ring.

"It's been great, everybody in the room right here. I told my daughters a couple years ago, when Mr. Snyder signed me to a contract, I said, 'This is going to be it. I'm going to spend some time with you all.' We have a real nice place in Phoenix, Arizona, and we have another nice place in Coronado, California. Thanks to the NFL. It was a privilege, and an honor to coach at this level. I owe so many thanks to so many people, but the players I've coached, I never had a bad one in the bunch. They gave it their dead level best- dead level best. I owe them, I love them, I trust them, and they can trust Joe Bugel. They can trust this organization, also I'm telling you, get ready, because they're getting ready to explode.

"There are a lot of great people in this room. I keep talking about the owner because the owner has meant a lot. Not only to a lot of people, but to the Bugel family. I love his wife, Tanya. I met his mom. I wish she could wear shoulder pads. You're talking about a tough person. Momma is tough. So is Michelle, his sister. You know the great thing about Dan Snyder, he's like a lot of us in the room, he wasn't born with a silver spoon or a gold spoon in his mouth. He earned what he got. Just like a lot of us, you got to work to get it. I respect people like that so much.

"Coming from Pittsburgh, working in the steel mills, hey, we didn't have a great vocabulary, but I knew how to swear. And at that time they weren't swear words. I carried that over into the NFL, and I remember Woody Hayes telling me, 'Once you get in the NFL, don't change a thing. Coach hard. That's when they love you.' Get a player, find out his weakness, and just keep on working on that weakness, and make him a great football player. Don't take a list of drills out there and try to entertain him. But I learned from Woody, that you can grab the facemask, they won't hit you back. You can hit them in the belly, they won't hit you back; smack them across the face, they won't hit you back. They loved it. A long time ago we had a great team.

"We have some great players in this room right now sitting here. I love coaching these men right here. It's the toughest thing in the world to walk away from this group right here. The toughest thing in the world. But just like Joe Gibbs said, 'Hey Buges, look yourself in the mirror, you can walk away saying you gave it your dead level best.' And that's what I can tell my owner right there. Because I will love and respect him forever; him and his family. For on the field, off the field, and just being the man who he is. He'll get you one of these (Super Bowl ring). Thanks everybody."

On if he ever second-guessed his decision to come back:

"I never second-guessed coming back to the Redskins. There comes a time, I'm going to be 70 years old, and I don't know how long the Lord's going to keep me around, but I've got two real nice places. I haven't been to Phoenix in six years, so I'm anxious to see my house out there. I know my wife redecorated, and I know this: in our house we have a casita and there's a lot of Redskins memorabilia right there, pictures of my guys. So I can go out there and have a little bit of a cocktail and just look at those pictures. I'm going to have fun. I'm going to have some fun right now because my kids live in Phoenix, my youngest daughter lives about two-tenths of a mile away from me, and from door-to-door our house in Phoenix to Coronado is six hours. So we're going to live the good life. But I'm always going to be a Redskin. I'm waiting for that phone to call and say, 'Hey Buges why don't you come back and see a game?' Thank you Mr. Snyder. I didn't have any remorse. It was time. You feel in your body, and you get to a point where you say, 'Hey, maybe it's time.' You know that old cliché, 'I want to spend more time with my family.' I do. I want to spend some time with my family. My daughters are beautiful. My wife, she's precious. So I'm going to spend some time with them."

On when he knew it was time to retire:

"I think it just hits you. I think the age factor, the way the NFL is right now. I think it's a young man's game in a lot of ways. And I'm getting to the age right now, where maybe there are some other things in life. I talked to Joe [Gibbs] at length about this at times. He's a good man to give some advice. He won't tell you what to do, he says, 'Hey Buges, you did it, you have nothing to be ashamed of. You been in Super Bowls, your kids have been to Super Bowls, you've seen how other people do things. Probably one of the biggest things that happened to me when I left here is I thought everybody ran the organization like the Redskins, but the grass isn't greener in a lot of other places. So when you get a second chance to come back here, you go 'X' amount of years, and if we didn't get the job done in a certain amount of time, then I was going to walk away because if you can't do it here you can't do it any place. We have the resources here to get these things (holding up Super Bowl ring) on your finger. We have the players here also. There are some great coaches, and we tried our dead-level best, believe me. We laid it on the line. Nobody surrendered. And they just played harder, and harder, and harder. We're proud of our football team, but the bottom line is this (holding up his Super Bowl ring). That's the bottom line in the National Football League. So there comes a time in a man's life to say hey, 'Bow out. Bow out gracefully.' Be able to thank the people that you really, truly love. And for Mr. Snyder to give me this opportunity to stand up here and thank you people, that's another thing. There's about 10 or 12 things I love about the man. But his passion, his loyalty, and his friendship, I'll never forget."

On if he thinks that his coaching job this year, with all the injuries, was his best coaching job ever:

"I hate to say that I don't want to be a bragger. I think you have to ask the players that. You can tell by the teams that are in the playoffs right now. There are situations in pro football where you lose the nuts and bolts of your football team, you have to work harder and harder and harder. Our staff did that. We coached hard. We saw some young pups rise up and play. Were they as good as the guys we lost? These are All-Pros. Chris Samuels -- he's an all-pro, a great football player. Those are no excuses. They are no excuses at all. The guys you have, develop. The NFL right now is a matter of developing the players to play. That's the bottom line. We didn't get it done, but the cupboard is not bare. Those young kids will get better and better and better. I see Doc Walker. I see guys in here that gave their blood for the Redskins. That's what we remember the most. The guys that we coach and the 15 years that I have spent in here have been awesome – the best 15 years of my life in coaching. It was a privilege. That's why I love being a Redskin. I don't want to sound corny. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I'm a real Redskin. I really am. I'm a Washington Redskin."

On what he tells the younger players regarding what it means to be a Redskin:

"We have talked about that every day in the classroom. They knew my feelings all the time -- what it was to be a Redskin. I'll tell you what, when you talk about the NFC East, this is blue collar territory. Like I tell them, when you're flying to Philadelphia or New York, your flying over prisons, your flying over tough neighborhoods -- people want to see tough football. Redskins, Giants, Cowboys, Eagles, those are tough opponents. This team was built to play blue collar football; to line up, and knock you back off the football. Baltimore is that right now. This part of the country is a certain kind of football. I like what Mike Shanahan said, 'We'll start with the running game first.' That's big. That's very important. We have guys in here that can knock you back off the football over and over and over. You don't have to throw the ball. Right now, in this division, you have to have tough guys. It's a blue collar; knock the snot right out of your head -- that's the type of football player you have to have here."

On if there is one player who he's especially proud or fond of from his years of coaching:

"Well, the 'Super Hog' has been Russ Grimm. He has ended up being a heck of a football coach, and I loved coaching him. He was allergic to the weight room, he was allergic to conditioning, but I liked him because he had the ugliest body I've ever seen, and he was a good football player. They go down the line when you talk about Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic, Chris Samuels, Randy Thomas -- there are a lot of guys I've been around, and they're my very best friends. When things happen, those are the first guys to call. That loyalty, passion, and friendship was imbedded in their minds. That's what we preached all the time, and when things went bad, those were the callers."

On if he thinks Russ Grimm will ever make it into the Hall of Fame:

"I sure hope so. It's amazing that that group right there went to four Super Bowls, and nobody off that offensive line [has been inducted into the Hall of Fame]. Jim Lachey was good. Joe Jacoby. Russ Grimm -- if he doesn't make it this time, I don't really know what's going to happen."

On if his branding of the "Hogs" re-emphasized to America how important the offensive line is to winning football games:

"I really believe that. When you give a group a nickname, they better back it up. Also, if you give a group a nickname, there's a lot of jealousy on the football team. This team accepted it, the whole team did, and they thought it was really neat. When teams started saying, 'We're going to butcher the hogs,' and stuff like that, I think they took that as a personal affront. They were nasty, and that was a great bunch to coach. We coached them hard, and they tried to kill me a number of times, they had bricks on top of the door and stuff like that. They were my very dearest friends, but I had to really wear an Army helmet when I went back to the dormitory because they tried everything. I think the harder you coach, the more the guys respect you."

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