Last week, Mike Shanahan further distanced himself from the Robert Griffin era in Washington, saying that he thought the franchise’s decision to trade up to draft the former Heisman Trophy winner in 2012 was “absolutely crazy.”
Patrick Hegarty, who played under Shanahan and was a practice-squad quarterback for the Broncos in the late-1980s and early 1990s, didn’t like Shanahan’s comments, but he certainly wasn’t shocked by them.
“Over the years, I’ve seen Mike in his various stints across the NFL and getting hired again and again, and I’ve always kind of kept my own counsel and not wanted to say anything,” Hegarty said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “This thing, it just bothers me that he needs to go out of his way to heap more stuff on somebody.”
Hegarty, a former UTEP standout, recounted a story from the early 1990s in which Shanahan undermined then-Broncos head coach Dan Reeves – who, Hegarty said, had taken Shanahan “off the streets” after Shanahan was fired by the Raiders.
Shanahan, Hegarty recalls, would criticize play-calling during film sessions. There were two main problems with this: One, Reeves called plays, and two, Reeves wasn’t present when Shanahan bashed his decision-making.
Just how bad was it, you ask? Hegarty thinks it may have planted seeds of doubt in John Elway’s mind as to whether Reeves was the right coach for him.
Reeves was fired after the 1992 season. Shanahan became head coach in 1995 and led the Broncos to two Super Bowls.
“I just didn’t respect him,” Hegarty said of Shanahan. “I felt like he was undermining the guy who was his boss – one floor below where the head coach was.”
Shanahan, DA observed, seems eager to throw others under the bus for his lack of success in Washington but seems hesitant to take much culpability.
“Oh, absolutely,” Hegarty said. “I think when you look at (his) history, there’s always a deflection. There’s always a reason why somebody or something or the team isn’t successful, and it’s never him. I think the next time he says that he made a mistake and he says he did something wrong will probably be the first time.”
Regardless of what happened in Denver, Shanahan’s comments toward Griffin were clearly out of bounds.
“Enough’s enough,” Hegarty said. “Let the guy go play somewhere else and let it go. You’re not in the spotlight anymore and you need to finally kind of accept that.”