Former Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan praised the organization that fired him two months ago, calling his parting a mutual decision.
McCloughan, speaking publicly for the first time since his March 9 firing, didn’t express bitterness toward the organization.
“It’s too bad what happened here, but it was mutual,” he told radio station 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of good people in this organization from the ownership on down. [Owner] Dan Snyder was nothing but great to us. It just didn’t work out.
“I hate leaving here because I have so many close friends. … It’s a good organization, a really good organization. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
McCloughan was fired after two years with the Redskins, helping the team win 17 games in that time.
He did not show up for the scouting combine, fueling intense speculation over his future. The Redskins said McCloughan was tending to his grandmother’s funeral, but she had died a month earlier and the services already had been held.
At the time, there was minimal hope in the organization that any rift could be resolved; most people felt the damage had already been done. His departure was rumored to be coming after the draft. Instead, the Redskins fired him on the first day of free agency, with The Washington Post printing an anonymous quote from a club official blaming McCloughan’s drinking issues. He had been fired from two previous jobs for personal issues.
McCloughan was not asked about the reasons for his dismissal on Tuesday’s show. He also didn’t say anything specifically about team president Bruce Allen.
McCloughan, however, stressed his love for the organization and its fan base.
“The fans were incredible,” McCloughan said. “I respect that. I’ll never forget it. This is a great, classic organization that has a lot of tradition and hopefully will get back to what it did in the past.”
McCloughan still played a key role in setting the Redskins’ draft board this spring, saying it was around 90 percent set when he left — and reiterated he was helped by those around him. It helps, McCloughan said, that Redskins coach Jay Gruden likes to evaluate talent unlike other coaches he had previously worked with.
McCloughan has returned to running the scouting service he started after leaving the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. He said he wasn’t sure if he’d return to working in a front office.
“The scouting service was … fun because I’d work half a day and go fishing the other half and write reports,” McCloughan said. “Then by midseason, I missed the competition and missed being with one team. You saw me on the sidelines when we’d win and the hugs I’d give guys, the passion that’s there. That will be missed for sure.”
Under McCloughan’s watch, the Redskins failed to get a long-term deal done with quarterback Kirk Cousins. McCloughan, though, was not responsible for negotiating the contracts and, one source said, had not talked with Cousins’ agent for a year before his departure.
“I hope they get a long-term deal done,” McCloughan said, “because he’s high character, he’s a good player, he’s smart and he’s a good teammate and he has leadership qualities. I was around the Brett Favres and Russell Wilsons and Matt Hasselbecks. Those are the characteristics that stand out. He has the arm talent and can move around and make plays with his feet. It’s too bad it didn’t happen, but that’s an organizational thing.”