"Coach Shanahan taught me a lot in two years of being with him. I want to thank him for drafting me to the Washington Redskins and giving me a chance to live out my dream," Griffin said. "And I want to thank Kyle and Matt for working so hard with me every day, day in and day out. We did a lot of great things together and I wish all three of them the best in the future. I'm looking forward to the new year and building this team back to where we know it should be."
Mike Shanahan, who did not field questions during his media briefing Monday, had previously said he anticipated a quick decision on his fate and that proved to be accurate. There had been talk about his future when the Redskins started their eight-game skid, but the general belief was that he had a good chance to return. The fact he was owed $7 million next season was seen as a factor.
But an ESPN.com report stating that Shanahan nearly quit after the 2012 season over Snyder's relationship with Griffin, which was published the day of a 45-10 home loss to Kansas City, seemed to signal the beginning of the end. Snyder, team sources said, was caught off guard by the story and was not prepared to make a move at that time, having decided to wait until season's end to review the coach's status. That story gave way to multiple others, fueling speculation about the motives behind the leaks and returning a circus atmosphere to Redskins Park.
Allen said that the firing was a "99 percent" certainty after Washington's loss to Dallas in the home finale. But he wanted Shanahan to complete the season.
"We wanted Mike to have the ability to right the ship," Allen said. "We came close in the last few weeks. But as is the frustration over the last four years, we played some good quarters, some good halves, but we didn't play complete games."
But this move was more than just about dissatisfaction over off-field issues. The team simply wasn't doing enough to warrant a fifth season for Shanahan and a possible contract extension.
The Redskins went from 11-21 his first two seasons combined to 10-6 and an NFC East title last year. But in a playoff loss to Seattle, then-rookie Griffin tore his ACL and needed surgery to also repair two other ligaments.
Shanahan said Monday that he was proud of the Redskins for winning the division in 2012, the first season in a two-year, $36 million penalty levied against the team for salary-cap violations during the previous year.
"Going into the third year, what I thought was something we had to do was get some defensive players," he said. "When we got that $36 million hit, we weren't able to get players we wanted to get. But to show you what our team did -- we were still able to win the NFC East. I was proud we were able to do that."
The rifts between Griffin and Shanahan -- and those between Griffin and Kyle Shanahan -- stemmed from trust issues, with Griffin displeased over plays that were called for him after he returned from his initial posterior cruciate ligament tear in early December, multiple team sources said. Those issues only deepened after Mike Shanahan benched Griffin for the final three games, saying he wanted to keep him healthy for the offseason.