Redskins COO Dave Donovan is leaving the team to rejoin the lawfirm he worked at before joining the Redskins six years ago.
“This was my deicision,” Donovan told 106.7 The Fan in a phone interview on Monday afternoon. Donovan said he’s been thinking about leaving football since the end of last season, and that his decision comes amid mixed emotions.
“It was a point where if I wanted to go back to private practice I had to do it now.”
Donovan, who served as outside counsel to Redskins owner Daniel Snyder for several seasons before he joined the team in a full-time capacity, had been serving as one of Snyder’s top advisors and spokesmen.
“It’s been an enormous range of things. You’ve got the football team on one side, business operations, legal issues and then more in the last two years stadium operations and customer service. It’s been an incredible range of responsibilities and no two days were ever alike, which I loved.”
Donovan says the aspect of his job he’ll miss the most is the game-day duties he had at FedEx Field.
“Being able to troubleshoot and address problems than fans were having, whether it was big picture things or little things,” Donovan said. “That was gratifying.”
While the departing decision-maker had “very little” to do with the Redskins’ football operation, he did negotiate the contracts of the team’s incoming coaches. And Donovan’s still convinced that the last coach he worked a deal out with is the right one for the Redskins.
“I haven’t gotten to know [Mike Shanahan] real well,” Donovan admitted over the phone. “But he is very outgoing and very in charge. He has the respect of the institution and has the respect of the players. I’m 100 percent confident that he’s going to take very good care of the team. I have no doubts.”
Like Shanahan, Donovan had more than his share of drama to deal with in Washington.
He was outspoken in representing the team during the banning of signs at FedEx Field in 2010. He’s also been with the team during controversial lawsuits against a woman who failed to pay for her season tickets and Dan Snyder’s lawsuit against the City Paper.
Donovan wouldn’t comment on Snyder’s lawsuit with the City Paper. But he did give some thoughts on the sign controversies, which will be a topic of conversation in Washington for years to come.
“That was kind of over-blown and that was [during] a miserable season if you remember,” he said. “It could’ve and should’ve been handled better in terms of policy. We should have reacted more quickly.”
“I got kind of branded a couple years ago as being a media critic of the press coverage of the team and I’ve stated my view when asked,” Donovan said.
So what does Donovan think of the coverage of the team?
“It’s fine. There is so much of it that when you work here you just feel like you’re bombarded with it… I guess just being the biggest team in town like this, there is a lot of interest in everything that we do, regardless of what it is.”
“When the team’s not winning people are looking for something to criticize, understandably,” he added.
With Donovan departing, the team’s current plan is reportedly not to hire a successor, but rather to once again use Donovan as an advisor and counselor from outside of the front office.
Snyder issued a statement on Monday, thanking Donovan for his services at Redskins Park.
“We want to thank Dave for his years of service with the Redskins. Even though he is returning to the law firm where he worked prior to joining the team, he will continue to consult with the Redskins as he did prior to joining the organization. We look forward to continuing our relationship and wish him the best of luck in his new position.”