By Chris Lingebach

Story Time With Santana is a recurring online feature, taking stories from Santana Moss’s appearances with Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan. Moss played 10 seasons with the Redskins, and has a lot of stories to share — some untold — and sometimes fills in the gaps of stories to which fans were previously deprived valuable information.

Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was hell-bent on finding a rat leaking stories to the press during his first year in Washington, Santana Moss recalls to Chad Dukes of 106.7 the Fan.

This brings us back to 2010, the first of Shanahan’s four seasons with the Redskins.

“Man, Shanahan was furious,” Moss says. “I’d never seen a guy get so red every day. He was like one of those emojis that you see now, the red-faced emoji. Man, he was red. We had guys like London. Everybody was trying to find out, ‘Who is opening their mouth about some of this stuff?’

“It was every day. It was something new every day,” Moss recalls. “We would literally have a meeting and then, next thing you know, sources says. Like, who the hell told something? And it was just going on every day. We had to have those meetings that was uncomfortable, where the coach was like, ‘Hey. Who in here is snitching? Who’s in here telling stories and who’s in here telling our business? This is for us.’ And I’m sitting around like, bro, is this really going on? We’ve got grown-ass men in here that’s going out and giving information up to the media.”

“Like, I talked to these guys every day. I understand there’s certain things that are kept in-house, and if you can’t just allow what we’re talking about in-house and keep it home, then you shouldn’t be a part of this team,” he says. “And got to that point, to where [Shanahan] was looking for the guy: Who’s the rat? Let me go ahead and cut him now. Let me go ahead and find him, and let’s trap him and get him up out of here. And we never discovered who the rat was.”

“Every week it was something new that we had just said. Like, literally, we would be in a meeting, and before we hit the door to break, it pops up on social media: sources says. It was just crazy, man,” he adds. “But it was always questions about how he wanted to run things: why he wanted so much control; he wanted to handle money; he wanted to handle hiring and firing. He wanted so much control because he believed that he can build the team that we needed. He could bring in the right people, if allowed to, because he’s been down this road and been down the path before.”

Story Time: Rex Grossman Takes Over

The noise got so loud, veteran leader London Fletcher spoke up and addressed the team, Moss says.

“London got up and spoke well,” Moss says. “And like, ‘We’re brothers. We’re this. We’re that. We’ve got to keep this stuff in-house.’

“And I’m just sitting there, probably chewing on some gummy bears or something I was snacking on, going on, man, this is like a soap opera. Like, c’mon, man. It’s already tough to go out there and win, but we’ve got to deal with someone that’s giving up our secrets or giving up in-house stuff.”

The level of mistrust running through the halls at Redskins Park was so pervasive, Moss says he and other teammates were in constant pursuit trying to sniff out the leaker.

“So I was just looking around the room sometimes at guys,” Moss says. “I mean, I would look a guy eye-to-eye, because I feel like, at the end of the day, you could really tell from a guy the way he looks at you, and I used to try to find him and see if I could read somebody. Like, let me see if this dude’s one. If he don’t look at me the way I want him to look at me, then maybe he might be the guy.”

“I didn’t have a clue,” he says. “I wasn’t just going to go out there and examine everybody, and test no one to see who did what, where and when. I just know, man, between those lines, let’s go play. If y’all not ready, then we’re going to go out there and suck like we’ve been sucking.”

“It had to be this guy,” Dukes says, scribbling an unnamed former player onto a sheet of paper.

“I don’t know. No,” Moss says. “He wasn’t there then. That was 2010. He wasn’t there then. It was an older guy, though. They said it was an older guy. They said it was a veteran, and we just didn’t know who it was. I mean, trust me. We was examining.”

Moss maintains that, while they never properly identified the leaker, they did have their suspicions.

“We never found out who it was,” he says. “We kind of found… it’s funny, because guys had mumbles. You know me, I’m not the guy to say names. Guys would mumble anything and then they’d be like, ‘I think it’s this guy. I think it’s that guy.'”

The Redskins finished 6-10 that year, the first of two losing seasons before their 2012 breakout season under rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Asked whether the constant leaks made winning games more difficult, Moss says, “To be honest, I don’t know if it made my job individually difficult. I think as a team it did. I can honestly say that it was bothering our coaches that much, to know so much was going out.”

“It was almost bothering them because now some of these leaks was all about the coaches,” he says, “and, oh, well this person said this about Shanahan. This person said this about Shanahan and his son. So it was always some of that bull crap. That he said, she said stuff that. You’re like, this is elementary. Why are we sitting here as grown men playing a game that we love that we get paid to do, and we’ve got to deal with this?

“So it was just chaos that could have been controlled, or probably shouldn’t have been allowed that, to me, was hindering some of the things we were trying to do to move forward.”

“I’m gonna give you a hint,” Moss goes on to say. “And I don’t give hints.”

“Alright,” says Dukes. “Give me a hint.”

“He was on the defensive side,” Moss lets on.

And, just like that, the search continues.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan on Twitter

Comments
  1. Shanahan had (and still has) a lot of enemies in the league. Back then he was literally hated or loved. There is a group of players, most with connections to Denver or guys who played there who were not Shanahan fans. They called him, among other things, ‘mastermind’ or even ‘lobsterman’ and considered him a lying, backstabbing SOB. Many never forgave him for the way he and Elway backstabbed former coach Dan Reeves eventually pushing him out and getting him fired. Reeves had built the team, Shanahan was the OC who just needed ‘to be set free’ with Elway to win. They managed, with that team, to win back to back SBs. Shanahan, if you remember, was run out of Denver by the owner who had finally grown tired of his power struggle with players and other coaches and his overall paranoia, who the owner thought was so bad that he ‘needed to see a shrink right away. I knew him back then and he reminded me of Nixon. He thought everyone was out to get him’.

    Shanahan is still the same today. He’s been on a PR campaign as of late to repair his image as a coaching legend and genius. He is concerned that his time in DC has ruined him. And, IHO, the fault lies with Griffin, lack of support from the owner and constant media leaks. The fans watched as the two forces, ownership and coaching, fought a 2-3 year campaign in the media. In what was clearly a power struggle, even worse than the one he had had in Denver or Oakland, Shanahan was, this time, outflanked by novice football mind Bruce Allen. That alone showed the level of mastermind to which the Coach had sunk. Getting played like a drum by a low budget butt-boy reduced the Coach to an all-time low. Most believe he is finished in the game and as a legit football coach.

    Since leaving DC he has been considered for just one (real) opening, in LA of all places. He has been active and has not gone into hiding, doing interviews mostly to defend his record in DC and to campaign for future jobs. An example of this was his outright assault on the recent Chicago Bears opening in 2015, which ironically went to a former Denver coach, John Fox. Shanahan used his old friend Adam Schiefter at ESPN to plant rumors that the Bears were seriously considering him and that he was ‘at the top of the list’. He also used other media hacks to plant stories in the Chicago media for him, as Shanahan was slick enough to know that he couldn’t plant the stories himself. He was eventually outed by a local reporter who checked with the team and was told that they had never formally met with him and had no plans to hire him.

    The Coach, some believe, was actually leaking the info in DC himself. Why?. To get the jump on any real leaks from unknown sources. That way he could always call them ‘fake news’ or ‘bogus’ while at the same time create a narrative he could control. That’s how paranoid he had dropped down to. It worked, his team was spending it’s time, as Moss points out, trying to weed out a ‘leaker’ and keeping each other until control by watching each other. According to players there the Coach did the same thing in Denver. It worked there, and helped the junta of him and Elway run off players sympathetic to Coach Reeves. In DC, however, the process blew up in his face.

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