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Skins' Snyder Now 'Hands'Off'

When Dan Snyder bought the Washington Redskins, he said he'd be a "hands-on" owner. On Thursday, he presented Marty Schottenheimer as his new coach and vowed to be "hands-off."

Schottenheimer, who often has said he couldn't work for Snyder, took the reins as Redskins coach and director of football operations. Questions immediately centered on Schottenheimer's past criticism of Snyder - and who really will control the team.

"This is Marty Schottenheimer's organization from the standpoint of the final word," Snyder said. "This is something he needs to have, it's important to have."

The former Cleveland and Kansas City coach signed a four-year, $10 million contract to succeed interim coach Terry Robiskie, who coached the final three games after Snyder fired Norv Turner. The Redskins finished 8-8 despite a record $100 million player payroll.

Schottenheimer ends a two-year absence from coaching, during which he worked as an ESPN analyst and had plenty of bad things to say about Snyder's meddlesome style.

"I plead guilty," Schottenheimer said. "And I broke an axiom that I've always believed in, that when you take a position on something, you ought to have some information on what you're choosing to speak about. I obviously didn't have enough information about Dan Snyder."

Schottenheimer and Snyder forged a relationship during a 4-5 hour hotel meeting, then Snyder and his wife visited Schottenheimer's house near Charlotte, N.C., where the owner talked about "what I've done wrong, what I've done right." Schottenheimer's on-air criticisms, which Snyder dismissed as "media comments," no longer were an issue.

"Many times perception is not reality," Snyder said. "I think I'm pretty hands-off. As Marty learns spending a lot of time with me, I'm not as hands-on as it may sound because I'm young and I'm sometimes in the building."

Schottenheimer is one of the best coaches never to make it to a Super Bowl.

"It became very obvious to me that Dan Snyder has been after the same thing that Marty Schottenheimer has been after his entire career, and that's to win a world's championship," Schottenheimer said. "It begins today in a partnership in which two individuals have to begin the process of developing the kind of trust and interaction that I have no doubt Dan Snyder and I will achieve."

Schottenheimer, who will also oversee the draft, said he has a "very specific understanding" with Snyder about his authority over player matters.

Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984-88 and made the playoffs each of his four full seasons, losing twice to Denver in the AFC championship game. He then coached the Chiefs from 1989-98, taking them to the playoffs seven times in 10 seasons.

Schotteneimer's career regular-season record is 145-85-1, but only 5-11 in the playoffs. The 150 total wins are 12th most in league history. He left Kansas City with three years left on his contract when he began working for ESPN.

"I missed being involved in the teaching of young men about the game of football," Schottenheimer said. "I live vicariously through the performance of the players that go on the field, and that's why I'm back."

Perhaps the most important aspect of Schottenheimer's hiring is that it finally places someone who knows the NFL in Snyder's inner circle.

Snyder, a successful businessman, knew little about running a football team when he bought the Redskins in 1999, and it showed in many public relations gaffes. He compounded his problem by surrounding himself with people who lacked impressive NFL credentials.

On Thursday, the 36-year-old owner took the attitude of a CEO who cleans house and hires his own people. He long ago fired dozens of staffers and has very few pre-Snyder Redskins employees still working for him.

"We're making a chance here in such a way to set the future of the Redskins," Snyder said. "This is the first official stamp that Dan Snyder's putting on this football team."

Schottenheimer was one many unlikely top-tier candidates pursued by Snyder. Steve Spurrier, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Dick Vermeil were among those who said they weren't interested, and Schottenheimer was thought to feel the same way because of his ESPN comments.

Schottenheimer said deciding on his staff will be his "No. 1 priority." He said he has not decided if Robiskie will return in some capacity, or if he will keep defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes.

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