Redskins shakeup: Bruce Allen is GM, Cerrato quits
The Washington Redskins overhauled their front office Thursday
morning, hiring Bruce Allen as general manager after the
resignation of Vinny Cerrato.
Allen becomes the first person hired by owner Dan Snyder to hold
the general manager title, a notable milestone after a decade of
various front office arrangements that usually centered around
Snyder and his good friend Cerrato.
But changes were needed for a team that is 4-9 this season, and
Cerrato has been widely criticized for his roster decisions since
getting the title of executive vice president of football
operations two years ago.
Snyder is also expected to be hiring a new coach in a few weeks,
and Allen could be the bridge to that change as well.
The son of legendary Redskins coach George Allen, Bruce Allen
was the general manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five
seasons. He and Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden were fired in January,
and the pair could renew their association if current coach Jim
Zorn is fired as the end of the season.
For players, the news was just the first of many anticipated
“That’s a start – that’s a change right there,” cornerback
Carlos Rogers said. “There’s going to be change in personnel.
There’s going to be change all over. It’ll probably be more changes
coaching-wise, so I guess that’s the first change right now. You
never know what Mr. Snyder got up his sleeve. Personally, I’m
worrying about me, and that’s all I can worry about.”
Tampa Bay won two division championships under Allen. He
previously worked for nine years in the Oakland Raiders’ front
“Bruce Allen is the personification of an NFL winner,” Snyder
said in a statement released by the team. “Our fans know his
heritage; we know his abilities. He is the right person to lead our
The Redskins said Allen would begin work immediately.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity with one of the world’s
most successful sports franchises,” Allen said. “I love
everything about this assignment; I know what it means to be
dedicated to the Redskins. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Cerrato has been Snyder’s right-hand for most of the last 10
years, but even their tight friendship couldn’t overcome the team’s
“We agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this
position,” Cerrato said in a separate statement released by the
team. “I’m thankful to Dan Snyder and other members of his
ownership team for the opportunities I’ve been given over the
years. Of course, I am disappointed with this year’s results, but I
strongly believe that with outstanding draft picks and encouraging
performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong
foundation for the franchise.”
Cerrato added that he has “had the pleasure of working with
some great coaches such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman
Lewis” – notably leaving out Zorn.
Cerrato has been a favorite punching bag for fans in recent
years, receiving criticism often in tandem with Snyder. One fan
infamously used a pair of signs to refer to the pair as “Dumb”
and “Dumber” at a game this season.
Cerrato was one of the first major hires after Snyder bought the
Redskins in 1999. He was fired in 2001 by coach Marty
Schottenheimer after Schottenheimer was given control of football
operations. A year later, Snyder fired Schottenheimer and rehired
Although Cerrato’s title changed over the years, he remained a
significant front office voice in player decisions. The results
have been far from encouraging: The Redskins have won only one
playoff game since 2000.
Cerrato’s power within the organization increased after coach
Joe Gibbs’ resignation two years ago, and there have been plenty of
hits and misses among his player choices.
This year, Cerrato gave Zorn an offensive line without a single
reserve who played in the NFL last year – even though two starters
were coming off significant injuries. Both of those starters soon
were out for the season, and the resulting scramble for a starting
five hampered the development of the offense.
“He is my friend, and he has always been there for me and the
Redskins,” Snyder said. “He’s the consummate optimist and has
always made decisions based on what would be the best for the