Mike Shanahan addressed the Washington and national media for the final time, making a statement after he was relieved of his duties as Redskins head coach.
"First of all I'd like to thank the fans. Through the first couple years you go through some rough times and I can't tell you how supportive this fan base is. To be able to coach here, be the head coach in front of fans like that support you the way they do, it made me feel very special and I thank them to start out with.
"I also would like to thank [Redskins owner] Dan [Snyder] for the opportunity here under a great organization. This is the best when you take a look at what the franchise has done, you take a look at the opportunities that is given to you as a head football coach and your staff you can't feel better.
"Also I would like to thank the players. So many players have given me everything they've got over the last four years and I thank them for it.
"One of the questions that has been asked of me the last couple weeks is, is this a better place today then it was when you came here four years ago. Instead of opening it up for questions that one was probably asked of me more than any other one so I'll answer that.
"When we first came here, we knew that we were in some tough situations relative to the salary cap and when we first came in as a staff, we knew we had to make some tough decisions.
"Any time that you release $100 million worth of players, you're talking about a lot of football players, a lot of players that have been successful and it's always hard to do. To do that a lot of people are involved, you've got to watch a lot of film, you make some tough decisions and we felt we had to do that relative to the salary cap.
"The thing we felt pretty good about is that not one of those players played a full year the next year. So we did make some good decisions relative of getting back to a base, relative to getting back to the salary cap because we had made some mistakes in the past.
"I thought in the first two years even though it was tough with five and six wins, I thought overall the direction of the team was going in the right direction. We had some quality guys, we still do, we had to make some tough decisions on offense, defense and special teams.
"Going into the third year, I felt very good. We had guys play at a very high level with [quarterback] Robert [Griffin III] and [running back] Alfred [Morris]; you get lucky with a free agent acquisition with guys like [wide receiver] Pierre [Garcon].
"Over those two, three years we did make some strides. Going into the third year what I thought was something we had to do was get some defensive players. When we got that $36 million hit, we weren't able to get some of those players we wanted to get.
"We had a lot of people targeted in that third year but it shows you what our football team did, we were still able to win the NFC East. I was proud of them being able to do that. Any time you're the 28th ranked defense and you're 31st in special teams usually you don't do it.
"Offensively we were able to overcome some battles and we found a way to win at least the last seven games.
"Any time you look at the cap situations that we went through it's always tough to have depth. That's what I thought really hurt us this year. Depth on our special teams, depth on our defense, we didn't have the speed we had a year ago.
"The thing I feel good about going into this year, we don't have those problems financially. You don't have to worry about us not doing things the right way relative to overspending. I think from now on, the problems with the cap are over with, the penalties are over with. With $25 [million], $30 million to go forward I believe we're in at least a situation where we're better off than four years ago. "I enjoyed it, the press right here, I know you guys got a tough job to do. I've made a number of friends, I appreciate your hospitality. I know its been tough at times but you guys have always been pros to me under some tough situations over the last three years. Again, thank you."