SBJ/20090406/IMG World Congress Of Sports

Joe Gibbs: Owner of race team reveals an early lesson in NFL

Joe Gibbs started his 30-minute keynote speech with a story that he said he’s never publicly shared before.

“I think I could have used IMG earlier in my career. … I finally got the job with the Redskins and Mr. [Jack Kent] Cooke called me in; tough, billionaire. Basically said we’re going to do a three-year contract and I said no problem, I’ll give anything to coach the Redskins. He said he also wanted a five-year option, at [his] option, on the contract. …

Gibbs found himself as a
young coach bargaining
with Jack Kent Cooke.

“We start out my career there, and the second year we went to the Super Bowl, and to his credit he brought me back in and renegotiated my contract and said, ‘I told you I would and I’m gonna do it.’ I said, ‘Mr. Cooke I’m so nervous about this, please let me have somebody else do this. I don’t want to do it myself.’ Mr. Cooke said no problem.

“At that point I had a relationship with Robert Fraley … and told him to go in there and negotiate the contract. I left to make a speech and get an emergency phone call, it was Mr. Cooke, and he said, ‘You get back up here. I don’t like what this man is saying.’” Gibbs returned.

“He says, ‘ … I’m going to give you a piece of paper and this pen and I want you to write down what you think you need. … I’m going to take this piece of paper and write down what I think you need to get. … Then we’ll exchange and see what we can negotiate here.

“Now I’m sweating, a young coach sitting across from a billionaire. So I take the paper and put down this, this and this and just as I finish he goes, ‘Let me see what you wrote down,’ and he grabs my paper. He goes, ‘That’s exactly what I wrote down!’ Wads it up and throws it in the wastebasket.”

Stories by staff writers Tripp Mickle, Jon Show, Eric Fisher and John Ourand. Photos by Alex Gort Sr. / Gort Productions.

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