Source says Coles tells Gibbs he wants out

February 21, 2005

By The Associated Press

First Rod Gardner, now Laveranues Coles. The Washington Redskins could lose both their top receivers after an unsatisfying season in coach Joe Gibbs' offense.

Coles has met with Gibbs twice to state his desire to leave the Redskins, including a forthright conversation the day after the season ended, an official within the league told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday. The Redskins, in turn, have told Coles they want him to have surgery on the chronic toe injury that has plagued him the last two seasons, a procedure that Coles has been reluctant to undergo, the source said.

The Redskins last month granted Gardner's request to seek a trade. Coles and Gardner accounted for a combined 141 catches and 1,600 yards for the Redskins last season, but both were disenchanted with a conservative offense that produced few big plays downfield and ranked 30th overall.


Coles had 90 catches for 950 yards for a career-low 10.6 yards a catch and only one touchdown in the Redskins' 6-10 season. The year before, under pass-oriented coach Steve Spurrier, Coles had 82 receptions for 1,204 yards and six touchdowns.

Coles will find it difficult to get an outright release from the Redskins unless he is willing to give back some of the $13 million signing bonus he received when he signed a seven-year, $35 million contract as a free agent from the New York Jets two years ago. The Redskins could instead grant Coles permission to seek a trade, as they have with Gardner.

Coles' meetings with Gibbs were first reported by The Washington Post. After the first one, which came a day after the season-ending victory over Minnesota, Coles stormed past reporters in the parking lot and told them to call his agent for any news about him.

While Coles has been unhappy with the offense, the Redskins have been concerned about Coles' right big toe, which has a stress fracture and became arthritic. Coles opted for rest instead of surgery after the 2003 season, but the injury continued to bother him in 2004. Gibbs has said the decision whether to have surgery is up to Coles, but the team wants him to have the procedure if he is to stay with the team, the source said.

Coles' agent, Roosevelt Barnes, didn't return calls Monday. A Redskins spokesman said Gibbs was in meetings wasn't immediately available for comment.

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