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INDIANAPOLIS — Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan doesn't often tell the media a lot. But his comments on Friday were pretty revealing — if you read between the lines.
He spoke first about QB Donovan McNabb, who was benched after clashing with the coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan last season. Mike Shanahan and Fletcher Smith, McNabb's agent, conducted a war of words through various incendiary statements last season, making an ugly situation even uglier.
But Shanahan said he spoke to Smith on Wednesday and had a chance to iron out a few things as it relates to McNabb.
"I thought we had a great conversation," Shanahan said. "(We) had a lot of different quotes during the season. I was able to address a lot of questions (Smith) had, as well. I think, over the next few weeks, we'll talk again and then we'll make a decision on what direction we're going to go.
"I thought it was a good initial conversation."
The only thing preventing McNabb from moving on right now is the CBA. Despite the seemingly harmless comments and some semblance of a peace treaty between Shanahan and Smith, their accord is most likely aimed at trying to work out a trade to a destination of McNabb's approval.
Shanahan said he hadn't talked directly to McNabb and wouldn't speculate on his future with the team.
Another comment that drew interest was about RB Clinton Portis. Shanahan was asked a question about free agency, and he quickly steered the answer toward Portis, who is due to make $8.3 million next season.
"You take a guy like Clinton Portis, it's a little different," Shanahan said. "Here's a guy with a high salary ... I have always dealt with it a little differently. I'll let him test the market out. We want him at a lower price; we'll always give him that option."
What Shanahan essentially said is that Portis will not come back at his current figure — and might not come back at all, regardless of whether he's willing to take a pay cut.
On Haynesworth, Shanahan mentioned two recent assault allegations against the player, as well as the four-game suspension the Redskins levied on him, but wouldn't say what direction the club would take. At the Super Bowl, owner Daniel Snyder told the media he was "hopeful" that Haynesworth had a future in D.C. But Shanahan spoke more about his uncertain situation.
"You never really know," Shanahan said. "He's going through appealing a four-game suspension. Had a couple alleged incidents that he's got to take care of. Obviously that goes through the commissioner.
"There are a lot of ramifications. He's got to take care of that first."
Shanahan also talked about the Redskins' needs and was asked about adding a pass rusher and a nose tackle, two positions where he said the team needed to add talent. At the same time, the one position he singled out as having proper depth was tight end.