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Year away allows Shanahan to actually enjoy watching football

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Recent posts by Michael Blunda

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By Michael Blunda

INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes a year off can change you're perspective on things. Just ask Mike Shanahan.

Speaking to the media Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Redskins' new head coach reflected on his year away from the game and how he was able to be a fan and actually enjoy watching football for the first time in decades.

"I think it's always good," Shanahan said of his time off. "Anytime you're working for 35 years and get a chance to sit back and watch the game. It's the first time I've actually had a chance to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and watch four games in the morning, four in the afternoon, one at night. I can see why people enjoy this game.

"You don't realize it as a coach because you've got other things going on in your mind: You're getting ready for a game, you're thinking about injuries, you're thinking about the upcoming opponent, who's doing this, who's doing that. And when you really get out of the game and you sit back and watch, and you really don't care who wins or loses and you're kind of dissecting the game, just enjoying it, it was really a great experience for me to sit back and figure out what a great game you do have and how much you do miss it."

Fans probably don't realize sometimes how little NFL action head coaches get to watch. Given their mound of responsibilities and the fact that their Sundays are pretty busy, it doesn't leave them a whole lot of time to kick back and take in the action. They're so close, yet so far.

Shanahan also talked about the valuable experience he got visiting training camp in his time away from coaching. He stopped in at Patriots and Steelers camp, among others, but wouldn't reveal any secrets he picked up during that time.

And since he had so many extra hours on his hands, Shanny didn't forget to catch some college football. After all, it was basically a lock that he'd be coaching again in 2010, so it was wise to try to catch some of the top pro prospects in game action.

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