RICHMOND—Redskins GM Scot McCloughan said he and other members of the team’s front office interviewed over 20 people about Junior Galette before deciding to sign the troubled former Saints linebacker.
“It was a long process,” McCloughan said Sunday at the Bon Secours Training Facility. “I will promise you guys this: being new here and knowing where we’re going and what we want to build, I’m not going to bring a bad guy in. I will not give on that, at all.”
McCloughan said also spoke at length with Galette. Coach Jay Gruden and team president Bruce Allen also met with him.
“I told him, I want you to be you,” he said. “The reason I’m here [is] to sit down with you face-to-face, one-on-one, an hour, two hours, three hours—it doesn’t matter. I want to get to know you as a person. That’s what matters to me. I [said], ‘I know you as a football player, I want to know you as a person.’ He’s so sincere and so excited about the excited about the opportunity to prove that he’s a good guy, a good football player, that he has a good career ahead of him.”
McCloughan added: “I sat with him for two hours. It was very intense. Very intense. To the point where we were almost face-to-face. I was telling him what I expect. If he can’t bring it, then we don’t want you.”
Asked why he decided to roll the dice on Galette, even after saying he was looking to build the Redskins around only high character players, McCloughan said: “[He’s] not a bad guy. All players have issues. We all have some kind of issues. We’ve all made mistakes. I don’t repeat offenders. I don’t want the guy that I know is not going to be a good guy to bring into our locker room.”
“What you always read in the media and hear in the media is not always accurate,” he continued. “We did our investigation. We were thorough, thorough, thorough. [We talked] to the league office, other players and coaches in the league. This guy we feel very comfortable with going forward. Very comfortable.”
Galette was released by the Saints last week because the team, which paid him a $12 million bonus in March, believed the off-the-field issues outweighed his on-the-field production. The NFL is investigating Galette’s January arrest for alleged domestic violence incident; the charges were later dropped. The league is also looking into a two-year-old video that allegedly shows Galette striking a woman with a belt during a group altercation on a beach.
“I did not like the video at all,” McCloughan said. “As a matter of fact, when I saw the video it was scary. That’s why I want to meet with him face-to-face. That’s why I had to sit down and ask him what happened. I got the real story and I’m fine with that.”
McCloughan, who declined to share what Galette told him about the incident, said it’s still possible Galette could will face league-imposed discipline.
“There’s a chance,” he said. “It’s still in the process with the league. We’ve been in touch with the league the whole time. There’s a chance that something happens but we’re definitely willing to take that chance, knowing that he’s going to be a Redskin and knowing that he’s going to give us a lot of games.”
The Redskins signed Galette on Friday to a one-yea contract that will pay him the league minimum of $745,000.
“It’s a good contact for us, but it also gave him an opportunity to play in the NFL again,” said McCloughan, who added that Galette understands that another off the field slip-up could end his tenure in Washington.