Charley Casserly (born c. 1948, in River Edge, New Jersey, United States) is a 16-year veteran NFL General Manager and 24-year NFL executive who worked for the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans. He currently works for NFL Network.
Casserly recently served as Senior Vice President & General Manager, Football Operations, for the expansion franchise Houston Texans from 2000 to 2006. He headed all football operations for the club.
Casserly began his career as an assistant track coach at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, from 1969–72 before moving to a similar post at his alma mater, Springfield (MA) College from 1973–74. He returned to Cathedral High School to serve as the school's athletic director for two years before becoming head football coach at Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, from 1975–76.
He holds a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in guidance from Springfield College, where he also played football. In May 2005, he received an honorary doctor degree in humanics from Springfield. Casserly is also a member of the Springfield College Sports Hall of Fame and Bergen Catholic High School Hall of Fame.
In his 23-year career with the Washington Redskins, the team went to four Super Bowls, winning three. Casserly was an assistant to Bobby Beathard for two of the Super Bowl winning seasons. In 2003, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue appointed him to the NFL's Competition Committee for the second time (2003–06; 1996–1999).
Casserly started with the Redskins in 1977 as an unpaid intern under Hall of Fame coach, George Allen. Washington hired Casserly as a scout the next season. During his early years as a scout, he unearthed free agents Joe Jacoby and Jeff Bostic, who were original members of the famed "Hogs" offensive line and key components of Washington's first two Super Bowl teams. Jacoby was selected to four Pro Bowls and Bostic made one trip to Honolulu. The Redskins elevated Casserly to Assistant General Manager in 1982 and the club went on to capture its first Super Bowl. That year, Casserly also re-instituted the club's intern program, which has produced more than 20 league executives over his years in Washington and Houston.
In 1987 during the NFL players strike, Casserly put together the Redskins' "replacement" team that went 3–0 before the strike ended, including a Monday Night win against a Dallas team that featured a number of its star players. That experience was the subject of the Warner Bros. feature film, "The Replacements," that starred Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman.
Elevated to General Manager in 1989, Casserly sustained the Redskins' history of uncovering high-quality players in the later rounds of the draft. He used a fifth-round draft pick in 1990 to select Southwest Louisiana quarterback Brian Mitchell. Washington then converted Mitchell into a running back/kick returner, where he later joined Jim Brown as the only players in NFL history to lead the league in combined net yards four times. In 1996, Casserly plucked Auburn University running back Stephen Davis in the fourth round. Davis paced the NFC in rushing in 1999 with 1,450 yards. Casserly also drafted future Pro Bowlers in wide receiver Keenan McCardell (12th round, 1991) and tight end Frank Wycheck (sixth round, 1993). During the 1999 off-season, Casserly acquired veteran quarterback Brad Johnson who responded with a Pro Bowl season.
In 1999, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly, The Sporting News and USA Today named Casserly their NFL Executive of the Year at mid-season. On draft day in 1999, Casserly acquired all of the New Orleans Saints 1999 selections, plus their first and third-round picks in 2000 by swapping the Redskins' fifth selection in the first round for the Saints' 12th choice. He still managed to obtain the player that Washington wanted, selecting future Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey.
Not all of Casserly's picks were good ones. A number of his selections were poor, with the most notable example being Heath Shuler, who was selected with the third overall pick in the 1994 NFL draft. Shuler had a fruitless NFL career. In 2008, ESPN rated Shuler the 4th biggest NFL Draft bust of all time.
Casserly's Redskins career ended after the 1999 season when he was fired by team owner Dan Snyder.
After leaving the Redskins, Casserly took on the General Manager role for the expansion Houston Texans. With the franchise's first four selections in the 2002 NFL Draft, Casserly drafted David Carr, Jabar Gaffney, Chester Pitts, and Fred Weary.
During Casserly's remaining drafts for the Texans, (2003 through 2006), the Texans drafted five eventual Pro-Bowlers: Andre Johnson (WR, 2003), Jerome Mathis (KR, 2005), DeMeco Ryans (LB, 2006), Mario Williams (DE, 2006) and Owen Daniels (TE 2006). Ryans was also named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. Mario Williams, who many criticized for being the #1 overall pick in 2006 (behind college standouts Reggie Bush and Vince Young), made the Pro Bowl in the 2008 season.
During Casserly's tenure as GM, the Texans went 4–12 in their inaugural season of 2002, then improved to 5–11 in 2003 and 7–9 in 2004 before slumping to a disappointing 2–14 record in 2005. During the 2005 season, while the Texans were 1–12, team owner Bob McNair hired former NFL coach Dan Reeves to serve as a consultant to help McNair evaluate his team. After the end of the season, head coach Dom Capers was fired by McNair. Casserly was criticized for a number of personnel moves, including trading second and third round picks to the Oakland Raiders for Phillip Buchanon in 2005. Buchanon was a poor player for the Texans in 2005, and was released by the team after the first four games of the 2006 season. In a public interview, McNair criticized the trade for Buchanon, saying that the front office had not done its homework.
Subsequent to the Texans' 2006 NFL Draft and after the Texans' 2-14 season, Casserly left the organization on June 1, 2006. Casserly sought a job in the National Football League front office, but was passed over for the job. He was succeeded as General Manager by Rick Smith. Casserly's work with the Texans has been subject to much criticism.
In addition, Casserly has had extensive experience in radio and television for 16 years. While in Washington, he was a part of local television shows on WUSA (CBS), WJLA (ABC), WTTG (Fox) and HTS (Home Team Sports), as well as radio shows on WTOP and WJFK. In Houston, Casserly did four years of television on KTRK (ABC) and six years of radio on KILT. In the Fall of 1999, he reported three times per week on ESPN Radio and was a contributor on ESPN's show, Edge NFL Match-Up.
In 2008, he was the color commentator for the Philadelphia Eagles preseason games on Eagles Television Network.
Controversy with Bill Belichick
At the end of the 2009 NFL season, Casserly stated that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was playing through three broken ribs. His analysis, however, was refuted by Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who stated, "Who's been wrong more than Charley Casserly since he left the Redskins? Wherever he's been, whatever he's done, his percentage is like a meteorologist...He has no relationship with this team, I'd say less than zero. He's never here, I don't know if he's ever been to a game. He's never been to a practice...at least he put his name on it and I'll put my name on it and say, like he usually is, he's 100-percent wrong."
Casserly caused further controversy when he reported on CBS' NFL pregame show (October 10, 2010) that a confrontation between Tom Brady and Randy Moss occurred following New England's 38-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills, that the two had to be separated, and that this was the impetus for the trade of Moss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Belichick's criticism of Casserly stemmed from a December 2006 incident where the Miami Dolphins suggested they'd received game tape that included audio of Brady. Casserly said the Patriots had been warned about their videotaping practices - "(they had a staff member) dressed in coaching attire with a video camera who was presumably videotaping the other team's signals. You can't do that. They were warned." Belichick responded that he'd been told nothing from the league about it and sarcastically asked, "Why don't you go talk to Charley Casserly? He seems to have all the answers on everything."
Notes and references
- Aldridge, David. "Casserly Goes According to The Plan; Redskins' Rocky Start Puts Focus On GM Who Put Team Together", The Washington Post, October 5, 1994. Accessed October 9, 2008. "Casserly knows this just as surely as he knows he's from River Edge, N.J."
- Justice, Richard. "Casserly's Career Is A Real Piece of Work; Since Humble Start, Always a Job to Do", The Washington Post, August 28, 1996. Accessed September 15, 2011. "'My father told me I was going to high school at Bergen Catholic and I was going to have to come up with the money to pay the $300 tuition,' Casserly recalled."
- Belichick-Casserly feud
- Charley Casserly Lands at George Mason - D.C. Sports Bog
|Washington Redskins General Manager
Vinny Cerrato (as Director of Player Personnel)