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Newswire

March 19, 1986

Fullback John Riggins announced that he has been released from the Washington Redskins. But team officials denied they had waived their all-time leading rusher.

Riggins, 36, said he met with Coach Joe Gibbs for 20 minutes Tuesday at Redskin Park to discuss his future with the team and said Gibbs told him "he'd reviewed the films and I'd lost a step."

Riggins said he responded: "I think that's absurd. . . . I want to play and play for the Redskins this year. But I understand what you've got to do, and if you've got to fire me, you've got to fire me."

Wearing a tuxedo and a somber expression at a March of Dimes banquet at a Washington hotel Tuesday night, Riggins said: "Was I surprised? No. I'd have to have my head in the sand to be shocked."

Gibbs and General Manager Bobby Beathard denied Riggins has been released. Reached at his Northern Virginia home, Gibbs said: "John has not been released. He and I did talk today. I thought the conversation was just between me and him."

Beathard said: "We absolutely have not released Riggins." Asked if the team planned to release the veteran running back, Beathard paused at length, then said: "I'm not going to comment. We have a decision to make. As of this date, we have not released John Riggins. Joe (Gibbs) and I will meet again tomorrow."

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