UPDATE: Schefter has tweeted a correction to his earlier tweet.
As we noted here, there's been a bit of a Twitter controversy over whether the Redskins actually released cornerback Byron Westbrook. ESPN's Adam Schefter, who may be the most connected and trusted NFL reporter, tweeted that the Redskins cut Westbrook this morning, but the report has since been refuted by Rick Maese of the Washington Post and others.
Without getting into the argument over whether Schefter should be reprimanded for reporting news on Twitter that did not occur, like a certain someone, I feel like it's worth pointing out the strangeness of this whole situation. Sure, it's newsworthy anytime Schefter (or anyone) messes up or jumps the gun, but it's particularly strange in this case, because Schefter is very close with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.
It was with Shanahan's Broncos where Schefter cut his teeth as the league's premier insider. He wrote for the Denver Post for many years, furnishing a friendship with Shanahan that lasts to this day. This is something the Washington Post's Leonard Shapiro discussed in a profile of Schefter earlier this year.
They first met in 1990 when Schefter was a young beat reporter with a freshly minted master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism and Shanahan was the Broncos' quarterbacks coach, grooming John Elway for greatness.
"I've known Mike almost half my life, wow!" Schefter said in a telephone interview this week. "I'd never even thought about that before."
Schefter ended up authoring Shanahan's autobiography, and admits he remains close with Shanahan to this day, though he claims it doesn't affect his coverage. So of all pieces of news to get wrong, why would Schefter get something wrong involving Shanahan's team? It seems surprising, doesn't it?
It makes you wonder if Schefter is actually a step ahead of everyone instead of a step behind. Maybe the Redskins are indeed planning to release Westbrook soon, and there was a simple miscommunication about whether they were doing it this second.
Or maybe Schefter did get something wrong. It just seems surprising that he would get something wrong involving Mike Shanahan.