Charley Casserly calls for a more gentle 'Turk'

When Charley Casserly broke into the NFL in 1977 as an intern with the Washington Redskins, the job wasn't always pleasant.

Casserly would eventually rise to the rank of Redskins general manager, but an early duty in Washington required waking up early in the morning during training camp to notify players they'd been cut.

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Yes, when John Travolta was starring in "Saturday Night Fever," Charley Casserly was playing the role of "The Turk".

"Universally, we always made it a dignified process," Casserly said in a phone conversation with Around The League. "We treated the player with respect, and usually the player knew it was coming. Most times he wanted to get out of the building and move on."

The treatment of released players entered the news this week when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained that the league is attempting to find a more "dignified" way to handle the cutdown process at training camp.

The Redskins once had to call police to get a quarterback out of their building, but Casserly rarely encountered trouble with released players in his 24 years with the Redskins and Houston Texans.

Still, he acknowledges the process can be improved.

"Where I would take it further today is to have an exit strategy where, after the player is notified by a coach or official in a high capacity, your department of player engagement sits down with the player and informs them of the services available," Casserly said. "Health benefits, retirement benefits, counseling benefits -- all of those things. Make it a formalized process so they know exactly what's available to them.

"Sometimes players aren't going to hear the message, but you should treat them with dignity, class, thank them, offer to help them."

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We asked Casserly if watching "Hard Knocks" brings back memories of his early days as a 28-year-old intern in Washington.

"I don't watch the show. We turned ("Hard Knocks") down with Houston," he said. "As much as I trust NFL Films, I think there's certain situations I wouldn't want to be depicted in. Releasing a player would be one of them. That's a private moment for the player."

A private moment that the NFL is trying to make a less difficult one.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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