(sorry about the headline, really)

Joe Gibbs has resigned
from his second tenure as Washington Redskins head coach. The Washington Post’s Howard Schneider and Jason LaCanfora write the decision comes following a successful, albeit stressful season for the Hall Of Famer.

While the Redskins ended 2007 with a 9-7 record and a trip to the playoffs, it had been a draining few months, with his grandson’s health problems and Sean Taylor’s murder weighing heavily. Though he had turned management of his successful NASCAR team over to a son, he had often reflected privately and publicly about the demands on his time. He had typically used the end of the season in January to reflect on his health and his desire to continue coaching.

Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams will likely be a strong candidate. Several veteran players contacted in the last few days said that if Gibbs did leave — a development they then regarded as unlikely — they felt Williams should inherit the job. Under his current contract, Williams would receive $1 million if he is passed over for the position.

Assistant head coach-offense Al Saunders has previous NFL experience, but his management of the team’s offense has been criticized since he arrived in Washington for the 2006 season.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has been approached by several NFL teams, but he has insisted he is taking a two-year sabbatical from the NFL. However, two NFL general managers contacted in recent days said they would expect the Redskins to contact Cowher in the event Gibbs left.