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Gibbs on Holly Bugel's Death

Jason Reid just got off the phone with Joe Gibbs, who was saddened to learn that Holly Bugel today lost her long battle with cancer. Gibbs has been in contact with Joe Bugel's wife, Brenda.

"Obviously, our heart goes out to coach Bugel, Brenda and the Bugel family," Gibbs said in a phone interview between meetings at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, N.C. "I left voicemails for Joe and Brenda and I talked to Brenda personally. I told her I was praying for her and praying for their family."

It was Gibbs's steady leadership last season that helped the Redskins move forward after the death of Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor in November, and Gibbs still has strong ties to the organization. "Everybody is so close," Gibbs said. "At this time of the year, coach Bugel is probably spending more time with the football team than he does with his own family, and so it's like family, you have two families.

"What happens is, when you have a loss and somebody grieves, it has a big effect on everybody. It is a grieving process. But the thing that you have there is that you get real comfort from all that are around you who care about you."

In addition to coping with Taylor's death last season, the Redskins also were aware that Holly Bugel and Gibbs's grandson, Taylor, were battling cancer. "In my case, I think there was an added sympathy for what Joe and Brenda have been going through because my grandson has leukemia," Gibbs said. "Joe and Brenda have been praying for our grandson, and we had a scare last week with that. He ran a fever for the first time and we had to take him back to the hospital.

"There was a scare that the cancer had come back. It wound up being a viral infection, so we were thrilled with that. Brenda told, 'Joe, we've been praying for Taylor.' The same way any family would react to loss or grieving, I think that's the good thing about having a football family like the Redskins. You've got people praying for you, comforting you and encouraging you because they know you're going through a tough time."

The Redskins have dealt with a lot of tragedy the last two seasons. They have experienced the death of several team employees as well as friends and relatives of staff members, but "it's hard to say, when you go through life, has one organization suffered more than others," Gibbs said. "I'm sure there's a lot, there probably is a lot, going on with a lot of organization that doesn't make the papers.

"We've had two funerals here with our race team the last seven weeks where we lost two people who worked here for us. One of them, and we had his funeral here four days ago, he was 50 years old. We lost him to cancer. When you get organizations like that, and you lose a number of people and have tragedies like that, there's going to be losses and tough things to deal with.

"Now, I haven't thought much about, I haven't asked myself, 'Has there been more that's happened from the Redskins' standpoint?' Certainly, Sean's deal was a tragedy that hit all the papers and highlighted a lot of things. That just doesn't happen in sports. That one was definitely unique. And the tragic thing here was the age of Holly. She was so young. It's hard."

By Cindy Boren  |  August 21, 2008; 2:52 PM ET
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my prayers are with you joe and the bugel family...

Posted by: mharm | August 21, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

As always, sports is a metaphor for life. Some choose to idolize the million dollar paydays.

But the truth is that team sports are a microcosm of family, and how a family comes together in difficult time. Our families are often blood-related, but just as often they are the people you work with, the friends you hang out with, and for lots of us who are transplanted from our homes in new cities, it's the new and deep friendships we forge away from home.

If there's anything to take away from how much the 'Skins organization and NFL community are grieving their respective losses, it's that no matter how tough or difficult business may be, it's still run by human beings and, irrespective of faith or other spiritual matters, it's the support they lend one another that helps each person grieve in their own way.

Executives, middle managers, and rank and file employees can all learn something from how NFL families cope with adversity. Indeed, all of us can learn the value of forging and maintaining the important relationships in our lives despite the stresses, physical distances, and petty misunderstandings that may intervene.

That's all I got on this sad day. Hopefully tomorrow is a brighter day for everyone.

Posted by: P Diddy | August 21, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Well-stated, P Diddy. It is a sad day for all of us.

Posted by: frediefritz | August 21, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

So very sad.

Speaking of Sean Taylor, Larry Michael reported on Monday (or was it Tuesday?) that Jackie Garcia had visited Redskins Park that day bringing in Sean's little daughter. Larry said the baby is getting really big and that she looks just like Sean.

Posted by: Lisa | August 21, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I pray to Crom for your families, but Crom doesn't listen.

Posted by: Conan the Cimmerian | August 21, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

This puts all of the talk of coaches, past and present, and players and cut down days in perspective.

Glad to see our old leader still leading and our new leader sounding just like the old leader.

Prayers to all of the families who have had tragedy, this year and last, including those on the blog.

That is why it should always be just 'jibba jabba' up here...

Posted by: Zebra | August 21, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the day here from Bugel that I found in the Times' skins blog...

Offensive tackle Jon Jansen, along with guard Randy Thomas and tackle Chris Samuels, the linemen who have been with Bugel the longest, said that Zorn came into the position meeting this morning to get Bugel to come to the phone to talk to his wife. Bugel then returned and told his players.

"He came back in and just told us, 'HEY, LOVE YOUR KIDS. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN,' " Jansen said. "We just [told] him that we love him.

Posted by: EinVB | August 21, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Beep Beep

Posted by: Zebra | August 21, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

We're all praying for Buges!

Posted by: RN at half staff | August 21, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Conan, What is best in life?

Posted by: Sid | August 21, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts & Prayers to Coach Bugel and his family and also to Gene Upshaw's family.

Crazy day.

Posted by: JinxMan7997 | August 21, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Joe Gibbs Racing was full of cheaters!

Posted by: JGRSucks | August 21, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey JGR Sucks

Im surprised your double wide has internet access and you took time out of bonking your sister to post the comment. Learn some class.

Posted by: Andy from Baltimore | August 21, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey JGR Sucks

Im surprised your double wide has internet access and you took time out of bonking your sister to post the comment. Learn some class.

Posted by: Andy from Baltimore | August 21, 2008 5:36 PM

Look at you; spouting off redneck stereotypes, and talking about class. Joe Gibbs and Deadskins Suck.

Posted by: J. Foxworthy | August 21, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Classic redneck no class response to Redskins fans, hey Jeff foxworthy how many broke down trucks you got in yer yard??

Posted by: Andy from Baltimore | August 21, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not white or a redneck; which makes your redneck stereotyping look stupid.

Posted by: Andy from Buttmore | August 21, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Surprised you can spell stereotype, especially after your mom smoked all that crack during your pregnancy. Hooked on Phonics worked for you!!!!! YAY!!!!

She still working that corner??

Posted by: Andy from Baltimore | August 21, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts and prayers to Coach Bugel and his family. May Holly rest in peace.

Posted by: cmurphy | August 21, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

wow. no parent should have to bury their child. last year...when seantay died i honestly was glad that joe was the coach. i don't think anyone else would've sufficed...doesn't matter but you know what i mean...

Posted by: dealer | August 21, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Each and every day we have with our loved one's is a blessing. Any one of us could be here today, and gone tomorrow. Joe Gibbs is a beautiful man and strong leader who himself has had health issues to battle. Thank God that he was with and coaching our Skins through the loss of one of the most talented players we have had.I can't immagine what it was like for him to have had so much to deal with from both of his families. My prayers are with your grandson, as his cancer is similar to mine, and the treatment is the same. I know first hand what your family and mine has had to go through. Have faith, and know the power of prayer! Those of you who have not experienced such a tragedy can count your blessings, and pray that you never have to personally witness a life threatening illness in your family. We should all live and love like there is no tomorrow! My heart goes out to the whole Bugel family. May God give you all the grace, courage and stregnth that you need to get through this difficult time. Know that Holly is in a better place than we are, and she is there waiting for you to join her. She will always be with you in your hearts.

Posted by: Carla with cancer in Maryland | August 26, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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