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The Immaculate Deception

There is a reason the media schlubs around here have a hard time believing a lot of what comes out of Vinny Cerrato's mouth, and a reason he has credibility issues. Yesterday was a prime example, though hardly unprecedented in these parts. Cerrato repeatedly denied the team was interested in Jason Taylor to the local media (via text, phone call, and then in front of the camera at a press conference), from about 2 pm right up until he tripped over his own feet entering the media room to announce the trade.

Then today in multiple interviews, with ESPN and Sports Illustrated, he implicitly concedes that he was lying through his teeth to every media entity that covers the Redskins on a daily basis. Yet somehow he still wonders why people don't take him seriously? (This is also the guy who claims the team misquoted him in its own press release in 2005. I'll never quite fathom that one.

Here's what Cerrato said about the Jason Taylor trade talks on ESPN radio this morning:

"We went out to practice at 3:00, and I talked to Bill Parcells probably like three times on the practice field, back and forth. We went and discussed some different terms, we came in after practice, talked to 3 or 4 of the veterans players, and asked them what they thought, what type of guy and everything, they said great guy. Everything was positive. Called Parcells back around 6:15 and told them, we'll do the deal. We faxed papers back and forth, got Jason Taylor on the phone and we were done."

Peter King of SI posted today that Cerrato told him he called Parcells at 3:10 pm yesterday:
"I'd called Bill a couple of months ago, I guess, like a lot of other teams did, doing their due diligence, asking him what he was interested in for Taylor,'' Cerrato said. "But nothing ever came of it. I didn't talk to him again about it 'til this afternoon. Then, during the afternoon practice, I'd say I talked to Bill three times about the terms, trying to work something out.''

But yesterday, minutes after the afternoon practice was over, here is what Cerrato said to the local media, repeatedly: "We haven't talked to anybody yet on anything." He then denied, again, any attempts to land Taylor to representatives of virtually every media entity that approached him at Redskins Park.

Now, is lying to the media anything new? Nah. And hey, it's his prerogative I suppose. But most people are more astute that this, maybe find a way to cover their tracks a little bit better. And, more to the point, most pros in the sports business learned long ago how to say - "No comment," or "Hey, we're working on things to make our team better and we'll let you know if we complete something." It's pretty easy to send a signal without destroying what was left of your credibility with the people who cover you only hours into the first day of your first training camp as the head of the Redskins' front office (with that fancy executive vice president title an all)

No surprises on this end, of course. I learned my lesson long ago and went roughly three years without talking to the guy, from the 2005 draft until the 2008 draft, and it had no adverse impact on my ability to do my job. Actually, it's pretty refreshing.

By Jason La Canfora  |  July 21, 2008; 3:27 PM ET
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