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B-Lloyd's Writing Workshop

Journal writing.

I thought about skipping today's official Brandon Lloyd event, a seminar on journal writing for the second graders of McNair Elementary in Herndon. Lloyd has, perhaps, not been a major factor in Washington's 4-2 start, and some readers have suggested 'Enough already with this Lloyd stuff.' I respect that. On the other hand, you wouldn't tell Woodward and Bernstein, 'Enough already with this Nixon stuff.' Got to stick with your strengths.

And thus, Welcome to McNair Elementary on what turns out to be "Jersey Day," which means kids and staff members are wearing the uniforms of Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, Sean Taylor, Patrick Ramsey, Stephen Davis, Jevon Kearse, Tony Romo, LeBron James and Andriy Schevchenko. Didn't see any "85s" in the crowd.

After a rousing welcome, B-Lloyd, who has posted Training Camp Journals on the team's official Web site the past two summers, was asked to make some opening remarks about his journalizing (journalistic?) philosophies.

"A lot of times I used a technique called 'Stream of Consciousness,' he told the 130 or so kiddies. "I'd sit down with my blank sheet of paper and just write whatever came into my mind. I'd try not to think about what I was writing, and just write."

Been there, my friend. Eventually, the floor was opened for questions, but they were all about football.

"Do you play tough in football?" one lad asked.

Lyric composition.

"Yes, you play tough in football," Lloyd said.

"I mean YOU," the lad followed up, "do YOU play tough in football."

Speaking of tough, tough crowd, huh? "Have you done a sliding tackle?" someone else asked. "Yes," Lloyd said. "Are you famous?" a girl asked. "No," Lloyd said, laughing. "Let's make sure our questions are about writing right now."

Then, amid the chaos of 130 second-graders, Lloyd talked about writing poetry, and writing music, and what he likes to read ("in the offseason when I sit down to write, I'm not really in the reading mode," he said), and the proper subjects of art ("my favorite thing to write about is just my life; I like to document that," he said). He was asked to recite a poem and declined. I thought he should have gone with some of his hiphop stylings; "I wasn't gonna spit any lyrics for them," he later said.

And then the event broke up into smaller journal workshops. One budding writer's thoughts began thus: "La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la." "That's a song?" Lloyd guessed. "That's a great start." He suggested a follow-up lyric: "Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba." The author's neighbor then began composing a similar song; "Let me see that song," the first author demanded.

Elsewhere a scribe was struggling with writer's block; "I can't think about anything," she complained. "Write about what you had for breakfast this morning," Lloyd advised. "My favorite sport is football" another student wrote. "Then put a period," Lloyd instructed. "Now: Why?"

The key question for any writer. Why write about childhood, or war, or love? Why write about Brandon Lloyd? I peered at more journals.

"Today we met Brandon Lloyd a football player from the Redsins," one student wrote.

"Mr. Lloyd is the best in his team," another penned, or penciled, I guess. "I love #85. When he gets tackled sometimes, Mr. Lloyd gets hurt."

True that. B-Lloyd, if you haven't noticed, has become something of a polarizing figure among Skins fans. Some yearn to see his potential unleashed, others call him among the biggest free agent busts in team history, accuse him of virtually stealing money. I asked for an opinion from Debbie Wines, the second-grade teacher who had invited Lloyd to share his thoughts on journal-writing.

"I'm not here to judge; the coach makes his decisions, but I wish he'd play him more," she said with a laugh. "He doesn't seem to get flustered by anything," she said as kids screeched in his direction. "Sometimes people get impatient once the noise gets going, but he seems to go with the flow."

Later we repaired to the library, where kids read children's books and Lloyd explained his philosophy of football, the philosophy that so angers so many, but that a few deluded optimists still cling to. Many beat writers, he said, seem to regard the sport of football more seriously than he does.

"This [stuff] is fun to me, this [stuff] is not a job to me, this is fun," he said. "And I think a lot of people say that and they don't really mean it, they just say it because it sounds right to say. This is fun to me....My last year in San Francisco it kind of switched, and all of the sudden everybody wanted everybody to be a 'professional' and act a certain way. So we're supposed to act a certain way, and then the coach would comes in here and say, "Remember, it's still a game.' Like, no. It's either one or the other. We're not gonna ride the fence here. One or the other. We're gonna have fun or we're gonna act like Donald Trump."

More from the interview later.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 23, 2007; 12:35 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Etan Thomas: "I Feel Blessed"


Boo, La Canfora for a lack of compelling and introspective accounts of Redskins players.

Hoooray, STEINZ!

Posted by: | October 23, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not knocking the guy for working with kids, This is great. But I can't read about Lloyd without getting bitter. Its like as long as the checks keep getting cashed, he is ok not producing because he feles like he "could" and this is good enough for him. Like a smart kid getting C's because they know they could work for the A if they wanted to.

We really need a GM.

Posted by: Russ | October 23, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

All the posters in Redskins Insiders do is whine and b!tch and doom and gloom about EVERYTHING the Redskins do. It's annoying after a while. At least here you get to see some 'behind the scenes' stuff of not just the Skins, but all the sports-related personas in the DC area.

well done Steinz!

Posted by: I like The Bog more now | October 23, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

No questions about Troy Aikman?

Posted by: Rob Iola | October 23, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I wish Brandon Lloyd had writer's block the day he signed with the Redskins.

Posted by: onside kick | October 23, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

My attitude towards the Lloyd experiment on the football field in a nutshell:


My attitude towards the Lloyd experiment in the blogosphere in a nutshell:


Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | October 23, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I just can't wait to read what he says next. It's just all so compelling. He could say ANYTHING....I can't wait...

Posted by: WrongDog | October 23, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

JLC was going to attend the event but he has to make phone calls about Rabach's groin so he could update his own blog at least twice this week. Look for a breaking story later in the day, or perhaps tomorrow, when JLC raises Rabach's playing status from "unlikely" to iffy....

Posted by: YayBog | October 23, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Scottvanpelt and I like the bog more now are just Stein himself. How could you find that stuff compelling? I just got in trouble from my boss because I fell asleep after the first 2 sentences.

If you guys really think that is compelling then I really feel bad for you and I'm not just saying that. It's real empathy I feel for you and your lives right now. May god have mercy on all your souls. Praise Jesus!!!

Posted by: Da Treuf | October 23, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

BLloyalty at its finest

Posted by: Bobtimist | October 23, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I support helping kids journalize. When he tries to teach them how to catch, though, I will get indignant. That's just cruel to the kids.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | October 23, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I'll say this:

As a Redskins fan, I've basically given up on B Lloyd.

As a person, I'm starting to really like him.

If he continues on his path of horrible busthood on the Skins, but somehow takes the money we paid him and turns it towards good work, I'll be thrilled. It's not like Danny Snyder doesn't have the money to spare.

Posted by: tarheels28 | October 23, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Well to all the naysayers out there who don't seem to have a problem supporting everybody else on the team when THEY make a mistake I think what Brandon did for our kids was phenomenal. He took time out of his busy schedule (without getting money for it)to work with kids from an extremely diverse school, and impacted them in ways that are beyond belief. THEIR belief in him truly matters just as much as any of you supposed TRUE Redskins fans. Give the guy a chance. Maybe he'll surprise even the coaches if they didn't keep penalizing him for making a mistake. We pay more money to the bigger names, and I don't see them making any superior plays! Thanks again Dan for coming out and covering this great story. Maybe some of your readers should take a page from Brandon's book, and instead of "falling asleep" they could get out in the community and do something to support young children.

Posted by: drwines | October 24, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"Give the guy a chance."

In what way have those of us who think Brandon Lloyd isn't very good at football failed to give him the appropriate chance? He was the #2 receiver on an NFL football team for nearly a year, prior to that he was a #1 receiver for a year. He was a #3 receiver heading into the year. He's now down to #4, and falling fast. He's had all the opportunities in the world to catch a higher percentage of his passes, he simply hasn't done so.

"Maybe he'll surprise even the coaches if they didn't keep penalizing him for making a mistake."

On accountable football teams you have to penalize players for not doing their jobs. Brandon Lloyd hasn't done his job. Are you saying that we should punish players below him by sticking with Lloyd ad infinitum just because...? Besides being cheaper, better at catching the football, and overall more productive, what reason should we punish, say, James Thrash or Reche Caldwell, by rewarding Lloyd with snaps he certainly hasn't earned?

"We pay more money to the bigger names, and I don't see them making any superior plays!"

Factually ridiculous. He's paid on the same contract as Antwaan Randle El and a lower one than Santana Moss, and both of those receivers are a) demonstrably better and b) have done things ON THIS TEAM that have earned them their respective spots. Brandon Lloyd certainly has not done more than the following players he's paid more than: Chris Cooley, Todd Yoder, James Thrash, Mike Sellers, or Ladell Betts, and that's based only on the fact that all those players listed have more yards and receptions than Brandon. So that doesn't include all the defensive players and offensive players who are DOING THEIR JOBS for less. For instance: Andre Carter, Fred Smoot, Laron Landry, Pete Kendall, Jason Campbell, Randall Godfrey, Demetric Evans, Pierson Prioleau, Rocky McIntosh, Rock Cartwright, Mike Pucillo, Anthony Montgomery, on and on and on and on...

I do hope he continues to support the community, but that doesn't mean I'm buying him as a victim here.

Posted by: Skin Patrol | October 24, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

man man man man

Posted by: naty | December 10, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

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