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Redskins Do Crosswords

Team crossword, collaborating away from the newspaper. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

To play pop blogcologist for a second, my impression of local professional football players who lost a tough game to drop to 6-4 is that they're basically frustrated that they lost a close game to drop to 6-4, but that by the next morning they don't necessarily have "the hollow glaze in their eyes, the slumped shoulders and the raised eyebrows that says they worry something could be amiss, that a season could be falling apart and they aren't quite sure how to get it back." More just that they had a bad day at work, and that now they're at work again, killing time like the rest of us.

Anyhow, when we walked into the open locker room this afternoon, what I saw was, among other things, Ryan Plackemeier puzzling over a newspaper.

"We have a competition every day to see who can get the crossword," said the punter. (And I need to watch my words a bit, because the punter happens to be a blog reader, and a pretty astute one at that. Bear in mind players don't have anything they need to do during open locker room except sit there.)

The locker rooms receives one copy of the USA Today and one of The Washington Post daily, and The Post's crossword is more prized (!!!!), though Plackemeier has a bead on another copy of the paper upstairs in case the others are gone. During the week there are individual efforts, and at the hotel on Saturdays Plackemeier, Shaun Suisham, Casey Rabach and sometimes team administrator Derrick Crawford sit around a table and do crosswords.

"Pretty exciting, huh?" Rabach said. "What else are you gonna do, start punching the walls or beating up on Ethan [Albright] or something?"

And lest you think this was mostly confined to the kickers, a few minutes later Suisham had gained possession of the paper and was consulting with Fred Smoot.

"Fred just helped us," Suisham noted.

"I just helped them with tutti frutti," Smoot confirmed. The clue was "----- frutti." Smoot provided the correct spelling of "tutti." This teamwork prompted Smoot to again discuss his corner's international flavor, from the Canadian (Suisham) to the German (Plackemeier) to the freaky-deaky Dutchman (Smoot) to the Bohemian, which was a new one. The Bohemian turned out to be H.B. Blades, who has some roots in the Bahamas. I suggested that might make him Bahamian.

"No, when you're from the Bahamas, you're Bohemian," Smoot said. "Santana is Bohemian."

Then Smoot launched into a paeon to his corner of the locker room.

"Kids would never think my locker's right by the kickers," he said. "They'd think I'd be by the DBs and stuff, but I'm with my guys. Because we're the same, we're not that different. I get blamed for losing games, and they do too. We're put out there by ourselves. Nobody loves us. Only people loyal to us is our wife. Other than that, no love. I can get out there, get burnt, lose the game, come in, nobody talk to me. Won't be part of the team. That's a corner's life. That's a kicker's life."

Anyhow, this was their first time collaborating on a crossword, and Smoot used an inappropriate phrase for doing a certain thing for the first time to describe the occasion, and Smoot and Plackemeier then left Suisham to finish the puzzle. While Smoot prefers Tetris, Suisham is a newspaper puzzle guy through and through; he also does Sudoku and Scramble Grams, and the massive weekly crossword in the Loudoun Times. I asked if he minded me writing about his crossword habit.

"I'd rather you write about that than me missing a field goal," he said.

By Dan Steinberg  |  November 17, 2008; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Instead of punching Ethan Albright they could shave his head so we don't have to see that insanely red hair anymnore

Posted by: G20FdaCowboys | November 17, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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