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Ken Whisenhunt: Super Smart

Remember how Ken Whisenhunt used to play for the Gibbs I Redskins? He left and came back and left and came back; he was that era's Ryan Boschetti. And for Joe Gibbs to keep bringing a borderline guy back to the fold means one of the three things:

1) Whisenhunt was a true Redskin.
2) Whisenhunt regularly fought his guts out.
3) Whisenhunt was super smart.

Let's go to the videotape. How about Dec. 19, 1990:

With tight ends Jimmie Johnson and John Brandes slowed by pinched nerves in their necks, the Redskins yesterday released offensive lineman Scott Beavers and re-signed tight end Ken Whisenhunt....

"We were looking for someone who could help us the most here down the stretch," Coach Joe Gibbs. "We've got two guys with pinched nerves in their necks, and I was a little concerned. In the game this weekend, we could have lost a couple of packages if anyone had gone down. John Brandes couldn't play that much and we're on the verge with Jimmie Johnson.
"Ken is a guy that we can bring back, and he can play right now. He's a smart guy and can help us on special teams. He's more important than having an extra lineman."

Ok, in a mild upset, Whisenhunt turned out to be merely smart, and not super smart. Frankly, he was probably also a true Redskins and a gut-fighter, but there's no documentary evidence. Here's more, from Sept. 1, 1990, as cut day approached:

Tight end Ken Whisenhunt faces similar long odds, even after catching a nine-yard touchdown pass for Washington's first score. The Redskins will probably keep four tight ends. Don Warren, Jimmie Johnson and John Brandes are locks. That leaves four men for one spot, and Whisenhunt is outside looking in.

"Everyone goes through the roster and sees how many players you have" at your position, Whisenhunt said. "How many they're going to keep at each position, the combinations of who they're going to keep and why. That's just human nature. But it's out of your hands, so there's nothing you can do about it.

"We played a good game and it's good to come off a last game to feel good about yourself and feel good about the team. If something were to happen and you were to get cut, it'd make the blow a little bit easier. This weekend, I'm just going to enjoy what we've accomplished and enjoy being a part of this team."

And his original signing, on March 9, '89:

Yesterday, the Redskins formally announced the free agent signings of Atlanta Falcons H-back Ken Whisenhunt and New York Jets linebacker Don Graham. Whisenhunt was Dan Henning's original H-back with the Falcons. He has average speed, but blocks and catches reliably.

Average speed, but blocks and catches reliably? And Gibbs liked him? Shocking. Here's what Russ Grimm just said about his linemen, circa 2009: "They're not the biggest, they're not the fastest, they're not the most well known." He'd have liked the 1990 Whisenhunt. More on Grimm later.

Anyhow, this week you've got Whisenhunt and Grimm on one side, and soul-sucking towel-waiving ticket-buying folks from the city that hates Ovechkin on the other. Hmmm.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 27, 2009; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Look: Sealed by a Kiss
Next: Joe Gibbs Seems Happy


Could it be that Washington is replacing Baltimore with Pittsburgh as its most hated city?

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | January 27, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Really, that's the best insult against Steelers fans you can come up with? Ticket buying? At least Baltimore complains that the Stillers play dirty. Don't blame us that your new field pushed out all the true die-hard fans.

You'll be hard pressed to find a Steelers fan who won't give proper respect to Grimm and the Whiz.

Posted by: alfredo22 | January 27, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, it seems someone is a little bitter that the Steeler fans exposed the Redskin fans for the fair-weather bandwagon riders that they are. Boo hoo, skins fans, but I don't blame you. If my team had an owner like Snyder and a crap stadium like FedEx, I wouldn't be all that thrilled to go see an average (at best) team compete every week while paying top dollar for crappy seats.

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 27, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Did you watch the NFC championship?

Kurt Warner showed that he is eminently flusterable.

That soul-sucking Steeler D is going to make him look a few times worse than they made the Great Oz Peyton look in the runup to their 2005 Lombardi Trophy.

Stand by to be flustered.

Go Stillers!

Posted by: officermancuso | January 27, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

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