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A fun Jim Haslett story

Not long after Jim Haslett was hired as defensive coordinator by the Redskins, I tried to nab a few entertaining anecdotes from the archives, including the time he stepped on Terry Bradshaw's head. Many of the good stories seemed to involve Fred Smerlas, so I went ahead and bought Smerlas's biography off of Amazon.

There are several good Haslett moments, which I'll get to at a later date -- Smerlas calls Haslett his "off-field partner in crime." But for now, I just wanted to share one of his first appearances in the book. This comes from By a Nose: The Off-Center Life of Football's Funniest Lineman, by Fred Smerlas and Vic Carucci.

I brought a girlfriend from Boston to spend a couple of days with me [at Bills minicamp]. As we walked through the hotel where the Bills had all of their rookies and other out-of-town players staying, we ran into Jim Haslett. The Bills had also drafted him in the second round that year, nineteen picks after yours truly, from little Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Haslett reminded me of a bird, with his teeny head, long, skinny nose, wide shoulders and high-pitched voice. It didn't take long to discover he was of the cuckoo species.

When I saw him later, by myself, the first thing he said was, "Hey, your girlfriend has nice [slang for breasts, rhymes with Ritz]." It wasn't the kind of thing a 230-pound guy normally says to a 280-pound guy he doesn't know very well.

Which was why we instantly hit it off.

Of course, this doesn't count as nostalgia for you, as a Redskin fan; it counts as nostalgia for me, since I was raised in Western New York. So for you, here's what Smerlas had to say about John Riggins:

You could actually hear Riggo growling before every snap. There was a glare in his eyes. You just knew he wanted to make you a notch in the back of his Redskins helmet. Csonka was hardly what you'd call an evasive runner, but if it was possible for him to avoid you, he would. Not Riggins. If you were close enough to him as he ran downfield, he'd actually slow down a little to try and give you a shot. Riggins just enjoyed the sound of crunching bones -- especially if they were someone else's.

For more nostalgia, see newly discovered images of Neal Olkewicz at Mister Irrelevant and the Redskins Blog.

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 14, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Ahhh Riggins. He will always be the man!

Posted by: HustlerofCulture | May 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Riggo was probably last in a long line old school runners, Taylor, Brown etc.

Posted by: adhardwick | May 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, your girlfriend has nice [slang for breasts, rhymes with Ritz]."

Now everyone is going to go up to him and say that very same thing.

"Jim your wife has got nice....."


- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | May 14, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think it's really unfortunate that the story you chose to introduce DC sports fans to Jim Haslett's character is one that showcases his apparent chauvinism. However, what's worse is that you chose this story thinking it would be an amusing anecdote. As a female sports fan who has followed the Redskins my entire life, I'm upset that you seem to think you only have to appeal to the patriarchy in your posts. Apparently my voice as a person who does not generally enjoy the objectification of women is not heard or regarded as legitimate in the world of sports. Thank you, for reminding me, once again, of this disappointing reality.

Posted by: zdc5 | May 14, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for taking the bullet and reading that book to get us these gems!

I think Riggo contracted Rabies during that time of his career.

Posted by: Corvis777 | May 14, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse


Believe it or not, the MLK DC library has a copy for loan (at least according to it's on-line catalog).

Posted by: rdpinva | May 14, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

zdc5: In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka...Lighten Up,Francis.

Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | May 14, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

zdc5: It's a funny story. Leave it alone. A pro football locker room is not exactly the most PC friendly environment around.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | May 14, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

zdc5: In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka...Lighten Up,Francis.
Posted by: DocHolliday1906 | May 14, 2010 3:25 PM
What he said!! And by the way, don't blame men. If those pups weren't worthy of praise, half the female adults in the US would not have spent thousands of dollars on augmentation.

Posted by: shanks1 | May 14, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

You, sir, rock.

Keep up the research!

Posted by: hithere1 | May 14, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

what he said /|\ or pushup bra's, low cut shirts etc etc, they're a natural part of your body, if you got good ones there is nothing wrong with highlighting them, how exactly is it chauvinistic (to think your gender is superior) when you compliment a dude on his girlfriends body anyway?

Posted by: destewar | May 14, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Why not post the numerous rumors from New Orleans about Haslett and his secretaries and cheerleaders?

Those are always good ones to share since they were so commonly known around the city/teams

Posted by: Bious | May 14, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the belly laugh!

Posted by: fr3dmars | May 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse


We're talking about a guy in his early 20s back in 1979, it's not like he went up to Shanahan a month ago and said that. Different era back then, but I would assume with your attitude you were probably not even alive around that time.

Posted by: RobInVaBeach | May 14, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I'm sure of is that she (zdc5) does not have nice ritz. ;)

Posted by: jarf | May 15, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Lighten up zd baby....oh, and grab me a beer while your, and some crackers.

Posted by: ECSkins | May 15, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I'm sure of is that she (zdc5) does not have nice ritz. ;)

Posted by: jarf | May 15, 2010 6:18 AM

Having a brain and an opinion doesn't make you ugly. When a cute girl stands up for her gender, you apologize and hope to patch it up. When an ugly girl does the same thing, you call her a lez and walk away.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | May 16, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Riggo Ranger here! Hearing the Riggo story made me glad he was on our side. I can't say that for ANYONE on our team now. We could get rid of 100% of our roster and I could care less. That's what Snyderitis does to you.

Posted by: Randy_Hawkins | May 17, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

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