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Bruce Allen talks teamwork

Redskins GM Bruce Allen went to Spingarn High Wednesday afternoon to address about 175 high school football players as part of an NFL player development program. Standing in the Spingarn gym, in front of paintings of Dave Bing, Elgin Baylor and Sherman Douglas, Allen went right into his main message.

"You don't have to go to Harvard, you don't have to go anywhere to learn this," he told the kids. "We look for people who are good teammates."

Allen said Redskins officials spent more time interviewing Trent Williams's Oklahoma teammates than they did talking to the left tackle himself, since teamwork trumps talent in his eyes. And in describing what makes a good teammate, Allen used two words over and over: accountability and dependability. You have to know the man next to you will be there for you, and will come through. That's the first thing the Redskins demand from prospective players, he said, "because that's what matters. Everyone has talent. Everyone has talent. Do they have the heart to be a great teammate?...

"Too many times you guys get to see the wrong messages coming out of our game and out of the other major league sports," Allen told the kids. "But if you get a chance to meet a London Fletcher, a Donovan McNabb -- these guys are superior teammates. They want to help the other person succeed. And that's what we're looking for: the dependability and the accountability of those people."

Well, you couldn't really listen to that talk without wondering about Albert Haynesworth, could you?

"This is early in the offseason program," Allen told reporters after the event. "And Albert's demonstrated he's an excellent player in the NFL. We're really concentrating on trying to make sure on Monday we get better in our OTA."

So, is there a risk of Haynesworth dividing this team?

"I'm not concerned about the chemistry of this team," Allen said. "Our team has been very committed this entire offseason program. They're all running at about 98 percent of the program, and we're proud of it, and we start some OTAs next week."

Joking aside, Allen is an impressive speaker. He stood there without notes, and he got the room's attention, never stumbling over his words and never once resembling a poor sports-talk radio host. It was a talk that Vinny Cerrato simply could not have executed.

"I want to thank you, I want you to be proud of the Redskins this year," he told the players. "We've got a new coach, a new direction, and I think you're gonna like the football we're playing."

After the event, I asked him why this was important, for local kids to be proud of the Redskins.

"I think our organization is uniquely positioned to help the entire community, and we're gonna do everything we can to reach back out to the community, get them involved with this team," Allen said. "And I know our players will respond. We're the Washington Redskins. It's a globally known brand. We're in the nation's capital. And there's some duties that come with that. And these young men will look up to our players."

Allen had also told the kids -- who hailed from DCIAA and WCAC schools -- how he went to school in Northern Virginia, and how "y'all schools kicked my ass." I asked him afterward whether he remembered NFL speakers coming to his gym at Langley.

"Yeah, my dad," he laughed, telling a few reporters how the former Redskins coach addressed the Saxons at graduation. "He talked about work and work ethic and dedication to whatever field we chose to go in to," Allen said.

And was that weird to see his father as his commencement speaker?

"No," Allen said. "It just meant I had to behave more. Because they put you alphabetically, and Allens were in the front row, so I couldn't be playing around like everyone else."

Someone asked whether these high school players had any sense of who Bruce Allen's dad was.

"I think a great part of the Redskins franchise is the tradition is so rich," Allen said. "And when you talk to fans, they talk about the previous years. You know, we're a product of the great success from Lombardi, dad, Coach Gibbs, and on. And we've got to carry that torch for the future generations."

By Dan Steinberg  |  May 12, 2010; 11:54 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Montreal win is salve for Caps fans


Steinz, how much money did you lose by betting a mortal lock on the Pens?


For your penalty, you are hereby sentenced to three years of interviewing Vinnie Cerrato.

Posted by: angelos_peter | May 13, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure he was reverse jinxing, Mr. Angelos...

Posted by: lord_rockumus | May 13, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"Well, you couldn't really listen to that talk without wondering about Albert Haynesworth, could you?"

By Dan Steinberg | May 12, 2010; 11:54 PM ET

When I first read this, I had to quickly scroll down to see who wrote that. I forgot I was reading the Bog, not the Redskins Insider. :)

By the way, nice article. The Redskins are certainly going in the right direction.

Posted by: RedCherokee | May 13, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Steinberg if he was, indeed, playing a meta-game with his Pens-Habs prediction.

Thanks to the alignment of planets, sacrifice of chickens, four leaf clovers, poutine, and whatever else.

Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Posted by: CDRHoek | May 13, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"It was a talk that Vinny Cerrato simply could not have executed."

Understatement of the decade.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | May 13, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Geez Dan don't you believe in schadenfreude? What do we have to do to get a Crosby choke post?

Posted by: StuScott_Booyahs | May 13, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This newfound mental health in the Redskins organization is booooring! I long for the days of the Burgundy Revolution.

Posted by: JohninMpls | May 13, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Canadians game...Did anyone see that dude with the large gorilla puppet, both covered in Canadians gear, behind the Penguins bench. VS had a great shot of him at the end of the game, the puppet just shaking his head behind Dan Blysma. It was pretty funny.

Steinz! - Please tell me you have something in the hopper on this, I've been googling it for the last hour trying to see if there's a backstory.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | May 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Boy, there's a lot of ink wasted by sportwriters, fans and others about one football player that hasn't been seen or heard from since December. Its like we are to believe the Redskins world almost revolve around Haynesworth. He's no big deal to me, this team has all kinds of possible issues from so many ACTUAL concerning places.

Posted by: DMcCall2 | May 13, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

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