Redskins alumni tee off on Haynesworth
safety cornerback Pat Fischer was possibly the main attraction of Thursday's alumni day. He seemed to know everyone, and even if he didn't know you, he would grab you around the shoulders and proceed to shake the living hell out of you. And then he would fake punch you. And then he would drop back in a pretend safety's stance like he was going to level you. He was also wearing a hat with a Redskins spear piercing the Cowboys' star.
Anyhow, from the way he shook me around, he obviously could have crushed me, and yet when I asked Fischer whether he could beat me up, he changed the question.
"One thing is certain: if you hit me, you know there are probably 15 guys around here that would not like that," Fischer said.
"See, how strong am I?" he asked.
"Stronger than me," I replied.
"Yeah, but I don't have to be stronger than you," Fischer, 70, explained. "I'm stronger than you in numbers, because my friends are surrounding you. And I'm confident that, if that happened, they would come to my rescue, not to yours. I can go anywhere I want to, because I know I have 40 guys right behind me, and they're pretty powerful."
How does this relate to the headline? Well, when I asked Fischer about Albert Haynesworth, he went back to those 40 guys, the guys he kept wrapping his arms around and punching in the shoulder and shaking back and forth.
"With Pete Larson, I can grab him [and shake him]," Fischer said. "[Haynesworth's] gonna lose that. How many of his teammates would embrace him? You can't. Hell, if I'm gonna go down the alley and fight, would I take him with me? No. I'm gonna get Brig Owens. I'm gonna get guys I know are gonna go with me.
"Hey, I need help, and that's all I have to say. He's my teammate, I need help, and they'll show up. Do you think [Haynesworth would] show up? No, he's not gonna show up. You can't count on him. What kind of teammate is that? Unity, that's what it's all about -- when you are so convinced that the guy next to you is gonna do his job, but if you need a little help, you can always call on him. Do you have any idea? Exponentially, you become so much stronger when you know you have that kind of support."
And look, this isn't exactly a surprise, but when you gather dozens of middle-aged guys who played on successful teams without pocketing millions, they're not going to have a lot of sympathy for a guy like Albert Haynesworth. Like, not at all.
"When Albert Haynesworth collects his money and sits at home, he ain't part of nothing," former defensive lineman Bill Brundige said. "I mean, he's an outcast....You're all for players making as much money as they can. We're all for them. Sometimes you've got to hold out or whatever. But to take the money and do nothing? That's an insult to everybody. An insult."
"I'd say don't let the door hit him on the ass on the way out," former linebacker Neal Olkewicz said. "It's ridiculous, everything about it: the money, the not wanting to play a certain defense, when he did play last year I don't think he played that good. It's just ridiculous."
"I think it's a sad commentary on the year we live in that people contract to do jobs and then they don't do it," former right tackle George Starke said. "I don't care whether it's cutting grass, washing a car, or playing football. You make a deal, you get paid for the deal, do what you're getting paid for."
"This is a team game, it's not an individual game, ok?" former linebacker Sam Huff said. "He may not like to play a 3-4 defense, but how do you know? if somebody's paying you to do a job, you do the job. If you don't do your job with the Washington Post or whoever you're working for, you ain't gonna be around, either, but they're not gonna have to pay you $41 million if they get rid of you. He won't ever have to work another day in his life. I never made that kind of money in my whole life. Money doesn't motivate you, it's not the motivating factor. It's how much heart you have."
There were many, many variations of this speech. And there were many, many declarations that the winning Redskins teams were based on a fraternity of guys who cared about each other.
"You look at the defensive team under George Allen, it was basically the same guys for seven years," Brundige said. "There was a lot of camaraderie. And even though we didn't all go out to dinner every night together, and may not have particularly liked the guy you were playing with, on Sundays when you were out there, you were gonna fight to the death for that guy. There was a great cohesiveness to the team. You're all in the fight together.
"I think Fischer told me this, if you're in the fox hole, you don't want somebody there saying Go get 'em, guys. You want somebody that jumps out and says follow me. Billy Kilmer was the type of guy who'd jump out of the fox hole and say follow me and everybody would get up and follow him. If Fischer said jump up and follow me, we'd follow him. Natural leaders aren't the ones that talk the most, they're not the ones that give the press conferences."
I didn't hear one Redskins alumni defend Haynesworth, or even suggest that he had a hint of an argument in his favor. You didn't have to explain the scenario, and you didn't have to explain the background, and you didn't have to guess at their opinion.
"You can't turn on the news any more and not hear something about that," Fischer told me. "You say to yourself, have you ever experienced anything like that? Well, no. See, it's so extraordinary, you can't even comprehend."
(Photo ripped from @RedskinsBlog)
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