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Jim Haslett, his teammates and hunting knives

Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett appears to endorse Mike Shanahan's old-school hard-line image. On ESPN 980 Tuesday morning, he was asked about the perception that the inmates ran the Ashburn asylum in previous seasons.

"We're gonna play the guys that compete, the guys that want to go out there and be starters, and if you don't want to be involved, that's fine too," Haslett said. "We'll keep moving on without you. Those days, whatever they were -- and I wasn't around here so I can't really remark on that -- but I don't think you'll ever see that again as long as Mike's here."

Of course, in his playing career, Haslett was occasionally one of the inmates. A few months ago, I related a story from Fred Smerlas's book about the first time he met Jim Haslett. Haslett began their relationship by complimenting Smerlas's girlfriend's breasts.

That was in 1979. Two years later, the Bills -- who both men played for -- moved their training camp to Fredonia State College, which you could literally see from my childhood bedroom. Time to quote again from Smerlas's book, "By a Nose," with Vic Carucci:

On the first day [of training camp], as we were being checked in and given our dorm-room keys, Haz caused a distraction while I stole a passkey. It couldn't have been in more dangerous hands.

After eleven-o'clock bed check, we'd stalk the hallways at one-thirty, two in the morning, carrying huge hunting knives. We'd wait until one of the rookies got up to go to the bathroom (there was one for each floor, so you had to leave your room to get to it). When that happened, Haz and I would sneak into the guy's room and hide in the closet or under the bed. After he returned, we'd wait a few minutes until he got really comfortable and relaxed. Then we'd jump out, screaming and holding the knives over our heads like a couple of psychotic killers.

Some guys would just about have a bowel movement on the spot.

Ladies and gentlemen, your new defensive coordinator.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 10, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Moss: Zorn was "a little out of his league"


LOL i like people with a good sense of humor...

Posted by: destewar | August 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Pretty funny ....

Posted by: shanks1 | August 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, the Bermuda Triangle: Jim Haslett, Freddy Smerlas, and Shane Nelson.

Posted by: AnnandaleAnnie | August 10, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Haslett refers to "those days-- whatever they were." I think we need to have a clearly defined name for "those days" and I propose the Maroon and Black Era.

From now on, Dan, when referring to the two miserable years that preceded Shanahan, I encourage you to use this term. Nothing can really summarize all the angst these years produced, but "the Maroon and Black Era" nicely encapsulates the overall level of competence.

Posted by: drischord | August 11, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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