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Frank Herzog joins Redskins alumni

The Redskins alumni tent at the team's recent homecoming celebration was filled with images you wanted to permanently squish into some unused corner of your brain. Joe Bugel and Russ Grimm laughing over barbeque. Jeff Bostic walking around in an Ed Hardy shirt. Doug Williams holding court in the same room as Deacon Jones.

But the moment that struck me more than any other was this: when I walked past the huge frames that would eventually be fitted with group photos, started reading some of the names, and came across the very unobtrusive signature of one Frank Herzog.

The team's legendary radio play-by-play man has been high on the list of fan gripes since he was removed from the broadcasts and replaced by Larry Michael before the 2004 season. Even now, the mere mention of his name guarantees the emission of toxic vitriol from still-angry fans.

Which is why it just felt right to learn that GM Bruce Allen -- who has relentlessly worked on repairing alumni relations this year -- e-mailed Herzog and asked him to attend the Saturday night reception for the team's alumni, where the broadcaster added his name to those giant frames.

"I was delighted," Herzog told me this week. "It's nice to have a friendly relationship with all those guys, and it's nice to have a friendly relationship with Bruce Allen."

Prior commitments had forced Herzog to miss both the Art Monk-Darrell Green Hall of Fame weekend and the later celebration for Grimm in Canton. The announcer has seen the Redskins alumni at charity golf tournaments and the like, but he said this was the first time he was invited to a formal team gathering since he left the broadcast team.

"I'd rubbed shoulders with a few of the guys in the years since I left, but I hadn't really seen that many, and this was a chance to see a bunch of guys at once," Herzog said. "I wouldn't blame Dan Snyder for feeling a little uncomfortable having me around, except I'm retired now, so I'm kind of harmless. But at the same time, you've got a lot of ties to these guys. Gee whiz, I saw them every week in the locker room, every day in training camp."

And many of them he hadn't seen in decades. He saw Fred Dean for the first time since Super Bowl XVII. He talked with Deacon Jones about the extra point he once converted after weeks of begging George Allen for a chance. He talked to the Hogs, to Frank Grant, Brig Owens and Larry Brown. And he caught up with Bruce Allen for the first time since the latter was a young man accompanying his dad in Carlisle.

"I told him it was special, and I made a point of sending him a note the next day to say thanks," Herzog told me. "For the players, I think now they're beginning to realize what a very special era that was, that decade and a half, the '80s and early '90s, how special that all was, and the fact that it may never be repeated because of the way the league has changed. You may never see an organization succeed like that again. They were part of something very special, and it means more to everybody to get together and see how everybody is doing."

Herzog retired from WTOP last year, and said he's spending his time on photography, golf, and spoiling his grandchildren. He said he still can't sit down and watch a whole NFL game on TV - too many commercials, too much down time for someone used to keeping stats, watching game trends and monitoring scoreboards. Still, he said he'd be open to attending future Redskins alumni gatherings, despite the fact that he's no longer part of the organization.

"My mindset is look, all that is over, I've moved on," Herzog said. "I've got a life to lead, and that's what I'm doing now. It was a great time; it will never be repeated. It could never be the same, and you kind of savor it and realize how lucky you were."

By Dan Steinberg  | October 26, 2010; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Can't think of Frank without hearing his voice in my head, "Touchdown, Washington Redskins!"

Posted by: dcborn61 | October 26, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's appropriate that Herzog be treated as a Redskins alumnus. My memories of Redskins seasons past include Herzog's voice as much as any visual.

You're missed, Frank.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 26, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

This stirs up memories and anger! Fond memories of that voice emanating from my radio with the TV turned down.

Raging anger aimed at that dirtbag Larry Michael who fired Herzog for nothing but the selfish reason of taking his job! Radio was never the same! Even sounds like a slimebag this guy.

L. Michael looks like the creepy old man in the overcoat whose house you race past on Halloween.

Posted by: iubiquity | October 26, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

I haven't really been moved before by the Redskins new devotion to alumni. Sure, I love to see all the old faces around and celebrate the glory years of the past. But it also seemed like just another way that the skins could draw attention away from their terrible present by distracting us fans with their glorious past.

That being said, I am now officially moved by the alumni movement now that Frank is brought into the fold. He was the voice of the Redskins for all those glory years and was a genuinely good guy. Not to mention his replacement, L. Michael, is just awful. Awful in the booth, awful on CSN and awful in personality. Good for the Redskins for inviting Frank to these gatherings.

Now, lets see if we can invite him back into the booth with Sonny and Sam....

Somebody start the twitter trend ASAP!

Posted by: CalleJoFan | October 26, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Larry M. is still terrible -- you'd think he would have shown some improvement over that past 6 years. He still blows calls, misses down and distance, misses who is in the game and can't set up sonny and Sam at all. He can't carry Frank's microphone bag. Used to never miss a radio broadcast while turning down the TV -- haven't done that in 6 years. Frank you're the best! TOUCHDOWN! Washington Redskins!!!

Posted by: GHulme | October 27, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

How pathetic is it that I used to watch the games and was treated to listen to Sonny, Sam and Frank. Now I watch the games and listen to guys like Aikman and Brian Baldinger; dagger.

Posted by: GeorgeTowner2 | October 27, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Frank was the best. I sure wish he coaxed back from his retirement to call the games.

Posted by: eric22 | October 27, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Frank was the best. I sure wish he could be brought back to call the games.

Posted by: eric22 | October 27, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

all of the posters are spot on. it's always nice to see a story about frank. redskins fans love to be nostalgic, and frank herzog is our conduit to the past through his signature calls and highlights.

on larry michael, it is a shame how poorly he has done in the booth since 2004. i always liked him as a pre-game host but his poor broadcasting only amplifies the anger from those who miss hearing frank.

Posted by: goose33 | October 27, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Boy, do i miss Frank Herzog's voice. It seems I listened to him my entire adult life. When I was attending college classes at night, Frank would be on doing the Bullets games. His signature call "turnaround jumper by Hayes, Brickkkkkkkkkkkkk!" was priceless. Later turning down the sound on the tv and listening to Sonny, Sam, and Frank, was like being in the room with 3 friends. They knew the team and would share the inside team stuff with fans. Now we have old, bitter, ex-Cowboys doing the Redskins games on tv. On the radio we have the unprofessional Larry Michael, a Snyder butt-boy who stole Frank's job. His call on the DeAngelo Hall interception for a touchdown just highlights his incompetence. Michael's call was a high pitched scream of "Picked off, picked off, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it's Hall, he's at the 25, and in for the touchdown" A play by play man is supposed to paint a picture for the listener. Michael couldn't recognize who made the interception, he made no mention of where Hall was on the field, he made no mention which sideline he was running down. Michael backstabbed Frank and I will never forgive him!

Posted by: JAMNEW | October 27, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with the common sentiment. Frank Herzog is part of the Redskins alumni, as far as I'm concerned.

I greatly miss the upgraded audio experience gained by listening to the radio with the dorks on TV muted.

Posted by: Goat_74 | October 27, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Removing Larry Michael would definitely be another step in the right direction if Little Danny is still concerned about repairing his image. Radio is still the way a great number of fans catch the game; and putting and keeping Larry Michael in the booth -despite the overwhelming public sentiment against it- has probably done more to harm his image than he realizes.

Posted by: dclance | October 27, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Firing Frank Herzog is just another reason to hate Danny Boy.

Posted by: poguesmahone | October 27, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Herzog is not coming back, but they should let Larry Michael go. He's a Vinny guy and all things Vinny must go. No more Redskins TV, no more attacking the press, no more propaganda, and no more play-by-play.

He is the Baghdad Bob of the NFL.

Posted by: mhaslup1 | October 27, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

The day that Larry Michael is abducted by aliens and subjected to repeated probing WILL NOT COME SOON ENOUGH.

Posted by: RCBJr | October 27, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we can get Frank to broadcast games via ham radio. I miss his voice.

Posted by: stevorama1 | October 27, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

i'll join the chorus of missing frank and not being a larry michael fan.

frank's comments are just a reminder of what a classy guy he is and has been.

i've enjoyed the alumni trip through redskins' history this season, including when i was able to get a VIP pass at training camp and hang out and chat with larry brown, darryl grant, and dexter.

Posted by: sec231 | October 27, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

i'll join the chorus of missing frank and not being a larry michael fan.

frank's comments are just a reminder of what a classy guy he is and has been.

i've enjoyed the alumni trip through redskins' history this season, including when i was able to get a VIP pass at training camp and hang out and chat with larry brown, darryl grant, and dexter.

Posted by: sec231 | October 27, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Yay Frank!
Boo larry!

I still love to yell "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" after a score

Posted by: jpfterps | October 27, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

All you need to know about Snyder can be found in his hirings and firings. He values submission over competence. There was never any reason to fire Frank Herzog. If Larry Michael was better it would have been the right move, but Michael ingratiated himself with Snyder. Snyder only does the right thing when his back is against the wall. Michael apparently thought that Skin's fans would forget about Frank Herzog. Well Larry boy, we will never forget!

Posted by: JAMNEW | October 28, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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