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Alumni, active players bridge the gap

On the final day of minicamp at Redskins Park, current players working through their final practice became the sideshow to the main event on the adjacent turf field.

Former players milled about next to the practice as part of an alumni event set up by General Manager Bruce Allen. They included a number of franchise greats such as Pat Fischer, Mark Moseley and Gary Clark, and Hall of Famers Sam Huff, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk and Charley Taylor.

It is "a special time to bring back not only the legends of the game but some of the architects of the Washington Redskins that our fans have loved over the decades," Allen said. "They're great people and it's wonderful to have them."

Several former players reminisced about the culture at Redskins Park when they played, saying that it was commonplace for former players to interact with active ones.

Clark said he remembered coming into the weight room in his first seasons with the Redskins and running into former running back John Riggins, or talking to members of the Fun Bunch or Smurfs and picking up trade secrets. Monk said he spoke with Mitchell about his experiences as one of the first African Americans in football.

The opportunity for the two groups to mix could help the current team understand not just the history of the franchise, players said, but also what it takes to win.

"I think it's important for them to realize what they have and not take it for granted," Monk said. "I know when I came in, I came in with the Over the Hill Gang so I was familiar with the old guys - they don't like to be called 'old' - but the older guys and they would tell me stories about their past.

"...It's important for us to know that so we can appreciate what we have and I know that was the way it was for me and it's important for them to have that as well."

To many former players, the alumni event represented the long-overdue bridging of a gap that had formed between the Redskins' past and its present. In past years, players felt alienated from the team and some said they were "not welcome." Many praised Allen for the change, and said they felt it was a sign that the franchise was headed in the right direction.

"Bruce has done a good job of trying to put the guys back together again and trying to get us involved, because I don't think it's a secret that there's been a separation between the alumni and the organization for a number of years now," Moseley said.

"And when Bruce came in the first thing he did was give us a call and say, 'Hey guys we got to make the guys here realize the reason the fans are the fans that they are today is because of you guys and the history of the Redskins and how you guys took us to all those wins back in the '70s, '80s and '90s.' And he said, 'these guys haven't been winning for a long time and they've got to realize what it takes to be winners.' And so it's a good feeling to know the Redskins recognize us."

Owner Dan Snyder said he and Allen had talked about holding more alumni events and that Allen had suggested putting something together during a minicamp.
Snyder, who said he still has "Larry Brown's No. 43 shirt from when I was a kid" and joked he might try to get it autographed, also credited Allen for organizing the event.

"I think there's a conscious effort to organize it more," Snyder said. "And that's really where Bruce comes in. Bruce's organizational skills, his management skills, he's really focused on making sure things are a little bit more organized."

By Paul Tenorio  |  June 17, 2010; 5:41 PM ET
 
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Next: Skins alumni pile on Haynesworth

Comments

Yeah moo, i saw that. Its kind of funny that Cerrato showed up... but if you are gonna bring together the family, you can't pick and choose. Family is family, for better or worse. Ceratto is the doofus wierd cousin Alice married against every body else's better judgement. BA did the right thing, and Cerrato will forever be linked to the AH debacle no matter how many times he utters such brilliant witticisms such as "there is no I in team".

And while its true there is no I in Team, there is a big C in "I'm an azz Clown"

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | June 17, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Family is family, for better or worse.

Posted by: SkinsfaninKaneohe | June 17, 2010 5:42 PM

amen.

kind of like having my wife's divorced parents in the same room.

everybody gets along, but fnck there can be some tension just beneath the surface.

Posted by: moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Snyder is just effusive in his praise, isn't he? Repeatedly mentions how Allen "organized" things... as if the team had every intention of doing events like this throughout his tenure but just couldn't quite get things "organized." And how the big difference between then and now is that Allen is just a little bit more organized.

Ugh... I simply loathe Dan Snyder.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 17, 2010 5:52 PM

nate, this is smart stuff by ownership/management coming off the losing trend of the past decade.

my guess is that Dan needed some time to piss all over everything, just to convince himself that "It's mine, all mine!"

Gibbs 2.0 was another version of this type of marketing. never liked that one to begin with, gimmicky and the limited longevity of any payoff was predictable.

but pulling in respected former players around new management/coaches that (please!) will be in place for something longer than two years... well, it makes sense.

although the whole thing reeks of a transparent PR ploy, it unites both the team and the fan base. and the timing is impeccable, given the big FU we've all received lately.

Posted by: moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

don't get it... and I still loathe Vinny Cerrato and consider him a toxin that should be kept the hell away from our beloved franchise, so obviously I'm not in the guy's corner.

F Vinny Cerrato.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 17, 2010 5:18 PM

Agree fully. But then Vinny has to protect his 'reputation' - the one that exists only in his own little head of course.

You know, the one that says he built a Super Bowl team but it was ruined by the coaches and players.

Crawl back under you complete and utter c@#t.

On a happier note, gotta love the alumni ('cept Vinny) being brought back into the fold. And I don't mind admitting it guys, but I think I have a man crush on Art Monk!

Posted by: craig81 | June 17, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Former players milled about.... They included a number of franchise greats such as Pat Fischer, Mark Moseley and Gary Clark, and Hall of Famers Sam Huff, Bobby Mitchell, Art Monk and Charley Taylor."


This is a very important step in re-branding an identity for the franchise.

The Washington Redskins have a long and storied history.

Young players will benefit from learning about it from the solid citizens who were apart of laying a foundation many of them simply might not know of given the down time since those 'glory days.'

Guys who are in their mid-20s grow up in a decade where the skins weren't a 'name' team.

Having the guys who earned three Super Bowl trophies and Hall of Fame honor will re-direct their attention from the sorry circus clown known as Albert Haynesworth.

This is a great way to build team and identity.

HTTR

Posted by: MistaMoe | June 17, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Oops, that should of course have read 'Crawl back under your rock Vinny...' rather than advising any other c@#t's to do so.

Posted by: craig81 | June 17, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

jeez Mack, I musta missed your comment. But kudos to you for being so incredibly accurate, 'cept for that time stamp thing, of course ....

Posted by: zcezcest1 | June 17, 2010 3:42 PM

Thanks Z. As for the time stamp, you can't be right about everything. Now if you, Red and anyone else I named (can't remember, it was so long ago) wanna make good on that bet, I take paypal, certified checks, whatever is easiest.

Posted by: mack1 | June 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The more we hear though, the more I think zcezcest is on to something about the 3-4 issue being a cover for something deeper.

Posted by: craig81 | June 17, 2010 5:55 PM

sure, it's more than 3-4... even though AH and other interested parties have all expressed clearly that this is a major sticking point, he was none too happy in Blatche's 4-3 last year.

personally think it has more to do with misplaced ego. just like my dog from a few weeks ago, everyone wants to see how high up they can piss on the telephone pole.

but lots of other things play into this, and none of those explanations need be mutually exclusive (on either side of the standoff)... most of us would have a hard time distilling any important life decision to a single reason.

what gets me is the cartoonish amount of money involved, and the overall disconnect from the reality of 99.9% of the people in this country, much less the world. if he were being paid minimum wage, nobody here would give a rat's ass.

Posted by: moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

moo man, I don't mind a transparent PR ploy if it feels as good as this -- Bobby Mitchell and all these dudes coming back to the Park is a can't-miss proposition!

craig, I'm with you on the Art Monk man-crush. First Skins jersey I ever had was his, and he's always been one of my favorites.

What a 24-hour period this has been for me as a Skins fan -- having mostly come down from my frothing anger at Albert yesterday, I've been bouncing between delight in this alumni reunion, confusion over the various conspiracy theories being floated up here (at one point zeke almost had me convinced... that's how crazy things got!) and consternation/disgust that Vinny was allowed back on the premises and given a chance to pontificate once again and spin his own tenure into something other than abject failure.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 17, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: mack1 | June 17, 2010 6:19 PM

I'll give you a Johnny Rockets hamburger meal for actually inspiring me to look through the archives and double-check zeke's handiwork:

http://www.atlantadowntown.com/_files/images/johnny-rockets.jpg

Posted by: moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

hearing pat fischer talk about who he'd want with him in an alley fight was great!

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 17, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

don't get it... and I still loathe Vinny Cerrato and consider him a toxin that should be kept the hell away from our beloved franchise, so obviously I'm not in the guy's corner.

F Vinny Cerrato.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 17, 2010 5:18 PM

Well, friend, as a Friend2All, my inclination is that Cerrato should be invited. I think this is the type of magnanimous gesture that we all think is called for and which Cerrato was incapable of. It is an act of inclusion, rather than exclusion -- something the Snyder/Cerrato Redskins have been lacking. Three cheers for Bruce Allen (but not "hip hip hooray" cheers). I hope that next he will make nice with the Washington Post.

Posted by: Friend2All | June 17, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 6:19 PM

Too true moodly. Like the bankers in this country, the Members of Parliament and their expenses or Tony Whatsisname of BP. No connection to the 'little people'.

Like you I wonder if ego is one of the big issues. If I remember correctly, wasn't it D Hall that said something about AH having told him that AH knows best how he should be used or something. Didn't sound like 'I don't think I fit the 3-4' so much as 'I know better than my coaches and everybody else how I should play'.

Not a lot of evidence to go on but.....

Posted by: craig81 | June 17, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

more alumni beeps on next thread...

Posted by: moodlymoodlymoo | June 17, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Alumni event is evidence that adults are now in charge of the Redskins - and - the response out of the Redskins at all levels regarding Fat Albert suggests that Fat Arse has picked the wrong "regime" to F with.

Fat Arse has a simple solution - give back the $21 million and I be the Redskins would bend over backwards to trade him to the Siberian Snowflakes. In another thread some legalise yutz tried to suggest that Fat Arse has a legal case because he was promised a "4-3 defense". Upon hiring of Haslett, the Redskins announced a switch to a 3-4. This announcement preceased Fat Arse's acceptance of the $21 million. Obviously he knew the terms of the contract changed - oral or implied - hence he accepted the changes by cashing the check.

Ball is in your court Legal yutz.

Posted by: laserwizard | June 17, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I was at the Alumni event yesterday and it was great to see how Bruce Allen, Mike Shanahan and Dan Snyder are trying to bring back the proud, and accountable Redskin tradition. I got to overhear a lot of the conversations between past and present players and you can tell that even one afternoon together meant a great deal to both sides. There was no Haynesworth talk, no last season blaming game, no animosity or debatable conversation whatsoever. It was a great bonding experience and these guys will have a deeper understanding now as to what it means to put on a Redskin uniform and represent the organization on and off the field. Looking forward to this new era in Washington and it has been a while, even in my relatively short lifespan, that I have said that honestly.

Posted by: jgibson8 | June 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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