Friday, December 12: What Wide Receivers Do In Practice

Yesterday, commenter Ax asked me what, precisely, the wide receivers actually do at practice. My initial inclination was to say that they run around a lot and occasionally catch passes, but it seemed like a needlessly glib, unhelpful response.

randleelwithkindereggSo I promised that I’d have one of the receivers take me through it today, and explain exactly what they do and what to look for when they’re practicing. I had assumed that this would have to wait until open locker room, or later today when the guys are trying to get out of the facility for their night off, but one nice thing about this job is that sometimes you get lucky.

Players walk by where I sit fairly often — they have to pass me to get to the PR and HR offices, two places they all need to visit occasionally — but they don’t always have the time or inclination to stop and chat. Today, though, the person Antwaan Randle El was hoping to see was out of the office (freeing up his time), and he was distracted by the tempting chocolate/hazelnut eggs in my desk-neighbor’s authentic German Kinder Überraschungsadvent calendar (leading him to stop and stay for a bit).

He kindly agreed to take some time and answer this pressing question, which I figured would prevent me from having to offer the dumb glib answer I had initially come up with.

So what, exactly, do you wide receivers do in practice?

“Run. Run, run, run. That’s all we do.” [So much for that hope.]

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Redskins Distribute Jackets

The reason I was in my car to hear Clinton Portis‘s pointed thoughts on Jim Zorn was because of Antwaan Randle El. Randle El, along with many of his teammates, and with the help of his El Foundation, the Redskins Charitable Foundation, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, spent today distributing winter coats to underserved children at two area schools — one in D.C., and one in Maryland.

coats01

“This is something that we started in Pittsburgh,” Randle El said. “It’s cold in Pittsburgh, and coats seemed like an important thing. I think this is the third one we’ve done here. I’ve been so blessed by God, and I try to do what I can to be a blessing.”

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Wednesday, October 29: Redskins Make Kids Healthy

Seeing members of the Redskins working with kids in the community makes me realize just how much more effective elementary school education could be if the teachers were celebrities. Not just celebrities, but very large, very strong celebrities. With whistles. Even then, the kids don’t fully listen, but it certainly makes for some interesting visuals.

While Jason Campbell was reliving second grade yesterday, a few of his teammates were turning the tables on their gym class memories. Antwaan Randle El, Rocky McIntosh, and Leigh Torrence joined Andre Carter and his wife Bethany as they hosted the 1st Annual Carter Boot Camp to support the United Way of the National Capital Area‘s Child Wellness Initiative, and all four players seemed to relish being the ones blowing the whistles and giving instruction.

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Inside Redskins Park: Some New Front Desk Help

A little surprising to walk into Redskins Park today and see a new face at the reception desk.

Good choice, though — Randle El is one of the most versatile people on the team, and now he can add this to his list of accomplishments. I bet Kordell Stewart didn’t answer phone calls as one of the slashes that earned him his nickname.

Making “The Mayne Event”

Kenny Mayne’s idea for his Mayne Event segment this week centers around the “Hip Hip Hooray” cheer, which appears to have caught the public imagination in a way that I couldn’t quite have imagined when Zorn first broke it out at the Welcome Home Luncheon.

As Mayne explained to me when I spoke to him, these shoots are not simple — this one includes a lot of players — but he manages to execute the actual shooting quickly and with an impressive minimum of fuss. Here, with the help of Redskins PR, he’s grabbed the first four guys he needs — Chris Samuels, Jason Campbell, Antwaan Randle El, and Colt Brennan — as they came off the field after morning practice, and he quickly gets them briefed on what they’re doing and set up to shoot the establishing shot of the segment.

EDIT TO ADD: We’re having some problems with the video; I’ll have it fixed as soon as I can. Fixed, hopefully.

There are multiple takes, of course, but on the whole the process moves surprisingly quickly and the guys really seem to get into it.

The most unusual element of Mayne’s shoot, actually, turns out to have nothing to do with him at all.
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Tuesday, October 7: Randle El Hip Hip Hoorays

It’s been up on Redskins.com for awhile, and it’s also been picked up around the blog-o-world, but if you haven’t seen Antwaan Randle El leading the “hip hip hooray” after the win over the Eagles, it’s an excellent way to start off the day.

Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El: Good Guys

A few people sent me the link to a story in the Frederick News-Post this weekend, about Chris Cooley driving up to Jefferson, MD, (west of Frederick) to visit with Ron Frazier. Frazier is a lifelong Redskins fan who was diagnosed with colon cancer, and a family friend contacted the team to see if they could, according to the article, “give Ron and Kathy one more joyful memory.”

The Redskins asked if it was possible for Ron to visit the team for a practice, but he is no longer able to travel. Instead, Cooley drove to Jefferson from Virginia on Friday after practice to meet the Fraziers. Two dozen friends, family members and neighbors were there. When the neighborhood children heard what was happening, they ran over, too.

Cooley posed for dozens of pictures and autographed everything in sight: footballs; posters; pennants; photos; hats — and, of course, a whole bunch of No. 47 jerseys. He stayed for nearly an hour, answering inside football questions, making small talk and discussing new coach Jim Zorn.

I read the article — it really is a terrific story — and set it aside to include in today’s Redskins links. As I watched the game, though, one particular part of the article came back to me: “Cooley promised to send Ron a keepsake football if he scored a touchdown Sunday.” So that was hanging in the balance, along with the score of the game, as Cooley’s touchdown catch was reviewed.

Then, today, I noticed this in the Washington Times:

Walking out of the Washington Redskins’ locker room after Sunday’s 23-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Chris Cooley clutched the football he caught for his first touchdown of the season, part of a career day for the tight end.

But the game ball wasn’t for him.

Cooley intended to sign the football and award it to receiver Antwaan Randle El, who threw the pass Cooley caught for an 18-yard score.

I found Cooley in Redskins Park today and asked him about it. “I kinda got mixed up, because I told El during the week that I’d give it to him,” he shook his head. “I’m gonna give it to [Frazier]. I’m sure El does not care.”

He also mentioned enjoying the experience as a whole. “It was cool,” he said. “They were saying they have thirteen or fourteen seats in the lower bowl, and they all wear 47 jerseys.”

I asked if he had told El about the mix-up yet; he hadn’t, but I was fortunate enough to be around when he did, and it took Randle El about an eighth of a second to show himself to be every bit as classy as Cooley expected.

“Let me sign it too,” he said, after hearing the story. “That’ll work. That’s real good, actually.”

My recording of the conversation is hard to hear, as I just clicked on my recorder while the two talked, with the microphone not particularly close to either of them, so Cooley’s response is somewhat muddled. “I’ll bring it in this week,” he says, meaning the game ball. Then something muffled about visiting the Fraziers, and then, “He’s a really good guy.” It’s not clear if he’s referring to Frazier or Randle El, and in this case it can probably be safely applied to both of them, and Cooley as well.

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