A Player’s Week: Antwaan Randle El

A lot of the questions I get in my email are about the day-to-day routines of the players during the week before a game. I generally answer as best as I can, but there are plenty of things that I don’t get to see. So I asked Antwaan Randle El if he’d let me follow him through a week — not to intrude on his home life or anything like that, particularly, but to get a sense of how he prepares and what he does all week.

He’s also agreed to answer some questions from readers, so if you have questions for Antwaan Randle El, email them to me and I’ll do my best to get them answered. (I reserve the right to ask or not ask questions at my discretion.)

I started by catching up with him Monday afternoon to find out what he had done after the game and during the start of the week.

Okay. I know I said this wasn’t specifically about Sunday’s game, but I do have two quick questions about that. First of all, what was up with you hurdling Moss?

Yeah, I don’t know what that was about. I was excited, I just ran up on him and started jumping.

So it wasn’t planned?

Nope.

All right. What happened on the fumbled punt return?

I tried to split defenders, split ’em sideways. I got the ball out a little bit, he got his helmet on it, and there it went.

(At this point, David Elfin of the Washington Times had approached, and he asked a follow-up question about Randle El’s recent punt returns, and how they haven’t been as impressive as they were during his first year here.)

Last year I was dinged up a bunch with the hammies, with some knees, things like that. This year, I was planning to have a much better year. It wasn’t a great start, with that fumble, but….

(Elfin asked another question — it’s tough to hear on my tape — mentioning that Zorn had talked about the possibility of Santana Moss returning some punts.)

Maybe Santana will get back there a couple of times — I don’t have a probably with that. We’ll do some of that stuff, we’ll treat it as a one-two punch or whatever. But that’s something we’re going to work at, and like I told you, the punt return is going to be much better this year than it has been in the last year or so.

Back on track, then — take me through what you did after the game ended on Sunday.

Sat down in the tent a little bit, got something to eat, took some family to the airport, and then went home and just hung out with my children. Sometimes me and the wife, if she doesn’t bring the kids, we’ll go out after a one o’clock, get something to eat, but mostly that’s it.

After that game, you know, I’m worn out, she knows I’m worn out, I’ll go home and hang around with my kids a little bit. We play a few different games or whatever, and by the time I’m finished with that after the long ride from Maryland, I’m ready to hit a bath get to bed, get ready for the next day.

Is your routine different after a win than after a loss?

In terms of home? No. I don’t take it home – you CAN’T take it home. You know, win or lose, I don’t sleep too well after games because I’m still kinda revved up — especially after the one yesterday – I get that with wins or losses.

I get home and it is what it is. My wife understands, and if I’m tired, she’ll give me my peace or my rest – or she feels like she wants some attention, she’s gonna come bother me. That’s just the way it is.

I don’t take it home – I just can’t. I think it affects family if you do that.

Do you watch the late game, though?

Yeah, cause I’m up, you know? Pittsburgh played last night, I watched some of that. Saw Willie [Parker] get out a couple of times, saw Hines [Ward] catch a touchdown, and I started flipping channels and then me and my wife enjoyed a movie together down in the theater. So we enjoyed that.

But when I go home, it’s family. If I do watch football at home, you know, if we’re going to be playing the team – we’re playing Cleveland AND Pittsburgh later – I do try to pay attention to what they’re doing.

Monday after gameday, what happens?

Well, Sunday was a HOT game. So you try to hydrate, and I’ve gotta get into the cold tub to try to get some of the soreness out before Wednesday. I try to get my lift in, also. This Monday we also had Life Skills.

And what’s that, exactly?

Life skills is about life, and the things that happen in life. If you’re married, how to deal with your marriage. For guys who like to go out to the clubs late, how do you go out to the clubs late and protect yourself? Do you take somebody with you? Do you have a bodyguard? If you take somebody with you, they have to understand that if something goes down, we’ve gotta get out. They have to understand that, if you’re going with me, people are going to test you to get to me. So that’s the kind of thing they talk about.

They talked about other life things, like, having a baby mama, for instance, and how to deal with that. You hate for it to happen, but it DOES happen, and you’ve gotta deal with situations like that.

Other things … drinking and driving, you’ve gotta just leave that stuff alone. Stuff like that.

How often does this happen? I mean, I knew there was stuff like this for the rookies, but–

For rookies, they get like eight or nine weeks. We, as veterans, only have one.

Okay, that makes more sense. I mean, I don’t pretend to know you all that well, but it seems like this doesn’t necessarily apply to you, your current life situation…

Right, and there are other guys like that. But it is what it is. You’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta sit through it, and what winds up happening is, you can encourage younger guys, rookies and stuff like that.

After that, we’ve got time to get some lunch, we meet with Z – he gives us a breakdown of what happened in the game, some insight. Then Sherm [Smith] gives an understanding of how these things happened and stuff like that, and then we break down to position coaches to go over the plays in detail.

Then we’ve got conditioning – and it’s hard to condition after a game because you’re so sore. You don’t really want to do too much running … I was trying to run, but I didn’t have much left in my legs. You get that back through icing and stretching and stuff like that today and tomorrow.

Tuesday is the off-day. What will you be doing then?

I won’t be in, because I got my lift and stuff done today… well, I’m not gonna say I won’t be in. Cause it depends on how I feel in the morning. If I’ve got some soreness and stuff, I’m still gonna want to come in tomorrow, get some treatment on the body, ice and stuff like that. Try to get going.

But if I don’t come in, I’m gonna run a couple of errands – I’ve always got a Honey Do list from my wife. I know one of my babies has to go to the doctor tomorrow for a checkup. Stuff like that.

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9 Responses

  1. Good stuff, Matt. This is exactly the kind of behind-the-scenes info only you can get us.

    But if Elfin doesn’t butt out next time, just throw him an elbow!

  2. It’s really cool Matt to get this perspective of the players. They’re just like us. The only difference is that their job requires them to play a little football on the weekends. But, beyond that, especially the ones that have families like Randle El, they seem to all dance to the same beat as the rest of us.

    Lastly, with regards to punt returns, with all due respect to Mr. Randle El, it would be nice if we could find someone else to do that part of his job. But, it should not be Santana Moss…in my humble Die Hard Redskins Fan opinion.

  3. Love the insight this kind of thing can bring, good job Matt.

    ARE is one of my favorite Redskin personalities, he’s always switched on like neon. Seems like a really great guy. I’d like to hear from him what he thinks of Zorn so far and if he thinks he can be a successful HC. How does he rate compared to his other coaches, like say maybe Bill Cower and would he like to see Cower in a Redskin uniform whenever he’s ready?

    Okay so that was like three questions. Anyway, I agree on the PR. I don’t think it should be either one – both are too valuable as receivers. I think it should be Rock. no dancing and consistent.

  4. Love these kind of posts Matt. Great job.

  5. Can you ask Randle El why he thinks he has had SO MUCH less success at returning punts on the Skins as he had on the Steelers? And tell him not to say because the opposition is more prepared for him, or something along those line. Is he less agile? Does he protect himself more? Are our punt return schemes really that much worse than the Steelers’? I can’t figure this out.

    Also Matt, can you please comment on Jason Taylor, his incredible improvement from Week 1, and can you ask someone how healthy he is. My feeling is that he is at about 80%, which would mean he could be scary good this year if he gets completely healthy. Our D-Line played great and it led to some turnovers. I believe it is the key to our success.

  6. these are some great fotos and i will love to leave some insight, which i will do momentarily, but i wanted to show some of my work off to the skins and their fans

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=190065576&albumID=1009811&imageID=18321827

  7. I agree with warren ..Santanna and Randle are too vauable as receivers to be returning punts…..IMO Leigh Torrence should be given a shot because he has awesome speed

  8. Does ARL practice any of his QB skills, or is that a thing of the past?

  9. ARL can’t return punts anymore because he runs east-west instead of north-south.

    he makes more moves going sideways than any other punt returner in the league. let rock or james thrash return the punts, and if we are in need of a big play, put Santana back there.

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