Anthony Armstrong was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday, filling the punter-shaped empty space that Glenn Pakulak left behind. He’s a 5-foot-11, 183 pound wide receiver who played his college ball at West Texas A&M and whose resume includes stints with the Miami Dolphins practice squad, the Dallas Desperadoes in the now-defunct Arena League, and a team called the Odessa Roughnecks in something called the Intense Football League.
“Yeah, yeah, the Intense Football League,” Armstrong told me yesterday, in the least intense voice imaginable. “It was kinda like an independent brand of indoor football. It was out in Odessa, Texas. There were about six teams at the time. It was something I had to do to get back in the flow of playing football again after college and getting through an injury and rehab and stuff like that.”
He shrugged. “I hurt my wrist and had to have surgery, and I really had to go play football as soon as I could, and that was in Odessa.”
And what was the Intense Football League like? “It was very intense,” Armstrong said mildly. “Of course it was intense. They wouldn’t call it the Intense Football League if it wasn’t.”
Then he clarified slightly, ” Just like [Arena Football] but they didn’t have the rebound nets. Just had some regular old goalposts.”
Armstrong has come up the professional football ladder from just about the lowest imaginable rungs — “Slowly but surely tryin’ to move my way up,” he said — but where he finds himself now is slightly unusual. Because Armstrong grew up in Dallas, and he’s perfectly frank about his childhood loyalties.
“Of course you grow up a Cowboys fan being in Dallas,” he said. “It’s kind of a right of passage. I already talked to my mom, and she’s like, ‘Well, shoot, that’s a rival.’ I told everybody they could cheer for me. They gotta cheer for the team that … I understand they’re gonna be fans of Dallas first and foremost.”
I asked if it was weird for him to be wearing burgundy, and pointed out that — in the grand scheme of his life — that’s kind of beside the point. “Y’know, it’s not weird in the fact that [I] have a job, and it’s my job to play football. It’s the Washington Redskins and that’s what it is; I’m glad to be here.”
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