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Tuesday, November 17: A Much Better 'Mike Sellers And The American Flag' Story

Posted by Matt Terl on November 17, 2009 – 9:05 am

Even before the team won on Sunday, it felt to me like there was a sense in the air of setting things right and balancing accounts, like a much-less-violent version of the end of the Godfather. The changing of the sign policy, for example, putting an end to that long-simmering frustration.

But a less-remembered bit of 2009 Redskins awkwardness was revisited on the pregame sidelines, and set just as solidly to rest. Before the Redskins/Patriots preseason contest this year, Mike Sellers carried the American flag during player introductions and unthinkingly threw it aside. This caused a bit of a stir, Sellers apologized, and that seemed to be that.

Sunday, lifelong Redskins fan U.S. Army Staff Sargeant Brian Havens presented the Redskins organization with a flag that his unit flew during their deployment in Afghanistan, and it was Sellers that accepted. Somewhere in my head, that drew the final line under any negative associations between the words “Sellers” and “pregame” and “American flag.”

And for Sgt. Havens, it was just a complete thrill.

“It pretty much was kinda like a childhood dream. Everything you want,” he told Redskins.com TV. “I mean, growing up, I really don’t know anything but being a Redskins fan. So to meet Mike, to see these guys out here, it’s a totally different world. It’s like, some people look at the military, they say, ‘Wow.’ They don’t know anything about it, but they’re amazed by it. It’s the same thing here.”

Despite being born in Alabama, considering Nashville, Tenn., his home, and currently being stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., Sgt. Havens has always been a Redskins fan. “I really don’t know anything else. It’s like growing up and breathing air,” he said.

The way Sgt. Havens tells it, he was just returning a favor Sunday. “I pretty much contacted [the team] and I asked them, ‘Hey, we’re deploying. I’m a huge Redskins fan. We have a couple people in our unit who are huge Redskins fans. Is there anything you can do to support us before we deploy.’ They sent us a couple team hats, posters, and other items that we could take with us as we deployed, so we could support our team down in another country. When we got there, that’s when we decided, hey, we wanna fly a flag for them.”

When Havens found himself on a fifteen day leave, he brought the flag — along with his wife and three sons — to FedExField, where he was able to present it to Sellers. And then he was planning to settle in and watch only his third Redskins game of the season.”

“I got to see the opening game against the Giants,” he told me, “and I got to see … I wanna say the Monday Night game against the Eagles.”

Despite that, Sgt. Havens was completely confident in the outcome of Sunday’s game. “We’re getting’ a win today,” he said, with kickoff still hours away. “It’s gonna happen.”

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