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Alumni Day At Practice

Posted by Matt Terl on June 17, 2010 – 3:37 pm

Well, it wasn’t the weather that distracted from practice today. It was Art Monk. And Pat Fischer. And Clint Didier. And Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor and Larry Brown and Mark Moseley and on and on and on. Bruce Allen invited the Redskins alumni to come back to watch a practice, and the alumni turned out in droves.

“A great day for the Washington Redskins,” Allen called it. “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. You got to see some great people, and it’s wonderful to have them here.”

That’s Mike Bass, cornerback 1969-1975, and Pat Fischer, defensive back 1968-1977. Fischer remains every bit as fiery as he was reputed to be during his playing days; when I asked if I could take a picture of his hat, he grabbed me, shook me, asked if was seriously a blogger, asked how old I was, shook me some more, and then walked away without posing for a picture. The man appeared in the 1969 Pro Bowl and I have no doubt that he could’ve knocked me unconscious without even trying. Bass was much more easygoing.

Oh, and Shanahan mentioned “architects” of the Redskins? He wasn’t kidding.

That’s Charlie Casserly, Bubba Tyer, and Bobby Beathard. Casserly and Beathard were literal architects of the great Redskins teams; Beathard helped build the Super Bowl champions of the 1980s, and Casserly, his assistant for those years, became general manager in 1989.

Casserly was impressed by the gathering. “Bruce did a great job,” he said. “It was great to see everybody from all the different eras, and it was really terrific. It really was.” He noted that, “Back before, we didn’t have something like this, but we did see a lot of the alumni. I think it’s important because embracing the history and tradition is important — especially in an organization that HAS such a great history and tradition.”

Allen was asked why he thought the organization needed to connect with that history, and he was quick to correct the word choice. “I don’t think it’s a need; I think it’s the right thing. Obviously many of these people are like family to me; we’re gonna have an event this afternoon to incorporate our active players with our great alumni, and I really feel this is a special time to be a Redskin.”

One of those events was a barbecue lunch; that’s great alumnus Sam Huff telling stories to great alumnus George Starke and active players Adam Carriker and Jeremy Jarmon.

“I was raised a Redskins fan,” Allen explained. “We owe them a great debt of gratitude for their accomplishments in building this place. Not just the three Super Bowl trophies, but the way they represented themselves in the burgundy and gold, and I think they’re gonna give great lessons for our current players to follow. We’re fortunate we have such great alumni.”

Great alumnus Clint Didier, pausing on the campaign trail to shake hands with Bruce Allen. “They’re excited,” a genuinely enthusiastic Allen said. “They are Redskins fans. They’re proud of their contributions and they want this team to perform well. It’s just great.”

This reconnecting with Redskins roots will continue at the home game against the Colts on October 17, which Allen considers the Redskins homecoming game. “High schools have them,” he says, “colleges have them, why not us?”

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