ABC-7’s Britt McHenry snapped the above picture at Donovan McNabb‘s press availability today. Some of the faces (and backs of heads) are regular attendees to these weekly events — John Keim and Barry Svrluga are holding down their usual posts, and the dynamic radio duo of Chris Russell and Grant Paulsen can be clearly spotted — but there’s some unfamiliar faces as well, out-of-state media types including a few national crews, a Canadian crew, and a whole bunch of reporters down from Philadelphia.
McNabb’s press conference was the most obvious target (you may not have heard this, but the Redskins are playing his old team this week), but the Philly beat reporters were also making their way around open locker room, getting quotes from the Redskins players who made themselves available.
Not everyone did. Artis Hicks — also making a return to his old team, although one that’s not quite as heralded as McNabb’s — declined to chat.
And some players didn’t even realize why the media throng looked so much throng-ier. “I saw a couple of different people,” wide receiver Anthony Armstrong said after speaking briefly to a crowd of press, “but you don’t always know who’s who. They don’t wear big ol’ shirts that say PHILLY on them.”
One of the guys who spoke the longest, through several waves of alternating local and out-of-town media, was center Casey Rabach. He’s a reasonable target for this kind of thing, as he’s both the guy who snaps the ball to McNabb on every play and an agreeable talker.
Of course, part of being a good talker as a football player is knowing what the media wants from you, and Rabach knew perfectly well what the Philly guys were looking for.
“I think they really wanted to hear me say ‘We’re gonna win this one for Donovan,'” Rabach told me. “And, ‘Donovan got hosed up there in Philadelphia. Fans never bought into him or loved him; he was never embraced up in Philadephia like he already is down here in Washington.'”
Just because he knew what they wanted to hear, though, doesn’t mean that he accommodated. “I gave them nothing,” he said. “I told them that, obviously, is a football game like any other week. We’re preparing for it like any other week. There’s only the fact that it’s a divisional game, and the fact that if and when we win this game, we’ll be leaders in the NFC East.”
I also asked Rabach if there was any discernible difference between the Philly media and the D.C. media, frankly hoping that he’d tell a story that was the media equivalent of the old “They Boo Santa Claus!” chestnut.
But Rabach again took the high road. Mostly. “They were obviously more to the point,” he acknowledged, “in-and-out, got their quote and left, while local media here is obviously a little more personable, I have a little more of a rapport with them.” He paused for a second, then added, jokingly, “Obviously D.C. media is way better than Philadelphia media.”
Just the kind of inflammatory stuff everyone was hoping for today, I’m sure.
Thanks to the folks at Redskins.com TV, here’s a big chunk of how Rabach’s availability today actually went:
Tags: Casey Rabach, Media, redskins @ eagles
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