Former NFL quarterback and all-around good guy Doug Flutie was at FedExField on Sunday to participate in the NRG Solar Bowl.
Over the course of his 21 seasons in professional football, he played for eight different teams (Patriots twice) across three different professional leagues. But his NFL career began in Chicago, and his fourth NFL game was against the Redskins in the 1986 playoffs.
The game made an impression on Flutie.
“My worst memory was when I was with the Bears in the playoffs and we got beat by the Redskins,” he said. “It was my best opportunity [for a championship], I thought, because we had a heck of a defense in Chicago.”
Flutie, was signed in December to replace an injured Jim McMahon, and guided the World Champions to a 14-2 record. On Jan. 3, 1987, his Bears hosted the Redskins, and Flutie had a painful day.
Final stat line: 11-for-31, 134 yards, TD, 2 INTS, fumble.
“The only problem was I had just been there about four or five weeks and didn’t really know the system that great,” he said. “I was there a short while, became a starter, and I just wish I had been more comfortable going into the system at that point. When it came down to it, threw a touchdown pass and we were going down for the lead. We were down by maybe four or something, and Walter Payton fumbled inside the 10.”
How often did Payton fumble?
“It doesn’t happen,” he said, shaking his head. “And then Washington took the thing the length of the field, left us with a minute on the clock and up by two scores, and the game was over.”
Even 25 years later and a thousand miles removed, Flutie couldn’t help but shake his head, thinking back on his golden opportunity the boys in burgundy. I’m sure standing in the presence of three other quarterbacks with a combined eight Super Bowl rings didn’t make it any easier, so I changed the subject.
With Flutie’s hard-luck career, he actually has a lot in common with the young players in today’s game that are similarly fighting to make and keep their NFL roster spots.
“Yea that’s tough,” he said of the offseason lockout and lack of OTA’s. “I mean, this is like it was in the old days: jump in and learn under fire. Rookies got a little taste of what it used to be like but it’s a definite disadvantage. Especially for free agent rookies, they didn’t have a chance.”
Just don’t tell that to undrafted rookie offensive tackle, Willie Smith. But his point remained.
“If you ask all these guys,” he said, gesturing to his quarterback companions, “when we first all came into the NFL there were no minicamps. There was one three-day minicamp, but that was a joke. That was more like everybody just come on down and hang out. Now they’ve got all this offseason stuff so they can step in as a rookie and make it.”
With the Redskins leaning on a lot of rookies and young players this season, it’s a good thing that times have changed.
Tags: doug flutie, fedexfield, NRG Solar Bowl, washington redskins
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