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Doc Walker On 1981 Redskins’ 0-5 Start

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 15, 2011 – 7:14 pm

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Today’s Coca Cola sponsored “4th & Life” football forum was a learning experience for everyone, myself included.

That’s what tends to happen when Redskins great Rick ‘Doc’ Walker takes the microphone in front of a group.

Among the many stories that he shared with the 500 coaches and student athletes in attendance, is of the 1981 Redskins season.  That team–which Walker was a part of–started out the season 0-5, losing three games at home to the Cowboys, Giants and 49ers, and a pair on the road to the Cardinals and Eagles.

As Walker recalled, he was shell-shocked:

But that team turned it around, and eventually wound up 8-8.  The following year, the team went 8-1 and won the Super Bowl.  The team rattled off six straight winning seasons after that 8-8 season, culminating in two championships.

And he attributed the turnaround to high character guys, like the Redskins panelists in attendance today.

After the event, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander discussed the implications of the five game slide, and how he’s able to stay positive and motivated.

“In the NFL, you’ve gotta compartmentalize,” he said.  “I’ve got a wife and kids at home, and I can’t take that 3-6 record home with me and treat them the way that I feel at work.  When you’re at work, you’re working hard to fix the problems that got you into it.  But when you go home, it’s not fair to the people that are in your lives.”

That’s not to say that he doesn’t care, because athletes are the ultimate competitors.  It takes team unity, discipline and self-confidence to battle back.

“It goes good or bad: you’re never as good as people say you are and you’re never as bad as people think you are,” he said.  “You can’t let that reflect in every single aspect of your life or it will drive you crazy.  You’ve got enough people between the media and the fans that’s gonna destroy you.  There’s no reason to do that to your own self as well.”

The general consensus among players?  Losing is the worst, but they have the leadership and character to claw their way out.

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