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Friday, March 5: A Redskins Blog Fred Smoot Retrospective

Posted by Matt Terl on March 5, 2010 – 9:18 am

“I remember walking in here as a rookie — only NINE YEARS ago — and I feel like … I blinked and it’s gone. I blinked and it’s gone.” – Fred Smoot, talking back in November.

The Redskins released ten players yesterday, and in nearly every case I can understand why. Most of the cuts make the team younger, they allow the new coaches and front office to bring in “their” guys, and — because of the uncapped year — the moves could be made without destroying the team’s ability to compete financially.

The players released were all good guys, and — like general manager Bruce Allen said in his press conference yesterday — “If all of them signed in the next week we’ll be happy for them.” Just about all of them were good quotes, good locker room guys, and good sources of blog material, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t make special mention of cornerback Fred Smoot.

Say what you want about Smoot’s on-field performance; he’s definitely one of the quickest-witted people I’ve ever met, and at points over the last couple of seasons it felt like the easiest way to get a blog item was to ask Fred Smoot any question about anything and just transcribe what he said.

Since it looks like I’ll be losing that opportunity (although I’m irrationally holding out hope that the team re-signs him for the veteran minimum purely for blogging purposes), let’s trot the old stuff out for one last go-round. Here (in no particular order) are ten of my favorite Smootcentric blog items.

1) Smoot Goes Bowling – Smoot sparked a whole bunch of drama by claiming that he could bowl on the PBA tour — bowling fans are a prickly lot — and then had a chance to show off his skills when the whole team went to the bowling alley during training camp last year. This was the result:

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Sunday, December 27: Notes On The New Kicker

Posted by Matt Terl on December 27, 2009 – 11:07 am

I’ve already talked about Shaun Suisham making his return to FedExField tonight, so it seems like a good time to take a closer look at new kicker Graham Gano. Dan Steinberg has the nuts and bolts for you over at the Washington Post, covering Gano’s remarkable athleticism in high school and college (no, seriously!) and the seeming inevitability of his NFL future.

These are a few … other things. Less essential things, some might say. (Although those people would be wrong. But still.)

  • Gano’s celebratory pointing (as pictured up top of this post) is completely unironic, even after extra points. I found this out in the most awkward way possible, of course, by trying to ask him about it as if it were goofy or strange. Nope. “That’s just what I do,” he told me. “I’ve done it since the UFL season. It’s just my way of giving praise to God for giving me the ability to do it.”
  • If punter Hunter Smith — who showed up on the injury report on Friday — can’t go, Gano is the backup punter. Which should be fine, since he went to Florida State largely on a punting scholarship and tried out for NFL teams as a punter.

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Secret Santa With The Defensive Backs

Posted by Matt Terl on December 24, 2009 – 3:01 pm

I’ve been involved in some Secret Santa gift exchanges before and made out pretty well, I think. An orange-shaped lump of chocolate one time, an Amazon gift certificate another. Solid workplace gifts.

The Redskins defensive backs their Secret Santa on a slightly different level. (“Nah, nah,” LaRon Landry said. “No secrets, just a gift exchange. We drew names.” Whatever.)

Reed Doughty was sitting in front of his locker today, already changed after practice into his usual everyday-guy jeans-T-shirt-sweatshirt-sneakers combo, a Gucci bag sitting incongruously next to him. “Should’ve put your name into the defensive back secret santa pool,” he explained. “Fred Smoot had me, so I got my first pair of Gucci shoes.”

I asked if Gucci shoes weren’t a little steep for the usual twenty-bucks-max Secret Santa. “Yeah, I can be a little frugal at times, so when I found out that Fred was giving me these, I was, like, whoa.” But Doughty found out in time to adjust his gift for Doug Dutch.
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Toys For Tots: Fred Smoot, Chris Wilson, and Devin Thomas Debate Big Wheels

Posted by Matt Terl on December 4, 2009 – 3:01 pm

As the holiday season marches inexorably forward, folks attending this Sunday’s game at FedExField are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys For Tots. With that in mind, I figured I’d ask around the locker room for some toy suggestions. (What the heck, it worked out with children’s books — twice.)

I made it as far as Fred Smoot and Chris Wilson. Once those two got revved up and going, it didn’t matter who tried to interject … as Devin Thomas discovered.

“My favorite toy as a kid,” Smoot began, “had to go between the Big Wheel — I had this Dukes Of Hazzard Big Wheel with the brake on the back, right? [NOTE: That’s it pictured to the right.] I would go fast as I could, hit the brake, spin around. So the Big Wheel was one of my greatest, but I also loved the Etch-A-Sketch. I couldn’t draw a lick, but with that Etch-A-Sketch, I could make a million, just goin’ around, making my cousin mad [by] paintin’ ugly pictures of her. You know, Etch-A-Sketch is a powerful toy.”

Wilson was getting dressed at his nearby locker and overheard the end of the conversation, asked, “Etch-A-Sketch?”

“He asked me the favorite Christmas present I ever got,” Smoot said. “I told him my favorite was my Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel.”

Wilson was thrilled by this. “I was ’bout to say the Big Wheel!”

“Yep,” Smoot said, “I’m ’bout to tell you why the Big Wheel is essential.”

Devin Thomas had heard enough. “Man,” he said, “not the Big Wheel. Power Wheel!”

Wilson and Smoot were appalled, Wilson nearly shouting, “No, no!” and Smoot adding “[Forget] the Power Wheel,” only, you know, not actually “forget”. Read more »

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Malcolm Kelly's Old Freestyle Not As Popular As You Think

Posted by Matt Terl on December 2, 2009 – 5:03 pm

Ever since Malcolm Kelly was drafted — since well BEFORE he was drafted, in fact — this is what most of the Redskins fans I know have associated him with: his locker room freestyle after the Sooners’ Big 12 Championship Game win back in 2006.

So when I spoke to hip-hop artist (and Redskins fan) Wale yesterday, I asked him when he’d have Kelly do a guest verse on something. “One day,” Wale said. “We both have to get further in our careers.” But something in the way he said it led me to believe that he had no idea why I was asking the question, a suspicion that quickly proved true. I explained about the freestyling and the YouTube video and all of that, and he shrugged and moved on.

When I told Kelly that story today, he returned the favor, saying that he wasn’t hugely familiar with Wale — “You know,” he said, “I’m just now getting’ up here to the East Coast, so it’s a different thing up here. I heard he jams, though.” — but when I mentioned the YouTube video, Chris Wilson chimed in from a few lockers down.

“What you got on YouTube?” Wilson asked. Kelly and I both tried to explain.

“Wait,” Wilson said, “you was rappin’? I never seen it. Was it good?”

Which is how I found out that no matter what my friends and I liked about Kelly before he got here, virtually no one in the locker room had seen what made Kelly YouTube famous.

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Redskins Chat With Troops

Posted by Matt Terl on November 12, 2009 – 9:47 am

One last Veterans Day link, because I didn’t see it on Veterans Day: Phillip Daniels, Chris Cooley, Fred Smoot, Rock Cartwright, and Renaldo Wynn do a webchat with U.S. Troops stationed in Iraq.

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Sam Paulescu Becomes Part Of The European Corner

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2009 – 10:22 am

Hunter Smith will have his injury re-evaluated later this week, but for the moment, Sam Paulescu is still the Redskins punter. His locker is next to Smith’s, which is next to Shaun Suisham‘s … which means that Paulescu is in what Fred Smoot once dubbed the “European corner” of the locker room.

So it’s fortunate that: 1) Paulescu is of Romanian descent, and 2) Smoot was willing to suspend his media boycott a little longer to discuss that fact after he finished reminiscing about Champ Bailey. Read more »

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Tuesday, November 10: Talking About Champ Bailey Makes Fred Smoot Nostalgic

Posted by Matt Terl on November 10, 2009 – 7:25 am

This 2003 picture was the only one I could find of Fred Smoot and Champ Bailey. Standing between them is Matt Bowen, who does not get mentioned again in this post; he’s doing great work over at National Football Post, though, and you should go check it out.

Anyhow, the reason for digging up a picture of Smoot and Bailey should be pretty obvious: Bailey now plays for the Denver Broncos, who come to town Sunday. But he and Smoot were young cornerbacks together on the Redskins, and they became good enough friends that Smoot agreed to break his recent media boycott just to talk about his relationship with Bailey. Read more »

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A Brief, Mildly Embarrassing Discussion About Hot Sauce With Fred Smoot

Posted by Matt Terl on September 23, 2009 – 4:47 pm

Not too long ago, I did a favor for a guy over at the Try My Nuts nut company, which is — as you can probably guess from the name — the type of company that makes amusingly named hot sauces and spicy peanuts. (Really good spicy peanuts, I might add.) Today, I received a package of stuff from the company as a way of saying thank you, a generous and completely unnecessary gesture.

Good stuff, too: peanut brittle and those spicy peanuts and all sorts of other things. And, of course, a few bottles of hot sauce, each individually wrapped in bubble wrap.

Fred Smoot happened to be walking by as I was emptying the box out; I know Smoot likes hot sauce, so I called him over to see what we had. “I did a deal with Texas Pete,” Smoot said, “so I’ve got all the hot sauce I need for the rest of my life. Still, I’ll see what you’ve got.”

So it was a little awkward when the first bottle was of conVICKt Hot Sauce, the label of which features a cartoon bulldog urinating on a number 7. “Oh, see, that’s not right,” Smoot said, shaking his head. I gave an embarrassed shrug, thought about how glad I was that close-friend-of-Michael-Vick DeAngelo Hall wasn’t there and moved on to the next bottle.

Which was of Category 5 Private Reserve Hot Sauce, pictured above. That’s “category 5” as in “Hurricane.” As in, something else that Fred Smoot has recently mentioned not finding funny. “These hot sauce people,” he said, “they just don’t care about anyone, do they?”

And he walked away, leaving the hot sauce behind. Which was really too bad, because it meant that he missed the Dallas Sucks and Pittsburgh Sucks hot sauces.

Really good spicy peanuts, though.

(Many thanks to the folks at Try My Nuts.) Read more »

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Two Different Views On Hurricanes

Posted by Matt Terl on September 10, 2009 – 11:50 am

When Tropical Depression ERIKA was getting going a week or so back, my wife — also Erika, although not in all caps — was actually a little excited. And when ERIKA fizzled out near Puerto Rico, Erika was a tiny bit disappointed. So when I read yesterday that Hurricane FRED had grown to a Category 3 storm, I thought Fred Smoot might be slightly entertained and enjoy the opportunity to go on a weather-related rant.


“Y’know, that’s not good,” Smoot said. “I hate for a storm to be named after me.”

Mississippian Smoot does not view hurricanes as a reason for excitement. At all.

“I hope FRED goes down as one of the weakest hurricanes ever,” he said. “That’s nothing that I wanna be famous for.”

Smoot walked away shaking his head, then shouted back, “I hope I fizzle out over Old Creek Road.”

Santana Moss, meanwhile, was much more enthused about a totally different kind of Hurricane. Read more »

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