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Joe Bugel: Passion, Loyalty, Friendship, and Cursing

Posted by Matt Terl on January 13, 2010 – 2:45 pm


Usually when I post these press conferences, it’s not because I think it was such a fascinating experience that it deserves rewatching. I think of it as … as a Redskins community service, for lack of a better phrase. A chance for people who don’t trust transcribed quotes or excerpts to see how it actually went down.

That’s not the case with this one. Joe Bugel’s retirement presser was something to behold, a football lifer speaking from the heart without notes or a microphone, and it was a legitimately riveting spectacle.

“I think I’m ready to block for Joe Bugel,” the Washington Post’s Rick Maese tweeted after about ten minutes of Bugel’s speech, to general agreement.

Rich Campbell of the Free Lance-Star was even more blunt: “Listening to Bugel right now is as close as we’ll get to hearing an NFL locker room speech first hand.”

Even Bugel’s players agreed. Sort of.
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Wednesday, July 29: The Conditioning Test Is No Joke

Posted by Matt Terl on July 29, 2009 – 8:53 am

Tomorrow, after a seemingly endless stretch of downtime, training camp starts back up. Once upon a time in the misty NFL past, “training camp” meant exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of out-of-shape players would show up, many having worked non-football jobs during the offseason, and the coaching staff would use a grueling camp to whip them into shape.

That’s not so much the case now. Between organized offseason team workouts, non-team-related but still organized workouts, and individual workouts, players now show up to camp in shape and use the training camp to get into game shape. But teams still need to be sure that players are prepared to go through the rigors of training camp (no matter how in shape they appear), which is why there is a conditioning test that everyone has to pass before training camp.

The conditioning test made its way into the spotlight last year when Coach Zorn talked about how then-rookie wide receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly had not been able to pass it.

“If you can’t pass that physical test that we give, then something’s not right,” Zorn said at the time according to the Washington Post. “So I’ve been kind of jabbing at them with that. . . . I wish I could take the test just to show everybody that I was in good shape. It’s sort of a pride issue.”

Zorn isn’t the only one who wanted to take the test.

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Tuesday, April 28: Golfing With Redskins

Posted by Matt Terl on April 28, 2009 – 3:41 pm

I stayed at Redskins Park for the Brian Orakpo press conference yesterday, so I missed the reported mobbing of Jason Campbell by the local media. It sounded like quite the scene, with Campbell surrounded and fielding endless questions in his characteristic classy manner, and his teammates staying rock solid in support of him. Kelli Johnson’s piece for Comcast SportsNet gives a good overview of that angle on things.

By the time I arrived at the Lowes Island Club golf course for the Jason Campbell Leukemia Golf Classic, the players had scattered across 36 holes of golf and were just generally having a good time hacking away at the ball and enjoying the warm weather.

As the name suggests, the tournament benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and from that standpoint yesterday was an unmitigated success. The event raised over $225,000 for the group, a marked jump from last year’s successful effort. Campbell, by all accounts, actually helps to plan the event, attending meetings and working with the group, not just lending his name.

There were two things worthy of special note yesterday.

One of them is vastly more important than the other, so that’s where I’ll start. Read more »

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Wednesday, April 1: Surveys and The Randy And Doc Show

Posted by Matt Terl on April 1, 2009 – 11:10 am

In the lobby of Redskins Park yesterday, the Community Relations department was having the players fill out surveys about themselves — Favorite Food, People You Would Want To Be Stranded On A Desert Island With, Last Book You Read … good college application questions like that.

I spent a few good minutes sitting with Carlos Rogers while he mulled over his Favorite Snack Food — “Ain’t potato chips … maybe donuts? … there’s a lot of good snacks … those Little Debbie things, too ….” — before ultimately settling on donuts. It was riveting, but not nearly as riveting as watching Rogers and fellow cornerback Justin Tryon debate whether or not “God” was a viable choice for Person You’ve Never Met That You Would Like To Spend Time With.

“I’m putting God,” Tryon maintained.

“Aw, come on,” said Rogers.

“It is!”

“You don’t want to meet him too soon, though.”

“Well … no.”

“What about another football player you looked up to? Deion?”

“I met Deion. Met Darrell Green.”

“Some musician?”

“Nah. Man, I don’t know.”

I left them sitting in a contemplative silence, quietly debating the relative merits of God versus Darrell Green. (Tryon told me afterward that he eventually settled on Serena Williams, which seemed like a reasonable choice.)

Intern Bridgette found Derrick Dockery and Randy Thomas sitting in the same place not too much later, also filling out their surveys. She figured on a quick video interview about the survey topics, and instead wound up with this latest installment of the ongoing Randy And Doc Show. Since Dockery’s return, the two have been largely inseparable, constantly riffing on whatever topic comes to mind; here, it’s on post-football careers, losing weight, and the ugliest offensive linemen.

Here’s a quick excerpt; the full video is after the jump.

Dockery: “We [he and Chris Samuels] keep in contact at least once a week. He’s doin’ well, working hard. I think he told me he lost about twenty pounds. Do you believe that? Twenty pounds?

Thomas: “Well, he had a lot to lose, though. You know? If I was 350, I could lose thirty pounds in a week. If you’ve got a lot to lose, you can lose it. If he was lean and lose twenty, I’d be like, ‘Damn, that’s good.’ He’s fat.”

Dockery: “Very harsh.”

Thomas: “Well, he ain’t here, so…” Read more »

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Monday, January 26: Cooking With Randy Thomas

Posted by Matt Terl on January 26, 2009 – 11:04 am

I’ve spoken to various Redskins about food before — Thanksgiving turkeys and restaurant reviews, for example — but whenever you get them talking about the best cooks in the locker room, there are three guys who get consistently mentioned: Mike Sellers, who is actually nicknamed “Big Mike Barbecue”; Jason Fabini, who mainly gets discussed for his big night at an Italian restaurant; and Randy Thomas, who just about everyone seems to regard as the all-around best cook on the team.

Even so, I didn’t realize quite how ambitious and accomplished a cook Thomas was until I got him talking on the subject — about how long he’s been cooking, about the legendary assortment of food he rolls out, about how cooking is like football, and even learning an impressive-sounding recipe for lamb chops in the process.

Tell me how you got started cooking.
“Well, it started way back when I used to sit around the kitchen when my mom was cooking. I never was one of those street guys. I was really excited to know what was for dinner, ‘when are we going to the grocery store, can I get in the cart, can I push it’ — and it just started growing, where I would experiment cooking with her. I chopped up a couple vegetable here and there, seasoned a couple meats, drop a couple things in the hot grease.” Read more »

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