Posted by Ryan Wilson
This seems like an appropriately awesome way to ease you into another football-less weekend (and who knows, maybe that will change in the next 48 hours). Either way, enjoy!
Before Ross Tucker was a member of the media, he was an NFL offensive lineman. He played for five teams over eight seasons, but we're guessing the two years he spent with the Redskins were among his most memorable. We make that claim based solely on Ross' recent comments to 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC, where he talked about the three-ring circus otherwise known as the Steve Spurrier era.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder hired Spurrier in 2002, after Marty Schottenheimer's one-and-done 8-8 campaign the season before. In retrospect, that was probably the wrong move.
Spurrier went 7-9 in '02 and 5-11 in '03 before heading back to the SEC and the University of South Carolina. But to hear Ross tell it, Spurrier squeezed more unintentionally hilarious moments into two years than most of us experience in a lifetime. Here, for your amusement, the choicest nuggets from Ross' radio appearance (thanks to the Sports Bog's Dan Steinberg for the transcription).
“Marty [Schottenheimer] was the only guy that literally I think almost all of us would run through a wall for,” Tucker said. “I mean, he could just get the hair on the back of your neck standing up. He was awesome....But then the next year Spurrier comes in and we go to ... training camp and his opening meeting was, ‘You know men, I played 12 years in the NFL and went to 12 of these here training camps and I can’t remember one darn good thing I ever got out of it. But you know what, Mr. Snyder wants us to be here, so let’s try to get something done.’”
Just to reiterate: this is the man Snyder fired Schottenheimer for. This reminds us of another story. In 2002, after Spurrier had resigned from the University of Florida but before he was hired by the 'Skins, here's what he said during his farewell Florida press conference about then-Saints coach Jim Haslett: "I saw a story saying Jim Haslett comes in at 4:30 every morning - that's not doing him much good." (The Saints were 7-9 in 2001, the same record Spurrier had in his first year in Washington.)
The Redskins went 4-1 during the 2002 preseason largely because they played their starters longer than their opponents. During Week 3 of the preseason, Washington defeated Pittsburgh 35-34 to go to 3-0. Ross says that at the time "I was like, wow, we’re awesome, I’m awesome, life is awesome, this is fantastic. And then I realized wait a minute, we actually only have two pass protections, and the Steelers are laughing at us because they say they know what our protection is, and Shane Matthews and Danny [Wuerffel] are getting blown up, and our poor running back, there’s no hot reads, there’s no sight adjusts."
The Redskins released Ross midway through the 2002 season and he was picked up on waivers by the Cowboys. "So I went into Redskins Park to get my bag and all my stuff," Ross begins, "and [Spurrier] looks at me and he says Cowboys, huh? And I’m like yup. And he’s like, well, don’t be telling ‘em any of my secrets. I’m sitting there thinking number one, dude, your secrets are pathetic, and number 2, as soon as I get there tomorrow, I’m actually going to tell them every single thing I can remember about your pathetic offense.”
We lived in Washington, DC during those heady times with the ol' ball coach and we distinctly remember the clown-college atmosphere Tucker describes. We just had no idea how bad it was. Upside: it makes for a great story nine years later. So there's that.
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