Having been told by New England that he was no longer starter material, it would've been understandable for Christian Fauria to retire. He had two Super Bowl rings and 11 seasons in the books, his 35th birthday was approaching and uprooting his wife and four children from Massachusetts didn't seen palatable.
But any thoughts of retirement vanished when the Redskins called as soon as the free agent signing period began.
"I wasn't really looking to go somewhere else, but when the Redskins called me on the first day of free agency I knew they were serious," Fauria said. "I was like, 'Well, Geez. Let me go check it out.' "
Less than 48 hours later, Fauria had signed a two-year, $2 million contract with Washington, for whom he's slated to replace the underwhelming Robert Royal, now with Buffalo, as the Redskins' top blocking tight end.
"We signed Christian for his experience," tight ends coach Rennie Simmons said. "Christian was a very dominant blocker when he came out of Colorado (in 1995) and he still does a very consistent job. He's a little more physical than Robert."
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Fauria is just starting to show the Redskins how physical he can be. He missed the first two weeks of May's organized team activities after undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee, a longstanding condition that worsened when he began the offseason workouts at Redskin Park on Mar. 27.
Not that Fauria, who picked up first downs on 16 of his 24 catches the past two seasons, is concerned about his aging body.
"I can't run the way I did when I was 24, but I've missed one game the last nine years," Fauria said. "There's no way that I shouldn't be as good as I was the past four years in New England. Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world, but he's always working on his swing because he believes it can get better. That's how I feel. This can't be as good as it gets. I like to think that my best years are in front of me."
With starter Chris Cooley already a top target and fullback Mike Sellers having been a touchdown machine last year, it's hard to see Fauria reaching the 29 catches he averaged from 1998-2003 with Seattle and New England. That's fine with Fauria as long as the Redskins win the way the Patriots did during his tenure.
"I don't think things were stale in New England, but coming to a new team definitely recharges your batteries," Fauria said. "Signing with the Redskins was definitely a good decision. I told my wife that coming to the nation's capital is like a mini-adventure."