Snyder was easy to read

I didn't know Gerald Snyder. Never really talked to him. But I saw him a lot and learned about him just by watching him. He turned out to have been a striking contrast to his son. Snyder died Friday after battling heart problems dating back to last training camp when he was first hospitalized. He was a minority owner with his son, Daniel.

Say what you want about Dan Snyder, but he loved having his dad around. He's the one who built his son's love affair with the Redskins, culminating in him buying the team.

He's the one who Dan seemed to love having around Redskin Park. It was almost like Dan had bought his dad a gift in the Redskins. What a feeling that was for his dad--and Dan. How many sons would love to buy a football team that he grew up rooting for with his dad, then have his dad share a role in running it, however minor.

A lot can be and has been said about Dan Snyder compared to his dad. One respected veteran once said about the two, ''The apple fell far from the tree on that one.'' But his dad must have passed on some business smarts and marketing skills to his son. And in a time of grief, it's wrong to focus on any negatives.

Clearly, Dan Snyder must have inherited his sense of family from his parents, too. They were always around and his parents softened their son's edge.

Gerald Snyder seemed like a good guy. He constantly smiled at everyone, looking every bit like a gentleman, and always stayed in the background. Indeed, he was a fan at practice, watching the players and chatting with them casually afterward. Always wearing a coat and tie, but never looking, or acting, uppity. Or beyond approach.

He'd say hello to reporters, never feeling like he was somehow above any of them. Mainly because he was one of them a long time ago, working for United Press International.

The players liked him, at least those who dealt with him and he was good to them, hosting the team holiday party last year.

Gerald Snyder was very proud of his son. He was very proud to be associated with the Redskins. He never told me this. But it was easy to tell.

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