Redskins Welcomed Home

Though they never left town, the Redskins nonetheless were the main attraction at the 42nd annual Welcome Home Luncheon. Ex-Redskins Gary Clark provided his insight while presenting the Offensive Player of the Year Award. And linebacker LaVar Arrington made another fan's day, just by meeting him. Find out why.

. . Gary Clark was supposed to just hand out the Offensive Player of the Year award to receiver Rod Gardner. But Clark also handed out comparisons to his former teams, which won a few Super Bowls.

''What I see in Rod, it's like a wink in his eye,'' Clark told the crowd at the Reston Hyatt. ''I see it in the whole team, like they know something we don't. I know that feeling: We had it in 1991. It's like they're ready to explode. They are going to, quite frankly, kick some a-- this year.''

Gardner and Arrington agreed.

''Just stick by us this year,'' Gardner said. ''The end will be sweet when we win the Super Bowl.''

''There are going to be some good times ahead,'' Arrington said. ''I hope I'm standing in front of you next year with a Super Bowl trophy.''

. . . Ex-linebacker Sam Huff recalled two stories involving Arrington. First, he remembered being led into the Redskins' draft room by Gerald Snyder, the owner's father, on draft day when they selected him.

''That's the linebacker we need on this team,'' Huff said.

And he also can easily point out the biggest hit by a linebacker in his long association with Washington. It was Arrington's hit on Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman three years ago, giving him a concussion and effectively ending his career.

''I saw him roll out to the right and he should have thrown the football away,'' Huff said. ''And he didn't and I said, 'Good night!' Troy Aikman is now a broadcaster after that hit.

''But let that be a lesson to you, Patrick [Ramsey]. Throw that damn ball away or you'll be broadcasting.''

. . .One fan, David Wilson, flew in from Tulsa, OK to attend the luncheon. Here's all we know about him: he's an ex-Navy Seal who has won two Purple Hearts and is stricken with a disease. His wish was to meet Arrington and he did. Good for him.

. . . NBC's George Michael, the host of the show, talked for a minute about Gerald Snyder, who died this past spring and is the reason for the patches on the Redskins' jerseys. The owner's father was truly a nice guy who was pleasant to seemingly everyone he encountered. He was liked, and respected, by the players.

. . . Clark praised Redskins coach Steve Spurrier, saying there's no doubt in his mind the Ball Coach will succeed.

To which Spurrier later told Clark, ''Gary, I need to carry you around with me every time I speak.''

Spurrier also cracked up the crowd with this line about owner Dan Snyder: ''Instead of changing coaches, he felt we needed to get new players.''

. . . Whether or not Spurrier ever wins big as an NFL coach, I can always say this about him: he's an honest and decent guy. I can't say we've caught him fibbing about anything, unlike some previous coaches here. (One writer claimed that Schottenheimer was German for liar). And Spurrier believes you play by the rules, whether it's golf, recruiting or football. It's hard not to like that sentiment.

. . . And give his wife credit for helping the coaching staff to mesh, which also is important. She organizes weekly gatherings with the coaches and their families, something she did at Florida. The Spurrier's will soon celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary.

. . . Three prizes were auctioned off: Two tickets to the Jets' game, plus a chance to be on the field in pre-game and have your child retrieve the kicking tee after the opening kickoff, went for $1,500.

For $2,000, one person bought two tickets for game at Philadelphia--as well as the train ride with the team there and back.

For $2,700, two fans each bought two tickets to this season's Super Bowl in Houston.


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