TOUGH VISIT

They knew it would be tough and it was. Yet a group of Redskins made the visit anyway, dropping by burn victims from the Pentagon plane crash on Tuesday.

They entered nervously. They left heartbroken. But they made the trip. Walter Rasby, Jeff George and Shawn Barber joined Chris Samuels. For Samuels, it was particularly tough.

Samuels is easily one of the classiest players on the Redskins. He's humble, hard-working and polite and sensitive. Which is why it was so hard to visit the victims. Before he left, he talked to his minister about whether or not he should make the trip. And how to handle it.

His minister's response: Do what you can to help. So Samuels went. All the players saw things that probably will stay with them for a long time. These are victims who can't even talk--even the ones who were in the so-called best shape. Of course, they really weren't in good shape at all.

But the visit buoyed spirits, for the victims and their families. Just like the Redskins visit to the Pentagon on Sunday. Many of the players wondered if their presence would help. They wondered if they were out of place. They weren't. After 30 minutes of awkwardness, the players and rescue workers mingled. Fred Smoot even tossed a ball with some of the workers. Others signed autographs.

However, that trip was easy compared to what Samuels and his teammates saw Tuesday. Which is why, when Samuels returned to Redskin Park, it was clear he had done one thing on the trip home: cry.

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories