In Their Words: Walter Rasby

Redskins right guard Ben Coleman is adamant when it comes to tight end Walter Rasby. If there's a better blocking tight end, Coleman says, show him. Whether or not there is doesn't matter. The Redskins believe they have one of the best. And that's just great with Walter Rasby. Getting a game ball for his blocking, as he did after Seattle, means the world to him. And it's why he's accepted life as a blocker.

''I started to accept my role as a blocker when I was in college at Wake Forest. I played behind a guy who was first team all-ACC for three years and I realized that the only way to get on the field was to do something he wasn't doing and that was to block. He'd split out and catch a lot of balls. I was like, 'I'll concentrate here.' I just want to get on the field. I'm a competitor.

''I hate to sit on the sidelines and watch other people paly. I feel like I'm not a contributor. I concentrated on blocking and luckily it worked out for me and as far as accepting my role being a blocker and not a pass catcher, I've never accepted that I can't catch the balls. I can catch balls.

''If I can make a good catch and move the chains or make a touchdown, that's just as pleasing as if I was making a block.

''Everyone always wants a bigger passing role. Those are the people who get the glory from outside the locker room. But my peers and teammates konw what I do and they appreciate it and that's the thing that matters most. I could care less if I get a lot of accolades. I'm eight years into my career, what do I care about that. Anything I can do that will give my team a better chance to win. If that's me becoming a bigger threat in the passing game or me holding the blocking down, that's what I'll do. When I came here my main focus was to do everything I could to improve the running game. When you have the luxury of having a tight end on the field who's not a blocking liability, it helps the offense open up.

''The money and attention goes along with the guys catching passes. Those are the ones talking to the media all the time. Those are the ones everyone knows. You can go look at the stats and see, 'OK, he had a productive year. He caught 35-40 balls.' But his team's running game might be the pits because he can't block worth a damn.

''I just want to win and in this game you win by defeating the guy across from you. The more times I can finish up with my man on the ground, whether it's a cut block or throwing him on the ground or a pancake block, then the more I'll win the mental battle.

''When we're watching film, it's great for me just to hear a receiver who really doesn't have to pay attention to the line, say, 'Damn, Ras, that's a good block.' Sometimes my quarterback will say, 'I hear you, Ras. I see you.' Just little comments like that. It's just something that jumps out to them on film. The last couple of weeks Marty keeps saying I've been doing a great job blocking or whatever, some of the best he's seen in a while. I try to keep it even when it comes to comments like that. I'm glad my boss acknowledges my hard work. I'm glad for his praise and comments. At the same time I can't start believing my [s---] doesn't stink. When you start believing that, that's when it goes downhill.

''I take pride in my blocking. That's the label I've been slapped with for eight eyars. There are worse labels to have. If that's the label you give me, I might as well work it to my advantage.

''The thing about James Jenkins when he was here for 10 years, the offenses he was in were hog-snorting offenses. They needed a tight end like that. With the back we have, we need a strong tight end like myself. Ten years is nothing to sneeze at. That cat was here for 10 years doing the same thing and taking the same criticism every year: Why don't you catch more balls? Why don't they throw more balls at you? You're just a blocking tight end. I've been hearing the same thing my whole career. People say it's my fourth team. Yeah, but I spent three years apiece with almost all my teams. The first year I didn't get drafted so I spent one year in Pittsburgh, then three in Carolina and three more in Detroit and I signed a three-year deal here. People can say what they want to but I'm a professional and I take pride in what I'm asked to do. I get just as pissed if I don't get a block as if I miss a ball.''

John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly. Check out his game coverage on the morning after the game.

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