Wide-eyed pro

His eyes widened as Joe Gibbs approached, a Redskins fan about to meet a childhood hero. He'd already spent the morning watching practice, shaking hands with players as they walked off the field and touring the Redskins Park facility.

Reed Johnson should be used to pro athletes by now. After all, he's one of them. But he plays baseball, for the Toronto Blue Jays. And, despite growing up in California, the Redskins are his passion, a love instilled in him by his father, John, reared in upstate New York.

''I can't really describe it,'' Johnson said of meeting Gibbs, who gave the Blue Jay a copy of his book. ''To see someone like that, it's awesome.''

Here's how big a Redskins fan Johnson is: the Blue Jays arrived in Baltimore around 3 in the morning. At 7 a.m. he, and third-base coach Brian Butterfield, were headed to Ashburn.

''Any time you have a chance to do this, it's definitely worth getting up early for,'' said Johnson, an outfielder.

He and Butterfield watched practice for about 20 minutes. While Butterfield watched how the coaches worked, Johnson watched as a fan.

''I was out there telling Butterfield, 'Man, I'm getting emotional,' '' Johnson said. ''I was pointing fingers and looking around. My neck's going to be sore tomorrow. My head was on a swivel trying to find everybody.''

Johnson watches as many Redskins games as possible and subscribes to the NFL Ticket. He's attended games on the west coast -- he had his picture taken with the Hogettes in Arizona a couple years ago.

That's why, on his day off, he wanted to check out Redskins Park. The visit was set up by a Blue Jays trainer.

''I didn't want to miss an opportunity to come down here,'' he said.


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