Behind Enemy Lines: Byron Leftwich

Considering Byron Leftwich grew up as a diehard Redskins fan, it's hard to call him the enemy.


Q: You're coming home, is this a special time?
A: For me it's more special because I did grow up there and it gives an opportunity for a lot of people who haven't seen me play in person since high school to see me. It's a special time anytime you play at home.

Q: How many tickets did you have to buy?
A: A whole lot – and Redskins tickets are not cheap. I got about 90-95.

Q: Were you a Skins fan growing up?
A: I was a diehard Redskins fan growing up.

Q: Who was your favorite player?
A: Whoever played good that week. Sometimes it was Mark Rypien, or Darrell Green. It was Earnest Byner. It was Doug Williams. It was everybody, man. We used to play a game right after Redskins games went off and I tried to do things like whoever played good that week.

Q: Did you even boo the QB sometimes?
A: I booed everybody man. I was a true fan. I got the chance to tell Joe [Theismann] when I saw him here for the Monday night game, that I remembered when he had his leg broken and the next play Jay Schroeder threw a ball 70 yards down the field and overthrew the guy by like 30 yards.

Q: Did you ever see them in person?
A: Yeah, when I was younger I used to sneak into RFK.

Q: How did you do that?
A: I knew a guy who took the tickets. He said if you walk up and run, I can't chase you. He couldn't leave the line to go chase after us. Me and whoever I was with would run through. I'd always go through his line and just run. Then we'd sit in people's seats until someone came and got their seat and we'd walk around and stand up and watch the game.

Q: Do you have any other moments?
A: So many moments. Me and my brother used to cry when the Redskins lost, especially my brother [who is 5 years older]. And if we were down two and had to kick a field goal to win the game, we would always cut the TV off.

Q: Was it difficult to replace Mark?
A: I believe so. Mark is the only quarterback they had known since the franchise started. They had been through 14-2 seasons and have been through the highs of highs and lows of lows. He deserves for the fans to love him and the city to still love him. That doesn't mean they don't love me, too. It took time for them to get used to me because they were so used to Mark being the quarterback.

Q: Did Mark say anything that stuck with you?
A: It wasn't the actual words he said, it was the stuff I had a chance to observe him do. I'm a guy who likes to see what you do. When Chad was the QB [at Marshall], I watched what he did and learned from that. It was the way Mark carries himself and the things he did to prepare himself every week, the way he took care of his body and on how to be a pro.

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