Lunch with the Redskins

They once termed this Redskins weather, allowing the Hogs to slop around in the mud. Today it was the fans who trudged through the mud at the Welcome Home Luncheon Barbecue. And they couldn't have been happier. Who did they respond loudest for? And what did Steve Spurrier, noted master of such occasions, have to say?

Turns out Spurrier was upstaged by ex-Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey, who issued the line of the day under the tent, ''I'd rather be here than inside a five-star hotel cheering for the Dallas Cowboys.''

Spurrier once used such luncheons to lob verbal grenades at opposing schools. A booster club luncheon is where he dubbed Florida State as Free Shoes university. But he issued no zingers today and his speech was one of the driest things on this wet day.

''I want to say how fortunate I feel to be head coach of one of the best teams in all of pro sports,'' Spurrier told the crowd of approximately 500. ''I realize we have a long road and we're just getting to the beginning of a long journey. Hopefully we'll also have three playoff games. . . . I'm looking forward to playing at FedEx Field. I want it to be the loudest field in the NFL. The fans can help us win some games this year. And I'm really looking forward to the Arizona game and playing the best we can for all you fans.''

Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen received the Offensive Player of the Year Award from the Alumni Association. Linebacker LaVar Arrington was the Defensive Player of the Year.

They showed highlight tapes of both, prompting Jansen to crack, ''I didn't really know I had any highlights.''

When some in the crowd chanted four more years, Jansen, a likely free agent, said, ''I'm not the one you've gotta ask.'' Later he said, ''It would be nice.''

Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff introduced Arrington, but first had a message for the crowd, many of whom chatted during Jansen's speech.

''Sit down and shut up!'' Huff said as only a linebacker could. ''You're making a lot of noise for some special people.''

As for Arrington, Huff said, ''He's one of the greatest linebackers I've ever seen and that you will ever see play this game. . . Here's the man who retired Aikman in Dallas and who almost retired Kordell Stewart the other night.''

Arrington said, ''We're trying to bring back the Washington Redskin tradition. Stay tuned.''

Corner Darrell Green received an honorary award for his 20 seasons, with the fans giving him a standing ovation.

''This is the year with Coach Spurrier in town to bring you the type of energy at FedEx that they had at Griffith Stadium and at RFK,'' Green said. ''I'm completely blessed to be here. I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you. Go Redskins.''

Even receptionist B.J. Blanchard was honored for her 10 years answering phones and taking care of the players, serving as a mom to many and sister to others. She's the Radar O'Reilly of the Redskins.

Finally, three items were auctioned off: two tickets to the Monday night game against the Eagles, which included pre-game field passes ($800); a train ride to New York with the team, two tickets to the game and an on-field pregame pass ($5,500) and two sets of Super Bowl tickets ($5,000 apiece). The money went to the Redskins Leadership Council.


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories