Catching up with: Ken Harvey

Ken Harvey never played in a playoff game, but he became a postseason regular with Washington, making four straight Pro Bowls from 1994-97 in his five seasons here. Now he's the president of the Redskins' Alumni Association and hoping to make a splash as an author--of children's books.

Q: How much do you watch the linebackers?

A: Not as much as I'd like to, but I've seen enough to know that they're going to be the strength of the team.

Q: What do you like about them?

A: There are a lot of linebackers who are one-dimensional, maybe they can rush or cover. But as a group they have the skill. They can cover and run. And the good thing is that they enjoy hitting. They enjoy big plays and they hustle. One of the biggest keys for any linebacker is if everyone hustles, even if you make a mistake, you know the next guy will back you up. It helps you to go all out because you know the next guy will come from behind and finish him off.

Q: What do you think of LaVar?

A: I'd like to say he reminds me of myself, but he can hit. You almost want to say he has a reckless abandon. But it's controlled. To hit the way he hits and not miss takcles . . . some guys go out and let it go, but they miss 80 percent of the tackles. He's consistent making tackles and he finishes the job.

Q: Would you like to have played for Marvin?

A: Yeah. I had my chance, but . . . I think he's a guy who understands players and doesn't get caught up in himself as a coach. He's able to say, 'This guy is good so I'll use him to the best of his ability.' A lot of times you have coaches who want to make names for themselves. Good coaches take the guys they have and use them to the best of their ability.
Q: When is your next children's book coming out?

A: Sept. 20. It's the third in a series of books called Life in the Fridge. The first one that was out is called, When Chocolate Milk Moves In. And the other one is, The Story of the Egg Dish. I enjoy writing them. I enjoy it more when a little kid reads it and I hope that plants a seed. Football ends at one time or another, but if you plant a seed in a person's life, then the hope is that person grows from that seed. That lasts a lifetime and maybe reproduces itself.

Q: It must be nice that any success is based on your talent and not your name?

A: Kids don't care that I played football. It's gratifying because it's not football related, though one of the characters is called Gus.

Q: Does he bang his head?

A: We'll have to wait and see on that one. But the good thing about writing is that no one knows who I am. We did a book show in New York and it's funny. It's like being a rookie all over again. All the big authors had long lines and I had only a few people. No one knew anything about me. No one knew I played football. It's like starting all over again. It's exciting. Now I'm doing it based on if it's a good or not.

''There's a lot of great books out there and great authors and the hardest thing is getting the publicity for it. If you don't get the word out . . .That's where you have to use football. After that you hope it's based on the merit of the book and that it sells itself. Then you can establish your name and say, 'Yeah, this guy is a quality writer and he writes good stuff.' Then hopefully you keep a series going. I wouldn't mind being another Dr. Suess. I'm not shooting for that. What I want is this: the first series of books is about racism and if one kid goes to another kid and says, 'You're my brother, even though you're different, there's nothing wrong with you,' and it's because of the book, then that' s big time. I've got other stuff to work on, some are kid related and I've been writing movie scripts. I'm trying to do one now in Spanish. [Former Redskin] Terry Crews is in Hollywood. He was in the movie Serving Sara and he's liking a dream.


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