The Washington Times - December 24, 2008, 02:18PM

There are only a handful of guys who are always happy to come into the interview room in Maryland’s football team house.

Dean Muhtadi is one of them.

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I wrote a bit about the senior in this morning’s dead-tree edition to begin the build-up (a poor word choice, I know) for next week’s Humanitarian Bowl. And one story that just didn’t fit in pretty much tells the tale with Muhtadi.

As he approached the room and saw some reporters standing outside waiting for him, he smiled broadly and said “This must be because I’m such a handsome guy.”

When someone (not a reporter) mumbled, “I don’t know about that,” Muhtadi didn’t flinch.

“You’re right,” he beamed. “Exquisite is a much better word.”

That’s Muhtadi in a nutshell.

Anyway, two other nuggets to reflect his welcoming personality…

*When we chatted a couple weeks ago, he was starting to look like he was growing an NHL-style playoff beard. Muhtadi liked the idea of doing so, but had some reservations.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m kind of paranoid to do so because I’m in the masters program in the business school. I can’t be looking like a bum. But I’ve been in there long enough that I think I can get away with it.

“Maybe I’ll look older or something. Everybody in the program is like 35. I’m 22. I need to catch up. They all have kids and wives and stuff.”

* Maryland had just lost defensive coordinator Chris Cosh and special teams coordinator Danny Pearman a week earlier, and Muhtadi found out about the Cosh departure in an instant message from a teammate.

But it didn’t take him long to find a connection between the two: Linebacker Alex Schultz, whose position coach was Cosh and who also played on special teams.

“I said ‘You drove them both out of here,’” Muhtadi cackled. “‘What did you do?’”

Patrick Stevens