- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 15, 2004

From time to time, people have asked me what the guys on the team do on their days off. We probably do the same things you do on your days off, except that we only have one, and it comes every week on Tuesday.

It’s a day off from practice and organized meetings, but players still lift weights, receive treatment and watch film together. After that, it’s our time to check out what’s happening in the real world. And we’re more than likely have a lot of the same hobbies you do.

Whether it be taking in a movie, hitting the golf course, playing Madden 2004 until your fingers fall off or writing a weekly column, it all adds up to taking advantage of the free time we have.

For example, during the early fall, I would say golf is the predominant hobby of choice for NFL players. There are plenty of nice courses in Northern Virginia. No matter how talented you are, and I’m not, it still feels good to get out there on the course, have a cold one, and relax — even while walking through the weeds trying to find out where your ball went after that wicked slice.

I would have to go with safety Todd Franz or tight end Brian Koslowski as the best golfers on the team. They routinely shoot in the 70s. I’m at the bottom, but I’m slowly working my way up.

It is amazing how much a round of golf can take your mind off football for those couple of hours and energize you for the rest of the week.

There are a couple of guys who claim to be the best bowlers on the team and rightfully so, but Fred Smoot is sold on the fact that he is the best in the Metro area. His major competition is Andre Lott. Andre’s recent trip to the injured reserve list has Smoot taking the crown for the moment. However, his fellow Mississippi State alum, Walt Harris, is rumored to be bowling in the 230s.

Fred swears he is going to be the first two-sport star in recent Redskins history because he plans on using his offseason to take part in the PBA, thus becoming somewhat of a modern-day Bo Jackson.

We have plenty of guys who fish and hunt. It is normal to see one of our guys emerge from the woods behind Redskin Park resembling Rambo after a morning of hunting. Goose Creek here in Virginia is rumored to be full of fish. I haven’t seen them myself, but I heard if you have some talent with a pole, you can reel a couple in.

One of my favorite places to frequent on Tuesdays is Borders or Barnes and Noble. It’s not every day you hear about NFL safeties who like to check out bookstores on their days off, but now you have.

I like to think of hobbies during the season as time well spent, and time earned. Working as hard as we do, you deserve time off, even if it only for a little while.

Ask Matt

Q: How do you cope, emotionally with your injury?

A: I accept the injury. It happened and now I move on and look forward to the next time I’m on the field again.

Q: How do you feel your status is in the coaches’ eyes?

A: Once healthy, I will have to show that I can produce, which you have to do year in and year out, regardless of injury.

Staff writer David Elfin collaborates with Redskins safety Matt Bowen on this column. It appears every Wednesday. If you have any questions for Matt, e-mail them to bowencolumn@aol.com.

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