- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dale Jr. attends practice

NASCAR driver and longtime Redskins fan Dale Earnhardt Jr. attended yesterday afternoon’s practice. Wearing a white Redskins cap, Earnhardt chatted with owner Dan Snyder during the workout and met coach Joe Gibbs and several players afterward.

“It was fun to come out and see guys practice to get an idea of what it’s like to see them prepare for a game and how it is and isn’t similar to what we do,” Earnhardt said.

Earnhardt said he became a Redskins fan during the team’s 1982 Super Bowl season.

“When I watched John Riggins play that night, it influenced me to be a Redskins fan,” he said. “We didn’t have a football team in North Carolina at the time, but even with the Panthers [in existence] I’ve been a Redskins fan ever since.”

Earnhardt attended last year’s game against Dallas and, during Sunday Nextel Cup races, gets Redskins updates from his pit crew.

“When I don’t win, it ruins my fans’ week. When the Redskins don’t win, it ruins my week,” he said.

A driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc., Earnhardt said the visit with Gibbs did not include any business talk, but he added it would be “awesome” to drive for Gibbs.

“Everything that he’s been associated with has had success,” Earnhardt said.

Said Gibbs: “If I had about $100 million, I could do that. That’s the part he left out.”

Making time for special fans

Quarterback Patrick Ramsey, offensive lineman Lennie Friedman and defensive end Demetric Evans were among the Redskins who met with and signed autographs for a special group of fans on the last day of practice open to the public. These fans were six kids, some in wheelchairs, from the Hospital For Sick Children in the District.

“I’m not going over there saying ‘I’m going to make somebody’s week,’ ” Ramsey said. “I’m going over there to try to reach our fans and to try to make a difference as much as I possibly can. It’s a perk of the job as far as I’m concerned.”

OVERHEARD

“When I was a kid walking through the garage, I would get a glimpse of Joe Gibbs, and it was like seeing Elvis. I was scared to even talk to him.”

— NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

BY THE NUMBERS

3 Training camp practices attended by owner Dan Snyder this season, including yesterday’s afternoon workout.

$900,000

Value, according to the Miami Herald, of a house recently purchased by Redskins safety Sean Taylor.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

The Redskins will not practice today and will fly to Charlotte for tomorrow night’s preseason opener against Carolina.

Ryan O’Halloran and David Elfin

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