Push aside how the good-natured graduate of Clifton’s Centreville High walked onto Virginia Tech’s football team as a defensive tackle, then earned a scholarship and All-ACC honors on the offensive line.
No, this football story starts on the golf course. Then, perhaps, you can glimpse the competitiveness that helped the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Montgomery transform the Redskins‘ offensive line one of the team’s quiet strengths going into Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
During the lockout, Lichtensteiger, who can also play center, and Montgomery worked out together four days each week. The rest of the time they toured local golf courses. Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club in Leesburg was a favorite. Montgomery, who shoots in the low-90s with long drives that can find their way into the woods, won every matchup.
“Maybe the golf game helped out,” Montgomery joked.
He’s talking about plugging the Redskins‘ hole at center after 11-year veteran Casey Rabach was released in July. Since the Carolina Panthers used a seventh-round pick on Montgomery in 2006, he bounced around the NFL as a backup and part-time starter.
Last season, Montgomery started six of the Redskins‘ last seven games. Five starts came at right guard. Coach Mike Shanahan thought Montgomery was a natural center or guard. Now the game has slowed down for him. The snaps and different stance and calls at center are more familiar. He’s relaxed. It almost feels like college.
“It seemed like he’s been doing it for a long time,” guard Chris Chester said.
But we’re straying too far from the golf course.
“Will Montgomery!” Armstrong bellowed.
“See,” Lichtensteiger said, “there was no setup there.”
“I would rather play a beginner golfer,” Armstrong said, getting into it, “than golf with Will Montgomery.”
Lichtensteiger, who usually scores in the high-90s, recited Montgomery’s on-course shenanigans. Intentionally casting his shadow over the cup when another person is putting. Standing two feet from the hole in Virginia Tech-logoed golf shoes and tucked-in polo shirt and wriggling his body when the opponent needs to sink a short putt.
Back in the locker room, Lichtensteiger, standing 6-foot-2 and 292 pounds, demonstrated the wriggle.
“There’s no golf etiquette with that guy,” he said.
But there is Montgomery’s day job at center, no branch-heaving required.
Rich Campbell contributed.