The Washington Times - August 24, 2008, 09:30AM

On media day, Ralph Friedgen announced sophomore safety Dominique Herald was suspended for the opener and would not be in camp.

With that in mind, I thought, “That isn’t that bad a deal. Sure, he misses a game and probably will need a couple weeks before returning to the lineup. But no camp? No highrise experience? An extra month at home? There are worse fates.”


Silly, silly me.

Friedgen told reporters yesterday he’d received an e-mail from the Newark, N.J., native telling the coach how much he missed playing football and being with his teammates. And he has good reason to.

“I made him get a job,” Friedgen said. “Better start straightening up and going and doing what he’s supposed to do. He got a job as a garbage man. Better get used to it.”

So Herald’s angst from a couple states away is understandable. It also sent Friedgen into “Ralph the Philosophe” mode, allowing him another opportunity to add to his own version of the Enlightenment.

“Some of these guys, they’ve never worked in their lives,” Friedgen said. “He said ‘You want me to get a job?’ Yeah. If you don’t make it here, you have to get a job, so you might as well work. You never had a job? ‘No.’ Kid lives in the middle of Newark. I went in there and they thought I was some drug dealer or the narcs or something. I’m flabbergasted. Some of these kids have never had a job.”

Fortunately, most Friedgen sermons come with a colorful story. And this was no different —- a tale of working as a roofer on the GM building in Tarrytown, N.Y., facilitated by his cousin John.

“My job was to chip all the tar off the roof,” Friedgen said. “He said ‘It’s a great job, it pays 10 bucks an hour.’ Forty years, 10 bucks an hour was a lot of money. And he said we’re going to be done by 2 o’clock in the afternoon, so we could go work out, we could go party….

“So I get up there and it’s like 5:30 in the morning and John goes over there and he’s a tinsmith. He’s putting up gutters and tapping nails. I’m with the goon squad. I have to chip away this stuff. Typical me, if I’m going to do a job, I’m going to do it right. So I go in and I’m hitting this thing, and these other guys are [tapping it softly]. They’re looking at me like I’m out of my mind. About 6:30, that sun rolled up. About 10 o’clock, I’m done.”

And the lesson?

“It was the worst job of my life,” Friedgen said. “I said ‘If I have to do this, there’s no way I’m not getting a degree.’ I think every kid should have that experience in life, so maybe Dominique’s having that. Maybe he’ll be more motivated when he comes back.”

—- Patrick Stevens