- The Washington Times - Friday, August 24, 2001

Washington Redskins center Cory Raymer is a throwback to maverick players who ate corn flakes with beer. In fact, it happened last month when a storm nixed a day of deep sea fishing.
"You can either go back to bed or go on with the festivities, and we went to the latter," he said.
Raymer would have made a good Hog. He's a self-effacing Midwesterner who loves sausage, beer, fishing and hunting. Pizza delivery men came so often during Raymer's 1995 rookie season that they let themselves into the kitchen and sometimes joined him for dinner. Maybe drank a beer, too. Pizza boxes were stacked taller than Raymer and then-roommate Brian Thure.
Raymer sometimes lost 10 pounds during a training camp practice as the team ended the twice-daily workouts on Wednesday. You can guess which fluids were used for replenishment Old Milwaukee is more than his childhood home.
If seven-figure contracts have turned many ballplayers into businessmen, Raymer remains a holdout. He's a lunch-pail player who knows centers are rarely mentioned, much less appreciated.
However, Raymer has overcome too many injuries to quietly leave the game. Knee and back woes ended his 1996 season, the result of a car accident as he returned from an off-day fishing trip. Raymer only remembers lying on the country road feeling disgusted that the day's catch was scattered across the pavement for raccoons to eat, rather than being worried for his own safety.
But that was a modest setback compared to missing last season after he tore a knee ligament during training camp. It was the first of many injuries that caused the Redskins expected to contend for the Super Bowl to finish 8-8.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer immediately plugged Raymer into the starting lineup, even after a year's absence. (Schottenheimer recently said backup center Mark Fischer was contending for the job, but the coach says that about everyone.)
"Cory's a battler. He's not a great athlete, but good enough," Schottenheimer said. "He has quickness. I'm very comfortable with him."
Raymer and Fischer are good friends. Always have been. Unlike most positions, where several players have different roles, there's only one center, and he doesn't come out, barring injury. That makes it a more personal competition but not a personal rivalry.
"Mark and I have always known the difference," Raymer said. "We've helped each other through the years."
Said Fischer: "Cory is a friend. He's a good center. If I do end up backing him up, it's not like I'm backing up somebody [who's better than me]."
Each is respectful of the other's position. Raymer wants his job back because he lost it through injury, not poor play. Fischer seeks to continue after filling in respectably last year.
"I got that feeling that other people thought [Raymer automatically started] and you realize Cory is no slouch, but it eats at you when people are assuming that," Fischer said. "It's hard [to sit]. When you get one year, you want two and three."
Said Raymer: "It's not a job you just give right back to a guy coming off a whole year, so I knew something was coming on."
Raymer and receiver Michael Westbrook are tied for second on the team in seniority behind 19-year veteran cornerback Darrell Green. Raymer and Westbrook also are in the final year of their contracts. That means they either play well or join the growing list of former Redskins. Raymer said the offseason coaching turnover and release of guards Tre Johnson and Keith Sims was upsetting.
"When you start telling stories and look around and you're the only one laughing because nobody knows what or who you're talking about, that makes you realize you've been here awhile," Raymer said. "I've seen some good friends come and go. We were used to coming to work every day and seeing the same people, but when that ends it's hard to get used to it. But then it's back to the same old thing."


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