- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 29, 2001

The Redskins are bracing for another brawl Sunday the Dallas Cowboys are in town.
Last season the Cowboys screamed, "This is our house," before playing the Redskins at FedEx Field on "Monday Night Football," then proved it by winning.
Washington has lost eight straight to the Cowboys. But the Redskins could break that skein Sunday at FedEx Field with a much improved team and five consecutive wins in their favor.
The Redskins chafed in training camp when NFL Films released the 2000 video revealing the Cowboys' boast. A pregame fight, started by Cowboys linebacker Darren Hambrick's taunting, has left the Redskins eager to defend their home turf.
"You don't let an opposing team come in and disrespect your house," linebacker LaVar Arrington said. "You take your shoes off when you come in my house. You don't come in my house tracking mud and dirt. I'm from the Steel City, man. We don't play that disrespect stuff coming on the side of the field of the other team, taunting, all that stuff. I think Hambrick just felt like he could do whatever he wanted, say whatever he wanted to say. He was just taunting everybody that went past, basically.
"This is a warrior's sport. You don't just sit there and let somebody taunt your team. There's a code you live by, and that's breaking the code when you disrespect a team."
Holy George Allen! It's like former Washington defensive linemen Diron Talbert and Dexter Manley are ready to take out Dallas quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Danny White once again. What's next Harvey Martin throwing a funeral wreath into Washington's locker room?
The Redskins are bitter. Losing 9-7 on a field goal as time expired Oct. 15 still torments players. It was the last time Washington (5-5) lost. Ironically, it also was the last time Dallas (2-8) won.
"I don't want to think about it," said defensive tackle Kenard Lang "You see it, feel it, taste it all of it."
Only five Redskins remember beating the Cowboys in 1997. Then again, only 21 players recall last season's fight. But offensive tackle Chris Samuels has always hated the Cowboys because his childhood best friend would boast of Dallas' victories. Samuels turns from mild-mannered to mean-spirited when discussing the Cowboys.
"They definitely think they own us," he said. "They're an arrogant bunch, but we have a lot of heart. I think we're going to change that attitude after this game. I like when a guy thinks he owns me so I can go out there and hit him in the mouth."
Maybe what rubs the Redskins the wrong way are those crisp white uniforms, sexy cheerleaders and stadium with a hole in the roof so God can see His so-called favorite team. "America's Team" hasn't won a Super Bowl in six years, but that doesn't stop the Cowboys from strutting. After all, they own this series until the Redskins win.
"It gets under your skin when you've been here as long as I have and continually walk away with a loss," receiver Michael Westbrook said.
Calm down, said Cowboys coach Dave Campo. He doesn't want another pregame fracas like last year.
"Anytime you have a rivalry game, your emotions are going to be high," Campo said, "but we don't want that kind of mentality. We want to play a clean game."
Whatever. The Redskins are tired of losing. Maybe some of the players haven't spent much time in this rivalry, but they've faced the Cowboys while playing elsewhere.
"It seems like whatever you did you couldn't beat them, so when you had the opportunity to win you just got excited," said nine-year NFL guard Ben Coleman. "They were the gauge of the league, and how you played against them said a lot about your team. Everybody was envious of that team."
Redskins quarterback Tony Banks now epitomizes the rivalry. Released by Dallas in August, he smiled when reminded the Cowboys have started four quarterbacks this season. The first meeting was only Banks' third start in Washington, and he admitted pressing too hard despite completing 10 of 18 for 132 yards and one touchdown.
Banks conceded that a loss would hurt the Redskins' momentum. "People will forget about these five wins real quick if we stumble against Dallas," he said.


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