- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2002

CARLISLE, Pa. Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. suddenly remembered why he retired from football 16 years ago. After tasting the turf when he fell during sprints with the Washington Redskins yesterday, Watts exited Biddle Field in a cart.
"I hope [Redskins owner Dan] Snyder has a good attorney," Watts said jokingly. "Did you see the big hole I fell in out there?"
The Republican congressman strained his right hamstring while running alongside cornerbacks. Watts jogs 20 miles weekly, but the adrenalin kicked in as he tried to stay close to the team's fastest players.
"The stupidity kicked in," Watts said. "I should have run with the linemen."
Watts was a two-time Orange Bowl Most Valuable Player at Oklahoma when his team won the 1979 and '80 Big Eight championships. The Sooners quarterback later started for Ottawa and Toronto in the Canadian Football League from 1981 to '86 and was the 1982 Grey Cup MVP.
Watts hadn't thrown a football in nearly four years, but decided to accept Snyder's offer to practice with the team before he left Congress in January. The four-term congressman didn't seek re-election because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Watts didn't bring his five children to see "just pure stupidity" yesterday. Still, Watts isn't afraid of risking his pride. He once sang "My Girl" onstage with the Temptations.
"I believe in doing new things and having fun," Watts said. "I'm not in my right mind. I can't believe I once practiced twice a day in this kind of heat. To voluntarily come out is pretty crazy."
It was a short workout. He threw only a few passes to receivers during drills before he fell at the end of practice. Donning team shorts and T-shirt, Watts rifled crisp, short passes. Receiver Darnerien McCants hauled down the first of three completions before the final two tosses were dropped.
Watts spent much of practice on the sideline talking to vice president of football operations Joe Mendes. Although Watts is looking for a new job, he said the conversation with Mendes wasn't about a contract.
"For the money they're paying third-teamers these days, I'd watch film and take care of the quarterbacks," he said.
Watts better stretch next time, though.

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