- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 3, 2002

Even though he is gone, George Allen remains such a larger-than-life figure that the Pro Football Hall of Fame officials moved today's induction ceremony to Fawcett Stadium across the street from the Hall instead of conducting it on the steps of the building as usual.

George Allen was always breaking traditions and creating new ones.

Actually, the decision by Canton officials had nothing to do with Allen being inducted. They said that because of the growing crowds over the years, they had been considering the move for some time. Also, there are about 1,200 people expected to show up today from nearby Buffalo to watch Jim Kelly enter the Hall as well.

Still, this is the way Allen might have spun it, so that's the way we'll record it today for history. The old way wasn't big enough for George Allen.

There will be stories told today about all of the other inductees Kelly, John Stallworth, Dave Casper and Dan Hampton but I doubt any of them will approach the kind of tales that might be told about Allen. In fact, they could probably spend the entire ceremony entertaining fans with George Allen stories, and it still wouldn't be enough time.

So here are a few memories that Redskins players and officials have told me over the years in case you're not in Canton today or they run out of time to tell all of the tales, which they probably will.

Diron Talbert: "George always got us pumped up. One year when we were playing the Cowboys on Thanksgiving like we always did, we played St. Louis on Sunday and we had to go right back to work on Monday because we played on Thursday. So we didn't get a day off. We came to practice on Monday all beat up. In the meeting that day, George said, 'We're beat up, they're beat up. Here's what I'm going to do. We're going to leave the teams at home. I'm going to walk out on the field, and [Cowboys coach] Tom Landry is going to walk out in the middle of the field, all by ourselves. Then the fight is on, winner take all.' He went through the motions of how he was going to knee him in the groin and chop him up. You never heard 45 men scream and laugh so hard. He said, 'I'll chop him in the groin and knee him in the face.' He used to do stuff like that all the time."

Ron McDole: "We had just moved into Redskin Park [the old one], coming back from camp in Carlisle. They were still working on the place. The grass field had a lot of holes in it. George took us out there, gave us a bunch of tongue depressors and told us to stick one in the ground wherever we found a hole. We were like a bunch of elementary school kids. We were all standing side by side, tight together, and laughing our heads off. We're sticking these things in everywhere, and by the time we were done it looked like there were a million sticks in that field."

Brig Owens: "George Allen made special teams special. He was the one who first hired a special teams coach. He was the first to introduce the special teams on national television. It was on 'Monday Night Football,' and the league went bananas. George said, 'We're going to introduce the special teams. They're doing great things for us, and they deserve to be introduced.' That was George going against the establishment and also showing how proud we were of our special teams. George made the game fun."

Pat Fischer: "George thought he could manage the troublemakers. He brought in Duane Thomas. He didn't really make it, but George would try to coach these guys because he thought the nucleus of older players would be strong enough to influence and enroll these players in the program. His idea was that you come in here and be welcomed. You want to line up with us and go off to war? This is your last chance. You don't have to give up your identity, but you have to be with us. Don't be against us. He did a pretty good job of that."

Charley Casserly: "George was very intense, but he was very creative in his thinking. Whatever we were doing, he was thinking of a different way or a better way to do it. I've never met anyone in my life who was more consumed with winning than George Allen. One time we got beat by the Giants it was our second loss of the year to them and left us at 3-3. The following Monday morning George called the whole organization together coaches, scouts, secretaries, everyone. He walked into the room, and it looked like he hadn't slept all night. He gave everyone a lecture: 'We win together, we lose together. This is the lowest we've ever been, and we're going to find a way to come out of this thing.' He made everyone feel like it was everyone's fault that we lost the game. And when we won, he had a way of making everyone feel like they were a part of the win."

There are coaches who won more games than George Allen, who had a career regular-season record of 116-47-5 over 12 years with the Rams and the Redskins (he was in Washington from 1971 to 1977). But nobody wanted to win more than Allen, and his passion alone qualifies him for a place in Canton.


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