- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2002

The Washington Redskins weren't about to let Darrell Green's career end with yet another loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Giving their star cornerback of the past 20 years a memorable retirement present, the Redskins snapped a 10-game losing streak to their NFC East rivals, emerging from a sloppy game at FedEx Field with a season-ending 20-14 victory.
Steve Spurrier can only hope that the win, which came as the Redskins ushered out the last remaining link to their seasons of Super Bowl glory, represented the first step toward ushering in a new era of success in Washington.
Playing with no playoff berth in their future for the ninth time in 10 years, the Redskins ended a losing streak that dated to November 1997. It was, if nothing else, a satisfying conclusion to a frustrating 7-9 season, though Spurrier clearly has loftier goals in mind for the future.
"It's hard for me to get excited about beating a 5 and 11 team," said Spurrier, who finished his first year as an NFL coach. "I know they've beaten us a lot, don't get me wrong. But they're still a 5 and 11 team three years in a row. Sometimes I think maybe we give Dallas too much credit. We think they're too good."
The Redskins have had good reason to believe the Cowboys were far better than their recent records would indicate. Entering yesterday's game, Washington had lost 10 straight to its NFC East rivals, a run of futility that stretched back five seasons.
But if ever the Redskins were going to feel good about their chances against Dallas, it was yesterday, with the Cowboys distracted by rumors that coach Dave Campo would be fired after the season and by running back Emmitt Smith's likely departure.
Campo fueled the fire earlier in the week, saying, "If the Redskins don't beat us this weekend, they may never beat the Cowboys [again] in the history of football."
It took four Cowboys turnovers and more than a few poorly executed plays that at times turned comical, but the streak did end.
"This win is big," tackle Chris Samuels said. "Even though we didn't make it to the playoffs and win the Super Bowl, this is still a big win for us."
With the victory, their second in a row after four straight losses, the Redskins also avoided the ignominy of a winless record in division play for the first time since 1994.
Perhaps more important to those in uniform yesterday, the win ensured that Green would end his career in style.
It was an emotional day for the man who spent more time in a Redskins uniform than any other player in franchise history. Green, 42, who nearly retired last season but chose to come back for one more run, was the center of attention all afternoon, from his pre-game speech to the sellout crowd to the unveiling of his name in the Redskins' Ring of Fame to his 30-minute victory lap around the stadium once the game had ended.
"It's been a great ride," Green told the crowd. "I know I'm not going to be able to thank everyone. But the obvious thing is, there's no way I could be who I am without you."
Green, the last remaining link to Washington's 1987 and 1991 Super Bowl champion teams, even got a chance to display the explosive speed that made him a perennial winner of the NFL's "fastest man" competition. On a second-quarter Dallas punt, Green took a hand-off from regular return man Champ Bailey, raced down the sideline and leapfrogged a Cowboys defender on his way to a 35-yard gain.
"To get Darrell the ball is something," Bailey said. "I just wish he could've scored, because that would've made it that much more memorable."
In the end, Green and the Redskins settled for the simple pleasures of a victory over their archrivals.
"I wish we could've gotten into the playoffs," Bailey said. "But to beat Dallas and give a victory to our fans and the city is wonderful."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide