- The Washington Times - Monday, October 28, 2002

There are only five safeties in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and two of them were at FedEx Field last night. Paul Krause played the first four (1964-1967) of his 16 seasons in Washington and Ken Houston the final eight (1973-1980) of his 14.
Houston, Krause, fellow Hall of Famers Bill Dudley, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor and more than 40 other Redskins heroes were on hand as the franchise celebrated its 70th anniversary by honoring its 70 greatest players and coaches.
"This has been a great weekend," said the 57-year-old Houston, a youth counselor in Houston, at a pregame dinner for the honorees. "It's almost like a homecoming for me because my whole secondary [himself, safety Brig Owens and cornerbacks Pat Fischer and Mike Bass] is here. I know we're all aging, but it's like we're all here eating a pregame meal."
Houston had been a Pro Bowl player with the Houston Oilers, but he was still nervous about joining the defending NFC champion Redskins in 1973.
"There wasn't any player in the league who didn't want to play for [Hall of Fame coach] George Allen, but there was a lot of pressure on me to break into that close-knit group they had with the Over the Hill Gang. And getting traded for [five players] was also pressure because you're trying to replace all of their friends in the locker room."
But Houston wasted no time proving his worth. On the final play of just his fourth game as a Redskin, Houston hog-collared Dallas fullback Walt Garrison at the goal line to preserve a Washington victory on a Monday night. It remains the most famous tackle in Redskins history.
"That was the best thing that happened to me," Houston said. "It brought me almost immediate acceptance and coming on 'Monday Night Football' made it even bigger."
Of the trade for Houston ended up being lopsided in Washington's favor, the deal that sent Krause to Minnesota in 1968 for linebacker Marlin McKeever was the opposite. Krause, a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Redskins, was honored six more times as a Viking and also started four Super Bowls.
"Our defensive coach, Ed Hughes, didn't like the [ballhawking] way I played and he wanted me to play more like a strong safety," said the 60-year-old Krause, a real estate developer and county commissioner in suburban Minneapolis. His 81 interceptions are still the NFL record. "That's not the type of player I was. You've got to put a player in a position to flourish. But being back here with the guys I played with in Washington is great."
Washington picked Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor in the first round of the 1964 draft and Krause in the second. Seven rounds later, the Redskins took a center from Georgia. Len Hauss broke into the lineup in his fourth game and didn't come out again until he retired after the 1977 season, a team-record 192 starts later.
"I'm proud of that," said Hauss, a 60-year-old bank vice-president in Reidsville, Ga. "There were a lot of games when I didn't feel like playing, but I did. Probably the worst was when I broke my right thumb and had to resort to two-handed snapping and then the following week, I broke my left thumb. I wore a cast on both hands for three weeks, but I never came out of the lineup."
Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh, Washington's first draft pick and its quarterback for two titles (1937 and 1942) and 16 seasons, didn't attend because he rarely leaves his Rotan, Texas, ranch and refuses to fly. Even in absentia, the 88-year-old Baugh was remembered as the franchise's best player.
Even Jurgensen, a spectacular passer himself, agrees. After all, Baugh was all-NFL six times, led the league in passing, punting and interceptions in 1943.
"Hands down, Sammy's the greatest Redskin," said Al Demao, a Redskins center/linebacker from 1945 to 1953. "He could do it all. He could even punt 70 yards."
Baugh was his idol when Hall of Fame running back Dudley played at Virginia, so rooming with him was a thrill even for Dudley, an eight-year NFL veteran, before he became a Redskin in 1950. But one night Dudley told his role model he had him figured.
"Sammy said, 'You [so-and-so], I never got a quick kick over your head,'" Dudley recalled. "I said, 'You tipped it off. You would line up a little bit differently, and I knew you would quick kick it.' I was always looking for any kind of edge I could get."
Despite his "Bullet Bill" nickname, Dudley said he was never that fast, noting that he finished 13th among 14 running backs in a dash before a 1942 college all-star game.
The debate over the greatest Redskin extended to Taylor, who retired in 1977 with an NFL-leading 649 catches. Mitchell believes his old teammate was the best, but Taylor thought it was Mitchell, who endured much racism as the team's first black player in 1962.
"Bobby is the greatest," Taylor said. "He had to put up with more stuff than I did."
Quarterback Doug Williams was still among the more popular players among autograph seekers. Nearly 15 years since he was the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl XXII victory over Denver, Williams said he'll never forget the throng that lined Constitution Avenue.
"I look at that picture now of that parade going down the street and all the people out there, and it's one of the greatest moments of my life," he said.
Samuels out
Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels was declared inactive because of his sprained left ankle, leaving Alex Sulfsted to make his first career start.
It was the first game missed by Samuels, who had started 38 games for the Redskins since they drafted him with the third overall pick in 2000. He hurt his ankle Oct.20 at Green Bay, aggravating a sprain he had suffered during the preseason.
Samuels also endured a shoulder stinger at Green Bay, but that injury had mostly healed by the end of the week. However, his ankle remained too tender for him to push off it effectively. Coach Steve Spurrier called Samuels "extremely doubtful" Thursday, but line coach Kim Helton wanted to wait until yesterday to make a final decision.
"He can't play," Helton said before the game. "You always try to give a guy as much time as you can give him."
It has been a rough season for Samuels, who was a Pro Bowl starter in 2001. He has battled thigh and groin injuries in addition to his ankle, and he gave up two sacks in a Sept.22 game at San Francisco and two more in the Oct.13 contest against New Orleans.
Also absent on the line last night was right guard Brenden Stai, who missed a second straight game because of tendinitis in his left knee. Wilbert Brown again filled in for Stai, but newly signed Tre Johnson saw time at right guard as well.
Lockett inactive
Wide receiver Kevin Lockett was demoted to inactive just two weeks after starting against New Orleans.
Lockett was a victim of coach Steve Spurrier's desire to get second-year wideout Darnerien McCants some snaps. Lockett had caught just three passes the previous two games, and he committed a critical fumble Oct.20 at Green Bay.
In addition, tight end Zeron Flemister was demoted to inactive, and rookie Leonard Stephens played. Flemister was the No.1 tight end in Weeks 1 through 3 while veteran Walter Rasby was injured, but Flemister did not have a catch the past two weeks.
The Redskins' other inactives were linebacker Antonio Pierce and defensive ends Otis Leverette and Greg Scott. Danny Wuerffel was the emergency No.3 quarterback.
Missing matchup with mentor
Of all the games on Washington's schedule, last night's was one that Redskins rookie quarterback Patrick Ramsey had really hoped to start. That's because Indianapolis Pro Bowl passer Peyton Manning is one of Ramsey's mentors. As a high school senior, Ramsey attended the football camp an hour north of New Orleans run by Manning and his father, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. Ramsey became a counselor the following summer.
"I enjoyed asking Peyton about being in the NFL," Ramsey said. "After my sophomore year at Tulane, he told me, 'You try to throw the ball too hard every time. It affects your accuracy. Work on passing the ball rather than throwing it.' The next year, Peyton complimented me in front of everybody about how much better I had gotten at that. I'm looking forward to talking to him before the game. I wish I could play against him."
Although Manning, the No.1 pick in the 1998 draft has started every game of his five-year career, he can relate to the struggles of Ramsey, who was benched last week after struggling in the past two losses to New Orleans and Green Bay.
"I was real proud of Patrick being drafted in the first round," Manning said. "We're friends. He's going to be fine, especially with [Steve] Spurrier as his coach. The main thing is to learn all that you can as a rookie quarterback. I got to start every game, and I learned a lot. We weren't a very good team, going 3-13, but I tried to take advantage of every game and every opportunity. I improved a lot toward the end of that season and as a result, my second year I felt kind of ready and we turned it around and went 13-3."
Coincidentally, Ramsey's other NFL mentor, is another great Colts quarterback, Bert Jones. Ramsey grew up in Ruston, La. with Jones' son and is still close to the family.


LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide