- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The end of the preseason is near, and that means one of the tough aspects of the business is upon us: cuts. It’s not something anyone looks forward to — especially guys on the bubble.

Guys come in sometime after the season is over with, usually in February or March, and you spend six months with them, developing a working relationship and relationships off the field. And it all comes down to one day when somebody has to tell you either you have a job or you don’t. “Thanks for your effort. It wasn’t enough.”

After you see guys go through the process, you really are pretty guarded in how close you get to know somebody. It’s hard to see somebody, in essence, get fired. But I’ve become close with a number of young guys this year, especially on the offensive line, and it’s going to hurt. We’ve got a really great group of guys.

Another thing that’s really hard to see is the departure of guys who have been here for a while, such as Tre Johnson, who was cut Monday.

Obviously Tre’s situation is a little different. He’s been banged up. It was nice to see a situation like that handled with class on all sides. They gave him a chance to go out however he wanted to. He chose a certain way and still wants to play. But it’s nice to see an organization treat a guy who has been with it for a while with respect. You hope when your time comes, hopefully they do that for you as well.

I talked to Tre a little bit in recent days. There’s always an unknown at this time of year, and you don’t know with other guys being hurt. Do they want to see whether you can get better and help the team? Or will they just move on to somebody else? The uncertainty is really what gets you.

My best memories with Tre were from my rookie year, when we made the playoffs and Stephen Davis really broke out. I remember when we were playing the Giants in one of the first games I ever played in. One of the things Tre and I always did well was we had great combination blocks. There was a play where we were on about the 25-yard line going in to score. We had a combination block on the defensive tackle and really just buried him.

We were on the bottom of this pile, thinking maybe we gained a yard or two. And then all of a sudden, Stephen breaks out to the left. He had run into the pile, found out there wasn’t anything going on there and then broke left and went in for a 25-yard score. And everybody was cheering and hollering. Tre and I were on the bottom of the pile, just laughing and joking.

That is one play I will remember the rest of my life. At that point, I knew I was extremely lucky to be playing next to a great player like him, and I was extremely lucky to be playing in the NFL and having the fun that I was having.

Let’s head over to the mailbag, where some of you longtime Redskins fans have wondered whether we, as players, appreciate the team’s history.

I think some guys do and some guys don’t. Some guys are so absorbed with trying to make the team and do something that they don’t realize what they’re a part of.

History is something that’s always interested me. Coming from a university like Michigan, which has a pretty storied past, and in terms of Washington’s tradition of offensive linemen, when I was drafted I did as much as I could to learn about the organization and the history.

When you get a chance to meet guys like Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff and Bobby Mitchell when he was here, you really get a sense of what things were when they played. They love to talk about it. And then you get a sense of how the game has changed and how the organization has evolved.

I got a really neat look at it, too, because Russ Grimm was my coach for two years. He was obviously a big part of the great years the Washington Redskins had. You hear about what was going on in the locker room before this Super Bowl or that Super Bowl. It really makes you stand back and say, “Man, what a great tradition this organization has.”

Understanding the tradition keeps me from jumping to comparisons of our line with the Hogs. They were the Hogs for a lot of reasons, and one of the basic ones was they were really good as a unit. They were able to stay together.

I was talking to Jeff Bostic the other night. He was here for 14 years, had the same coach for 12 of those years and had only two line coaches the whole time. Russ was here his whole career. Mark May, Joe Jacoby — all those guys were able to be around for a long time.

To develop the chemistry and develop the line play they had takes a long time. And if anybody ever were to say our offensive line was reminiscent of the Hogs, it would have to come from one of those guys. They’re the only ones who could bestow that title.

You can e-mail, again, at [email protected] See you next week.

Staff writer Jody Foldesy collaborates with Redskins tackle Jon Jansen on this column. It appears every Wednesday.

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