- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

One day, Fred Smoot. Another day, Omar Stoutmire. What are we to make of these curious free agent signings, Redskins fans? You don’t suppose?…

Scene I: Meeting room, Redskin Park. Dan Snyder, Joe Gibbs and Vinny Cerrato are seated around a conference table discussing offseason strategy. They’re wearing black suits, black hats and Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Snyder: First you brought in Mark Brunell to play quarterback, then you thought Brandon Lloyd would make a great No. 2 receiver and now you’ve lost Derrick Dockery to the Bills …

Gibbs: Don’t worry, Dan, this is all going to work out. We’re on a mission from God.

Snyder: So what’s the plan?

Gibbs: We’re going to put the band — I mean, the secondary — back together. We never should have let Smoot leave. Same goes for Stoutmire and some of the others: Walt Harris, Ryan Clark, Andre Lott. Let’s face it, in the last two years, our pass defense has gone from Super Bowl quality to Pearl Harbor Crew quality.

Cerrato: Yeah, well, getting the secondary back together might not be that easy …

Snyder: What are you talking about? This is the Washington Redskins. We’ve got a Hall of Fame coach, three Lombardi trophies in the lobby and a stadium with 92,000 seats — most of which have a clear view of the field …

Cerrato: Some of these guys will give it another go, sure. But we’ll never get Mr. Fabulous out of that high-payin’ gig.

Snyder: Who the heck is Mr. Fabulous?

Cerrato: Smooter.

Snyder: OK, so maybe Fred’s still mad at us, but it’s worth a try. What would you rather have us do, Vinny, re-sign Lloyd Harrison?

Scene II: Redskins One, the owner’s Bluesmobile. Free agency starts in three hours, at 12:01 a.m.

Flight attendant: Can I get anything for you two?

Gibbs: I’ll have some dry white toast, please.

Snyder: Bring me four filet mignons and a Coke. (Turns to Coach Joe.) There’ll be a helicopter waiting for us when we get to Mississippi. I figure if we land it on Smoot’s front lawn — and wake up the whole neighborhood — it’ll show him how serious we are. Got your sales pitch ready? (Gibbs nods.) It’s 978 miles to Jackson, we’ve got a full tank of gas, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Let’s roll.

Scene III: Smoot’s mansion. Snyder and Gibbs step out of the helicopter, dust swirling around them, and ring the bell. The butler comes to the door. He doesn’t know quite what to make of their attire.

Butler: You fellas from the Minneapolis police or something?

Gibbs: No, sir, we’re from the Washington Redskins.

Butler: Well, come on in, anyway. Make yourself comfortable in the trophy room while I go find Master Fred.

(Seconds later, Smoot appears.)

Smoot (feigning annoyance): And I thought I’d seen the last of the Redskins …

Gibbs: Fred, we don’t always get second chances in life. But this could be one for the Redskins — and for you, too. We want to put the secondary back together, but we can’t do it without No. 27. You were the backbone, the nerve center of a great unit …

Smoot: If I’m such a baller, why did you let me get away in the first place? I thought I was part of the Redskins’ future; that’s what everybody kept telling me. But then the bidding got serious and … what happened to you guys?

Snyder (starting to panic): The battery in my cell phone died. My limo ran out of gas. I had jury duty. Tom Cruise showed up a day early. I got stuck at the top of the Ferris wheel at Six Flags. Homeland Security raised the threat level to Code Red. There was a tornado. The mother of all tsunamis. Global warming. IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR!

Smoot: Well, as long as you put it that way. Now, I’ll need $7 million in guaranteed money, a boat to cruise the Potomac in …

Scene IV: Back in Redskin One.

Snyder: That certainly went well. For a moment there, I thought he might ask for our second-round pick in 2008. You know how I am with second-round picks.

Gibbs: If there’s one thing this has taught me, Dan, it’s that when you find that special player, you’ve got to hold onto him! Love him, please him, squeeze him! Signify your feelings with every roster bonus, every reworking of his contract! Because it’s important to have that special player, that Core Redskin!

Snyder: Stoutmire next, right? And then … who? Matt “Guitar” Bowen? (He raises his Ray-Bans and winks.)

SCENE V: The jet disappears into the clouds, trailed by the voices of Dan and Coach Joe singing the “Theme from ‘Rawhide.’ “:

“Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ …

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