- - Sunday, December 22, 2019

LANDOVER — The empty seats at Ghost Town Field shook with disbelief when Dwayne Haskins appeared on the stadium’s giant video screen during his postgame press conference and told the world that Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder told him not to return to play after he hurt his ankle in Sunday’s 41-35 loss.

OK, the seats didn’t literally shake. Maybe it was just the earth itself.

But something shook when Haskins, asked who decided he was done for the day, nonchalantly responded, “Dan told me not to go back in.”

It took a few seconds for shocked reporters to be clear about what they heard. Haskins was asked if he meant Dan, as in Snyder — you know, the owner of the team who doesn’t meddle anymore.

Haskins said yes, he meant Dan Snyder.

Later a team spokesman issued a four-alarm clarification, saying that Snyder told Haskins to “listen to medical advice” and not return to the game, a 41-35 overtime loss to the New York Giants.

Soon after, the team issued a statement from team doctor Robin West that said, “I evaluated Dwayne Haskins following his ankle injury and after reviewing the X-rays and conducting a full examination, I did not clear him to return to game action.”

Then Haskins himself followed up with a backpedaling tweet:

“I need to clarify something from my press conference. Dr. West advised me that I was done for this game. Dan Snyder who was in the locker room supporting me, told me I’ve got to listen to the Doctor. Looking forward to getting back healthy for Skins Nation.”

But when the question first came up, the future of the franchise didn’t say Dr. West, or even “Robin told me.”

He said “Dan.”

Add this to the series of red flags that should worry Redskins fans when it comes to the exact nature of the relationship between Snyder and the rookie the owner — not Redskins personnel — insisted on drafting with the team’s 15th pick in the first round. And, of course, it’s one more piece of a buffet full of evidence to shove down the throats of the team sycophants and cheerleaders who would tell you that Snyder is now the hands-off owner.

Turns out he’s Dr. Vinny Boombatz.

Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan wasn’t as plugged in as the owner was about his quarterback. “I think he has an ankle,” Callahan told reporters in the postgame press conference. “I’m not sure. I don’t know the variables or the factors in terms of the degree of injury, but I know he wasn’t capable of coming back in and playing. I’m sure they’ll (do an) X-ray and MRI and we’ll have an idea of where he’s at probably tomorrow.”

Snyder knew Sunday — during the game.

Haskins‘ comments overshadowed what had been a tremendous performance for him until he was hurt. He completed 12 of 15 passes for 158 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and had his team tied 14-14 at the half.

But it is rarely about football for the Washington Redskins, even when they are playing football.

Last week in their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, it was about former Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer being in Snyder’s private suite. Earlier this season, when Jay Gruden was here, it was all about the head coach’s job. Sunday it was all about two 3-11 teams and who would wind up with the second pick in the 2020 NFL draft for a chance to get generational pass-rushing stud Chase Young, expected to go at No. 2.

You had a game Sunday where it was likely most Redskins fans wanted their team to lose so they would be in position to draft Young. So I guess losing was a win-win for Redskins fans. They saw their team score 35 points in an NFL football game — the most a Redskins team has scored since their 41-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Dec. 24, 2016 — and they held on to their place in the “Race for Chase” by losing.

Pick a season, pick a game. Most times, football just gets in the way of the drama.

⦁ Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan podcast Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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