I had the pleasure of getting in touch with former Redskins' kicker, Brett Conway. To refresh your memory, Brett had two stints with the Redskins: one from 1998-1999 and the second from 2000-2002. I have been looking forward to this phone call for awhile given Brett played under Jack Kent Cooke, Dan Snyder, Steve Spurrier, and with Jeff George. Brett was very professional as not to air any dirty laundry. I naturally started off with the kicker battle:
Hogs Haven: I'm not sure if you still follow the Redskins, but they were just in the midst of a kicker battle, where the kicker from last year, Shaun Suisham, struggled with distance and accuracy and the holding was a hot topic. What difference does the hold bring?
Brett: A tremendous difference. When you bring in a punter, you need to evaluate him as a holder as much as the punting.
Hogs Haven: Hunter Smith is our Punter/Holder now and Suisham said it's been a huge difference.
Brett: Hunter was there when I was Indianapolis. He's a very good athlete. He's getting old though (laughing). Tell him I said that! (laughing) But he can do it all. He chases players down, gets in the way. He's a complete player.
Hogs Haven: So what made his hold so smooth?
Brett: He has great eye-hand coordination. It makes a huge difference. (pause) So who's the snapper there?
Hogs Haven: Ethan Albright.
Brett: He's still there?! Wow. That's great.
Hogs Haven: Yeah. He still gets his annual one-year contract. (changing gears) So, you played under the two tenures of Jack Kent Cooke and Dan Snyder? What differences did you notice?
Brett: (pause) So you're asking me to throw Snyder under the bus? (laughing)
Hogs Haven: Haha. There's enough people doing that. Those first several years he was a bit impatient with some of the players though.
Brett: It's the folks under him that were the impatient ones. This is a very important piece of the game. Successful teams have a lot of tremendous people that do this well.
Hogs Haven: OK, so your second stint you played under Steve Spurrier. I had heard horror stories that he told the team for one game that if they won they'd have the entire next week off. What was his coaching style like?
Brett: Spurrier ran a two-man operation with himself and Marvin Lewis. Marvin of course had a lot of respect. I've been in a lot of organizations over my time and people just do things differently.
I was hoping to get a good Spurrier story here but came through unsuccessful.
Hogs Haven: Who was your favorite Redskin teammate?
Brett: Other than Ethan? (laughing). I got to spend five years with Mr. Green. Darrell is a special guy.
Hogs Haven: Not Jeff George?
Brett: Jeff and I got along real well. I enjoyed my time with him. I haven't seen him in five years.
I asked Brett if he thought Jeff could still make it in the league today and if he had heard about his tape circulating the NFL teams. He mentioned he had heard about the tape, and he wouldn't be surprised if Brett could still compete.
Hogs Haven: OK, so you played with the Giants and Redskins. They play each other this weekend. Who you got?
Brett: Where's the game?
Hogs Haven: In New York.
Brett: That's interesting. Big game for a NFC East kickoff. Redskins have a tough game on the road and that's a tough crowd.
Hogs Haven: So you like the Giants.
Brett: (laughing) (pause) I didn't say that!
Classic. Brett currently sells commercial real estate in Chicago, but the way he comically, but professionally answered all my questions, he should be running for Congress with Heath Shuler! It was a great call and he has a great sense of humor. Thanks Brett. Hopefully we can catch up again mid-season.
[Image via washingtonpost.com]