- I hope and pray this week’s Sixpack finds you and your family well. I hope and pray that those of you out there who are battling health issues are getting what you need to fight that fight. I hope and pray that the time you are all getting to spend with your families because of this pandemic is being received like the gift that it is, and that coming out of this—because we will—doesn’t get here without all of us experiencing a moment of true appreciation for the folks on the front lines of this thing. To all of you out there wearing scrubs, driving ambulances, cleaning hospital rooms, putting out fires (of every kind), tending to the loved ones we can’t visit and providing comfort to those taking their last breaths...please know that we know you are the best of us, and know that we love you and that we won’t ever forget.
- I know that politics has reared its ugly head on Hogs Haven a bit over the last week, and I have kind of let it do so because of where we all are and how everything at this point seems balled up into one big gelatinous cube of terribleness. I think we will turn the corner a little bit on that going forward, having gotten some of it out of our system. I have always appreciated the nature of discourse here since the beginning. Ours is a very respectful community and keeping sports at the core generally invites spirited but cordial debate. If I had one political thing to close out the discussion of the last week, let it be this: when it comes time, please vote your heart and mind. I can live with whatever you decide is the best way to do that for yourself. My company isn’t called 1st Amendment Sports for nothing, after all!
- I’m not old enough to have memories of watching Bobby Mitchell play football, but I know some of you reading today do have those memories. I invite you to share them below, and I call on all of us to take the time to learn something about this man who put greatness on display in the nation’s capital as both a player and a member of the team’s front office. Bobby spent 41 years with the franchise, and any Redskins fan worth his or her salt understands the source of pride that he is for so many in this city.
- Our favorite #49 (not sorry Leonard Stephens) spent time leading the league in receptions (1962), receiving yards (1962, 1963) and touchdowns (1964). Mitchell was a five-time All-Pro and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983, though it is almost cooler that his name adorns two Ring of Honors in the league (Cleveland and Washington). Vince Lombardi (yeah, that one) saw a guy who could contribute to an organization off the field, giving Bobby his first front office break as a scout. He dreamed of becoming the NFL’s first black general manager, but was passed over for Bobby Beathard in 1978 and Charley Casserly in 1998. While we all know that Beathard and Casserly proved themselves as good-to-great in the general manager category, part of me will always wish we could have seen our guy have that shot. We know he was hurt by the lack of promotion, because he told us. That was another thing about Bobby Mitchell...he shared his emotions in a way that spoke to the feeling of family that for so many years was shared by players and fans alike in the nation’s capital. He was a man for others.
- Because...well, because the Redskins have generally sucked out loud for most of Dan Snyder’s tenure as steward of the team, I have found myself espousing the fan favorite players that we have found refuge in on so many Sundays during losing seasons. You know the ones. Guys like London Fletcher, Terry Allen, Chris Samuels, Ken Harvey...Tress Way? (Don’t worry Kevin, I am not going to mention Kelvin Bryant here this time.) Bobby Mitchell fits this list perfectly—the Redskins were terrible in the early 60’s (also the mid-60’s and late 60’s)—but fans were treated to a guy who once shared a backfield with Jim Brown. Mitchell was one of the original all-purpose players, lining up wide and in the backfield. The story of Bobby Mitchell can’t be told without the racial aspect, as he joined the team via trade after the league (and government) put a great deal of pressure on Edward Bennett Williams to integrate the Redskins. In a time when folks in the nation’s capital had great difficulty identifying with a team that had no real racial identity, Bobby Mitchell ran that political football off-tackle and for a big gain. He was a civil rights activist and an advocate for folks from all walks of life, most notably raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through his annual golf tournament. He is a beloved member of our Redskins family, and his life deserves to be celebrated for eternity. May he rest in peace. I look forward to having a guest on tomorrow night to help talk more about this all-time great.
- The SB Nation mock draft is coming out and I believe our pick will publish tomorrow. There is no trade down option and no overthinking. The exercise helped me on a couple of different fronts. First and foremost, when we preach “best player available” in the draft, Chase Young is of course a no-brainer. Pairing up a potentially generational talent at the most important position on the defensive side of the ball with a defensive-minded head coach who is rehabbing a culture as well as an identity is a game-changing move. Unlike previous years where I have had the luxury of getting creative in the middle of the first round, I sat at #2 and watched the top prospect in the entire draft fall into my lap. I note the absurdity of the fact that teams will ultimately trip over each other trying to get us to trade down—for a player not named Chase Young. It’s kind of surreal actually...a no-brainer prospect that could slip out of the top two picks. While I still hope for a team to act incredibly irrationally and offer us more than we should get for the #2 slot—and for us to do that deal—I know that what I have also been saying all this time is equally true: if and when the Redskins leave the first round with Chase Young in tow, we are simply not going to regret it at all. In addition to making his teammates on defense better by virtue of his presence, I envision free agents wanting to come to D.C. next offseason to play with him when we have so much anticipated salary cap space. Thank God for the NFL and the draft...literally the only sporting event on the horizon. With everyone “drafting from home” this year, am I the only one expecting Roger Goodell to have to pause the draft multiple times because some jerk GM forgot to turn off auto-pick and randomly selected a punter in the first round? See you tomorrow night on the official Redskins podcast of Hogs Haven, Thank God It’s Tuesday!
Difficult times demand a greater deal of patience and understanding with each other...two things Redskins fans have been learning and perfecting under Dan Snyder.