randle el and the redskins’ meddling owner

(courtesy photo)

[Editor’s note: For those who still haven’t heard the news, I’ve started writing a weekly sports column for SB Nation DC. So every Tuesday, my contribution to society (or at least the D.C. sports scene) is located over there.]

Former Washington Redskins receiver (and current disappointment) Antwaan Randle El is in the news this week after making critical comments about his former organization.

According to Randle El – and stop me if you’ve heard this one before – the recent failures of the Redskins can be traced to one man: owner Daniel Snyder.

When Jim Zorn was there, he was hands-on,” said Randle El of The Danny. “He had great potential, but Dan Snyder was too involved because he didn’t trust coach Zorn as much as he did coach (Joe) Gibbs, and those were things that prevented us from success as a team.”

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a Daniel Snyder apologist. After all, my ideal scenario for the 2010 season involves disgruntled tackle Albert Haynesworth being paid to ride the bench in an effort to teach “Fat Albert” a little humility while teaching the owner an equally valuable lesson about the dangers of frivolous spending.

But I find interesting, to say the least, that Randle El would feel compelled to make these remarks.

For starters, he’s now a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s returned to the first franchise he ever knew and the team he won a Super Bowl ring with. So why drudge up the past? Isn’t there more to do in Pennsylvania than take shots at Snyder?

Maybe Randle El could go bar hopping with Ben Roethlisberger or send a thank you note to Santonio Holmes’ substance abuse issues that created an opening for his return to Pittsburgh. Any of that would appear to be a more constructive way to spend his days than slamming the man who signed off on his seven-year, $31-million contract back in 2006.

After all, it’s not every day that a receiver coming off an absolutely mediocre season (35 catches, 558 yards and one touchdown) takes home that kind of cash. But whatever. That’s his business.

Aside from the timing, the most surprising aspect is that Randle El was available for comment. During his four years in Washington, Randle El was routinely one of the first guys out of the locker room following a game. Don’t believe me? Ask around.

Sure, he’d happily appear on a pre-recorded segment hosted by Larry Michael or some other team employee, but it was always a safe bet that Randle El would be long gone by the time the media was allowed in the locker room (roughly 10 minutes after the game ended).

I never took it personally; I just figured he was staying consistent. Randle El rarely showed up during games, so why would he be any different in the post-game locker room? I mean, we’re talking about a guy who, rumor has it, when the Redskins gave him his pink slip this past offseason, responded by signaling for a fair catch.

What exactly should we expect him to say?

But enough about the messenger. Let’s tackle his message.

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