DeAngelo Hall authored a lot of memorable moments during his five years in D.C., on the good side and the bad side and the weird side of the ledger. Yes, this ledger has three sides. It’s triangular.
Without the benefit of more than a few minutes of reflection, here are many moments I’ll remember on occasion of his release.
Good: Sparks the Redskins to glorious victory over the Cowboys with a fumble return for a touchdown in the FedEx Field regular-season debuts of Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb. He also did a backflip on his way into the end zone. Those are permanent plays, leading to permanent wins, that you bank for all time, no matter what else goes wrong. See the image above. When you are largely responsible for a win over the Cowboys, nothing can wipe that out.
Bad: Fails to tackle Jake Delhomme as the Panthers are attempting to run out the clock during some interminable pit of Zornitude. Those plays also do not disappear from the memory bank. And indeed, this play was referenced repeatedly upon Hall’s release.
Weird: Apparently requests a hot dog from a fan during a Skins trip to the Meadowlands.
Good: Sparks the Redskins to glorious victory over the Bucs with a second-half interception that he virtually predicted in the huddle. Let’s remember: “At halftime, the Redskins trailed 10-0 and entered the locker room to a chorus of boos. But on just the third play of the third quarter, Hall intercepted Johnson and ran to the Bucs 41-yard line, giving the Redskins their best starting field position of the day. Washington went on to kick a field goal for its first points. Prior to the interception, Hall was in the huddle, barking to his teammates that he felt an interception return for a touchdown was coming. “He didn’t get to the house, but he did get the interception,” Fletcher said. “He predicted that one.”
Bad: Sparks a massive sideline melee with Mike Smith during a game in Atlanta. In truth, Smith was at least as responsible as Hall, but this quote didn’t help matters. “I stay in Atlanta during the offseason, so if Mike Smith wants to see me, he can definitely find me,” Hall said after that game.
Weird: Requests a Comcast SportsNet sideline reporter remove her heels before an interview so he does not appear to be shorter than her on camera.
Good: Absolutely blankets Dez Bryant during perhaps the most memorable Redskins game of the Mike Shanahan Era, the Sunday Night Football season finale against the Cowboys this past season. Bryant caught three passes the first nine times he was targeted in that game. “They can’t beat DeAngelo Hall down the field,” Cris Collinsworth marveled late in the game.
Bad: Prompts like a thousand flags to be thrown during a screaming match with officials at the end of a loss in Pittsburgh that same season. “I’ve got a meeting set up with Commissioner Goodell on Monday,” Hall told reporters after the game. “Me and him will talk about it, watch the film, figure out what went down, hopefully get to the bottom of this.”
Weird: Celebrates good plays in a manner befitting major lottery winnings, or Super Bowl titles, or news of newspaper circulation gains, finally leading a teammate to poke fun at him on the sidelines.
Good: Intercepts Jay Cutler four times during a win in Chicago, allowing everyone to laugh at Jay Cutler while simultaneously celebrating a win. The four picks tied an NFL record. “DeAngelo….DeAngelo was incredible,” London Fletcher said after that game. “I mean, four interceptions, and one for a touchdown when they’re driving on us, you can’t say enough about that.” Makes the story even more fun by talking back at the unbowed Cutler. “You know what man, Jay’s a little bit, he don’t really understand, I guess, the game, the game of football,” he told SportsCenter.
Bad: Collects 20 yards of penalties near the end of a loss to the Patriots, 15 of them by throwing a flag that had already been thrown. “Especially when guys are in a leadership role, we understand that you have to keep your cool, regardless of if you like a call or don’t like a call,” Shanahan said after that outburst. “That’s your job to handle yourself in a professional manner, and more importantly, not put your team in a hole by having a 15-yard penalty. That’s one of the things that I talked about to our football team. You make too many of those mistakes and you’re not with us.”
Weird: Tells my colleague Sarah Kogod that he blacked out from drinking too many Blue Moons while watching the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Good: Wins Pro Bowl MVP.
Bad: Appears in Redskins ads for Pro Bowl MVP jerseys. And no, this wasn’t his fault.
Weird: Tells Matt Terl he would yap at Barack Obama during a presidential basketball game. “Oh yes, you best believe it,” Hall said. “I’m a cornerback. Ain’t got nothing else to talk about. ‘Hey, good foreign policy?’ Nah, [forget] that. C’mon friend, D it up, let’s go.”
Bad: Curses six times in 46 seconds while addressing reporters following a late-game Dez Bryant third-down conversion in Dallas, which included a facemask penalty. “It was a [bleeping] terrible call,” he said. “I told the ref he should [bleeping] lose his job. Man, back up off me, man. Like I said, I told the ref after that call, that might have been the worst call of the game. He gonna get some demerit points for that call, because that wasn’t no facemask.” As for the team’s defensive playcall, “sooner or later somebody’s gonna [bleeping] figure it out,” he said. “You don’t have to be a [bleeping] rocket scientist to figure it out after a while.”
Weird: Cannot stop predicting amazing success and groundbreaking achievements for all. “We’ll dominate our division, off of bringing Donovan McNabb in here, a guy who’s dominated the division in the past,” he said before Shanahan’s first season, predicting the Redskins would win 11 or 12 games. “So that’s just an educated guess. That’s an educated guess, and I stand behind. I’ll stand behind that. I’ll fight and claw to try to make that happen.”
He was memorable, in other words.