The Redskins and breakfast sandwiches

November 13, 2013

RGIII honors a rookie tradition and carries veterans’ helmets off the field after the first day of training camp in 2012. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

In a conversation about rookie hazing earlier this week, London Fletcher mentioned the Redskins’ tradition of rookie-provided breakfast sandwiches. Of course we had to know more, so I asked some of the players about it during open locker room on Wednesday.

The tradition isn’t team-wide. It’s up to each position to decide their own breakfast-sandwich routine, which keeps it reasonable for whoever is tasked with bringing them in.

“We have about eight or nine guys in the linebacker room, so only about that many,” explained Ryan Kerrigan, who said his position does it on Fridays. “Usually it’s the same one every week. Ashburn Bagel, that’s who I used to buy them from, they were pretty good about helping us out. My rookie year it was me and Marcus White, so we alternated each week.”

Adam Gettis said the offensive linemen also enjoy breakfast sandwiches courtesy of the rookies.

“The O linemen, we do sandwiches on Friday morning,” Gettis said. “We either get it from Joe’s or downstairs. We do it, the linebackers do it, and I think another group does it also.”

I asked Gettis if a rookie has ever refused to provide breakfast for his teammates and he paused for a minute, not wanting to answer.

“Me,” he finally admitted. “Last year it was between me and [Josh] LeRibeus who was gonna bring in breakfast sandwiches. And I just straight-up refused, so they had LeRibeus do it for the whole year, even though I was supposed to do some days. I stood my ground.”

Gettis said that cost and the distance from his house were the reasons he wasn’t enthused about about participating in the tradition. His lineman buddies put him on Saturday donut duty instead.

“Donuts are cheaper,” Gettis said, matter of factly. “Plus, it was way closer to my house.”

LeRibeus got stuck with breakfast-sandwich duty for the year, but the easygoing guard wasn’t bothered.

“I had a bigger signing bonus, so it didn’t bother me,” LeRibeus chuckled.

As for what kind of sandwiches rookies bring, LeRibeus says they usually follow the meat, egg and cheese on a bagel or roll assembly.

“Football players are kinda superstitious, so they keep the same routine all the time,” he explained. “So it was pretty easy, I just brought the same thing every week. I would mix it up for myself, though. If I was in a good mood, I’d go and get myself a lox and cream cheese or something like that.”

This year, the rookies’ errand is easy. The Redskins have brought in a new chef and breakfast sandwiches are on the daily menu. The dining room and kitchen are on the lower level of Redskins Park, so Tevita Stevens only has to travel a flight of stairs to bring the offensive linemen sandwiches. And they’re free.

Not every position does sandwiches. Chase Minnifield, who got out of such duties by being on injured reserve his rookie year, told me the defensive backs do things differently (as defensive backs usually do). Bacarri Rambo and David Amerson are responsible for boarding the bus on game days armed with Popeye’s chicken.

It’s up to the leadership of each position to maintain such traditions if they want to, and everyone made it clear that they try to keep it fun. But some choose not to do it at all.

Niles Paul said that the special-teams players don’t have a comparable routine.

“I’ve never had to bring nobody food, so I don’t expect anyone to buy me food,” Paul said. “I bought pizza one time, but I wanted to do it. I wasn’t told to do it. But I can go get my own food.”

Santana Moss said the same for the receivers.

“When I got here, I remember they gave me that right to have that requirement,” Moss said. “The older guys were like, ‘Hey man. This is your show. So if you want something, tell them what you want.’ I’m not big on that. I didn’t feel like that was suitable, a guy having to go out of his way to pay for eight or nine guys on a rookie salary.”

Moss made it clear that he knows the tradition is all in good fun.

“I’m not knocking that people that do it because it’s fun for them,” he said. “But if I were going to go do it, I’d give them the money to buy the sandwiches.”

Or, just send them downstairs.

Related: Great moments in Redskins hazing

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Dan Steinberg · November 13, 2013

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