Chris Cooley explains why Mark Brunell wore ‘Redskin’ jerseys


(By Toni L. Sandys / The Washington Post)

Buried within Chris Cooley’s 25-minute interview with Dan Snyder on ESPN 980 this week was this nugget, from Cooley himself:

I’m so proud to be a Redskin. I remember Joe Gibbs explaining to me what a Redskin was. It was pride. It was integrity. It was a never-say-die spirit. We got to the point where my babysitter and I, Mark Brunell, would un-stitch the S on our jerseys so we could be a Redskin.

Wait, really? Well, yes. The above photo is from the famous “Monday Night Football” win over the Cowboys early in the 2005 season. Obviously, that says “Redskin” where it should say “Redskins.”

Here are two more of Brunell, from a preseason game with the Ravens that year, and the season opener against Chicago.


(By John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

(By John McDonnell / The Washington Post)

Uni Watch actually wrote about this issue in depth around then, without ever getting an explanation. Excerpt:

As readers Sam Bell and Todd Carroll alertly point out, Brunell had “Redskin” — instead of the plural “Redskins” — printed on his jersey and on his rear helmet liner during the team’s Week 1 game against the Bears.

Now, one typo might be an honest mistake. But it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to conclude that two matching typos are evidence of more than just an innocent coincidence. Was Brunell making some sort of statement? Is he not a team player? Does he consider himself to be a big chief among little Indians? Or did he just have trouble distinguishing singulars from plurals in grammar school?…

A thoroughly confused Uni Watch put in a call to Redskins HQ, where the team’s entire PR staff immediately stopped what they were doing and began investigating this crucial mystery.

OK, not really. But ‘Skins PR rep Brian Hosmer did check with the team’s equipment manager. “He says there’s no significance to it at all,” Hosmer reported back. “They just didn’t catch it.” Yeah, but how did the helmet liner change? “Uh, I don’t know. He, uh, didn’t mention it.” Sigh. And did anyone ask Brunell about it? “No, he’s been in meetings all day and I can’t really bother him with something like this.”

It was at this point that Uni Watch got the distinct impression that Hosmer was looking at his watch with that “really busy, gotta go” look on his face, so that was pretty much the end of the conversation. And a maddeningly unsatisfying conversation it was — we don’t know anything more about this situation than we did before, except that the equipment manager probably won’t let it happen again.

While I have no recollection of this at all, Gary Fitzgerald — who worked for the team back then — sure does.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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