After nearly 50 years as a player, coach, and broadcaster, Sam Huff retires from Washington Redskins


Sam Huff, center, with Redskins owner Dan Snyder, left, and fellow Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell during a 2000 dedication ceremony in Southeast for a football field in Mitchell's name to the Boys & Girls Club. (Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post)
June 21, 2013

Sam Huff, an NFL Hall of Famer who spent 38 years as a Redskins radio analyst, is retiring from the team’s broadcasts.

Huff, 78, cut back his work as a color analyst last season, working only home games and the Redskins’ road games against the Giants and Cowboys.

This season, he will step aside entirely from game coverage, but will be heard on the pregame show before some home games, said Chuck Sapienza, vice president of programming for Red Zebra Broadcasting, the company that owns ESPN980 (980 AM), the Redskins’ flagship station in Washington.

“He’s had a very long run,” said Sapienza, who described Huff’s decision to retire as Huff’s own. “People don’t understand the strain and rigor of a long broadcast season. He’s ready. He’s tired.”

Huff has been part of the Redskins since joining them as a player in 1964 after starting his career with New York Giants. He won’t be replaced as the second analyst on games, leaving a two-man booth. Larry Michael will continue as the team’s play-by-play man and Sonny Jurgensen will remain as a single analyst. Rick “Doc” Walker, a former Redskin, will continue as a sideline analyst.

“I’ve enjoyed every game that I played, coached and provided color commentary over the last 50 years with the Washington Redskins. I look forward to joining Larry, Sonny and Doc on the pre-game show a few times this season,” Huff said in a statement released by ESPN980.

Huff’s retirement leaves Jurgensen as the sole remaining member of a broadcast team that stretches back generations and spans the team’s glory years of the 1980s and 1990s. Jurgensen, Huff and Frank Herzog — “Sonny, Sam and Frank” — formed an on-air trio that was almost as beloved as the Super Bowl-winning teams they broadcast.

Herzog was forced out as the team’s play-by-play announcer after 25 years before the 2004 season to make way for Michael.

Red Zebra, which is owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder, has used former Redskins such as Brian Mitchell as halftime commentators. Sapienza said that practice will continue, but details are still being finalized.

“We’ve talked to a lot of former players about being part of the broadcast,” he said, declining to discuss reports that Chris Cooley, a popular former player, was in line to join the broadcasts.

More activity for Griffin

Robert Griffin III’s surgically repaired right knee responded favorably after the quarterback began the latest increase in activity of his rehabilitation program.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Griffin this week began making cuts for the first time since his Jan. 9 surgery to repair the ligaments that he tore in his right knee in Washington’s playoff loss to Seattle. Each week has brought with it additional strides of improvement for the quarterback.

This week featured drills in which Griffin sprinted to the left and right, and then cut to the opposite direction. He also did other change of direction drills. Griffin went through those types of workouts for three consecutive days. There were no indications of setbacks of any kind, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak for the team.

Griffin began on-field running earlier this spring. Each week during Washington’s offseason program, the quarterback was permitted to increase his activity. He began explosive sprinting two weeks ago, but hadn’t been allowed to make cuts.

The cuts and change of direction drills ranked among the final physical items left unchecked on the quarterback’s to-do list. Griffin is hoping to return to the field by the start of the Redskins’ training camp on July 25. He has yet to receive clearance from doctors to practice, however.

— Mike Jones

Paul Farhi is The Washington Post's media reporter.
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