Off the Field With the Redskins / Renaldo Wynn
The Humdrum Life of a Star
Monday, September 11, 2006
This is the first in an occasional series about how Washington Redskins players interact with everyday Washington.
His workday done, Renaldo Wynn was ready to kick back a little. Dressed comfortably in a Michael Jordan basketball jersey, matching shorts and black sneakers, the starting defensive lineman walked out of the Redskins training facility in Ashburn on Friday, one of the last players to leave after a day of meetings, practice, more meetings and, finally, treatment for an injured ankle that he hopes will be healed sufficiently for him to play tonight in the first game of the season.
Once he leaves Redskins Park, the fact that Wynn is a pro football player often becomes secondary to the rest of his life in Loudoun County. So, because it's Friday, it's movie day. Wynn loves to go to movies. Action/adventure movies, the kind where you have to think about what's happening and figure out who's who. The only things he might like better than movies are car shows. If there's one in the Washington area, he's there. But no such luck this week, so he's got plans to grab a bite at a nearby restaurant where lots of Redskins go, then cross Leesburg Pike to the Regal Countryside Cinemas.
They say Washington is a political town. And although that's true, for at least 16 weeks a year, Washington belongs to the Redskins. So with 3 million fans having their own ideas on how to score more points, get more sacks and beat the Cowboys, how's a 6-foot-3, 292-pound guy such as Wynn supposed to go to dinner and a movie without being deluged with suggestions?
It's surprisingly easy. Wynn said he's just like his neighbors and generally moves about town as they would. "You have the same likes, the same wants like everybody else," he said.
Most of the Redskins players live in Northern Virginia, close to the training facility where they spend almost nine months a year practicing for games or working out in the offseason. Many live in Loudoun and blend in seamlessly and unrecognized as they go to restaurants, movies, church and school functions, getting stuck in the same awful traffic as everyone else. Living in one of America's richest regions, their luxury cars and giant houses are reasonably normal.
For Wynn, that means he's able to pursue his movies, his passion for worship and cars and his charitable work with relative freedom.
Wynn got out of practice and looked around the large parking lot for his car. "I don't see it," he said. "I'm getting it detailed, but I thought it would be done." He stopped and searched some more before spotting it way back in the corner.
He headed toward his white BMW 745Li, checking his cellphone for movie times as he walked. Erik Baten, the owner, president and only employee of Distinctive Details, was the hardest-working man at Redskins Park on Friday. While the team got ready for opening night, he washed, vacuumed and polished their cars and sport-utility vehicles.
"About 20 minutes," he told Wynn. "Had to steam clean the rugs."
"Man, 20 minutes?" Wynn asked, thinking he might miss the beginning of "Crank," the movie he had heard some good things about and decided to see.
The 20 minutes flew by, though, because the talk in the parking lot soon turned to vintage cars. Wynn may drive a big Beamer to practice, but he is a Chevrolet guy at heart, an Impala man to be precise.