A Redskins Great Stages Revival Meeting With Campbell

By Mike Wise
Sunday, September 9, 2007

Of all the impressions made on a young NFL quarterback, none was stronger than the day a bull-rushing lineman from the past came up to Jason Campbell and his parents after services.

Charles Mann, now the head usher at Grace Covenant Church in Chantilly, spoke to the Campbells for about an hour a few months ago "about what Redskin football meant to the old guys and how bad they want to see us winning again," Campbell said.

"He said when they used to play they had an attitude about themselves," he said. "They didn't want to be embarrassed, first of all. And second of all, they didn't want to accept defeat.

"Then he showed us his broken fingers."

Some messages about sacrifice only come through a disturbing visual.

The ring finger on Mann's left hand, a crushed knuckle suffered in 1983, is bent completely sideways. The pinkie, ring and middle fingers on both hands are distorted, mangled and painful reminders -- along with his 15 knee operations -- of a playing career that featured four Super Bowls and five NFC championship games.

"He had fingers turning east, west and all kind of ways," Campbell said. "My mom looked at his hand and said, 'I hope you're not like that when you're finished playing football.' "

"I asked him, 'God, how did you get that?' " said Larry Campbell, Jason's father. "Charles Mann just looked at me and said, 'Driving the quarterback to the ground.' "

If there is a revival, let it be known that it began at a house of worship. On Easter Sunday.

Jason Campbell represented hope. Charles Mann represented history. And somewhere between the floundering organization the Redskins have become and the glorious franchise they were, a link was found.

"I told Jason what I tell a lot of the players, that there was a certain level of prestige, a certain level of mystique, that came with being a Redskin player," Mann said. "It meant a lot. And over the years, that mystique has simmered down because of the way things have gone the past eight or nine years.

"It has to change back. You don't need to win a Super Bowl today, but teams need to know this is our house. You can't come in, walk all over us and keep going. That's not what it is to play for this franchise.' "

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