As Redskins Camp Begins, Jansen Still Digesting That He Won't Be There

By Mike Wise
Thursday, July 30, 2009

The biggest change from a year ago is the missing RV; it's no longer parked in the farthest corner parking lot of the team's training complex in Ashburn. The mobile home Casey Rabach once called "an oasis away from camp," the place where large, sweaty men could bond over movies, red meat and, um, beverages is gone -- just as the player who owned it is gone.

"It's a shock," Jon Jansen said through the telephone early Thursday morning from his Michigan home. "It's still upsetting to think I won't be there for the first time in 10 years."


"I've seen so many things happen over the last 10 years I shouldn't be surprised," he said. "I just felt I had been there for so long I deserved a little more respect."

The 33-year-old right tackle, the only player on the roster to pre-date Daniel Snyder's ownership, the guy who played with two broken thumbs one season, a torn calf another -- and with a sprained medial collateral ligament against doctor's orders in his final game as a Washington Redskin this past December -- was quietly released from the franchise a couple of days before June.

Knowing the business, Jansen expected it at some point. He knew any NFL player that weathered six coaches in one decade was bound to run into one guy who didn't believe he had the physical skills and talent to fit in the newest sideline savior's plan. Jansen survived Spurrier's silliness, thrived for a while in Joe Gibbs's second go-round, and somehow outlasted Al Saunders's attempts to reinvent the wheel.

But he somehow couldn't sell Jim Zorn, who had more to do than anyone with jettisoning Jansen from the roster. Zorn called Jansen and told him Snyder wanted to speak with him two months ago. Jansen asked if he should bring the family. "Best if you left the kids there," Zorn said.

"Up until that phone call, I was making every plan to come back," Jansen said. "I couldn't believe it."

When it transpired threw him for a loop. So long after the season, after the start of free agency, after the draft -- after most teams had made their decisions and spent their money. Though contracts have been restructured to curb the salary-cap loss, releasing Jansen when the Redskins did cost the team about $6.5 million more than if they had kept him.

When a player like Jansen is assured he will be released, if at all, when there is still money left in the offseason market -- and when that player is cut a few days before June -- someone badly wanted Jansen off that team and out of the locker room.

"There was going to be a coach come in who wanted something different," he said. "Hey, I get it. There are certain types of players I would want to coach if I got the job. But if I don't fit your mold, just tell me."

Other than that, Jansen won't go there in detail. But all you have to know about his last days in Ashburn was the falling-out between he and his greatest supporter over the years, Joe Bugel, leader of the original Hogs and the modern-day Sluggos like Jansen.

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