Redskins' Rocky McIntosh keeps people guessing

The Washington Post's LaVar Arrington, Barry Svrluga, Dan Steinberg and Jonathan Forsythe preview the Redskins-Bears game Sunday in Chicago.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 24, 2010; 12:03 AM

On the very first play of the Redskins' Oct. 10 game against the Packers, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers completed an eight-yard pass to Greg Jennings. DeAngelo Hall made the tackle, and Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh suffered the concussion.

McIntosh played the rest of the game, though, not realizing the hit he suffered was that serious. "There was a little bit of dizziness," he explained later. "It's kind of hard to diagnose. There's no machine on the sideline you can just hook up."

The Redskins' fifth-year linebacker couldn't practice with his teammates the next week and had to miss the next game, against the Indianapolis Colts. The whole time, he endured various versions of the same joke: How exactly can you tell if Rocky McIntosh has suffered a concussion?

"You never know," McIntosh says, providing the punch line.

McIntosh is, um, different. It's difficult to get even those who know him best to agree on a description.

"He's real quiet," says his grandmother, Patrice Lattimore.

"He's just a crazy individual," says his friend Tavares Gooden, a former college teammate. "He's a ball of fire. He's always the life of the party."

"He's real shy," says Tampa Bay tight end Kellen Winslow, who also played with McIntosh at the University of Miami. "It takes a while for him to open up to people."

"He tries to act like he's quiet," says fellow Redskins linebacker London Fletcher.

"He's not quiet," says Eric Shuster, a friend. "He's mischievous."

Here's how McIntosh, the most media-shy member of the Redskins, explains it in a lengthy interview: "People never know. That's just the way I like it. Keep people guessing."

The collected evidence provides a scattered portrait of an important and often-overlooked member of the Redskins' defense. Before the concussion, McIntosh was leading the team in tackles. He has a knack for gravitating toward the ball and plays much louder on the field than he speaks off it. For four quarters each Sunday, he's a prototypical University of Miami linebacker - with all the good and bad that implies.

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