Chapter 2, Page 47

Lambeau's results with the Redskins were mixed. The team went 4-8 in his first year, 1952. That also was the first season for one of the Redskins' most endearing players, 5-foot, 7-inch quarterback Eddie LeBaron. LeBaron had been a Korean War hero, wounded twice and decorated for what his Marine commendation called "complete disregard for his own safety to rescue members of his own platoon . . . while his platoon was under persistent artillery and mortar barrage."

LeBaron threw nine of his 14 touchdown passes that 1952 season in the final three games. But friction developed between him and Lambeau — and increased the next season, when LeBaron was forced to share quarterback duties with first-round draft choice Jack Scarbath. Even though the Redskins finished 6-5-1 in 1953, LeBaron bolted to the Canadian Football League.

"I really didn't want to play for him anymore," LeBaron said in the book Redskin Country/From Baugh to the Super Bowl, "and I'm sure he didn't want me around either . . . I told Marshall I'd go to Canada or, if he stood in my way, I'd go into private business. He put up a fuss, but he knew people were unhappy. It wound up that [lineman] Gene Brito and I both went to Calgary. I guess he thought Curly was right and we were wrong."

Other players considered Lambeau good but unlucky. "The big problem with Curly was injuries," said Gene Pepper, who played guard on offense and tackle on defense from 1950 through 1953. "The blockers and runners were hurt just enough so we couldn't turn the damn corner on running plays." But Demao and some other Redskins thought Lambeau stressed defense too much. "Hardly ever gave any time to the offense," Demao said.

As matters developed, Lambeau was gone before the 1954 season began. After an exhibition game in California, Marshall's wife, Corrine, saw some players carrying beer to their rooms and told Marshall. There was a rule against drinking in the clubhouse or the team hotel, but Lambeau backed the players because the game they had played was an exhibition. There was a loud argument and some shoving between Marshall and Lambeau — and Lambeau soon was fired.

Joe Kuharich replaced Lambeau, and that was fine with LeBaron. He and Brito re-t urned for the 1955 season, after the team in 1954 had kept up its obsession with losing, accumulating a 3-9 record. But the 1955 season was the Redskins' best of the 1950s and 1960s.

Page 47 | Next Page: 48

Other Pages in Chapter 2:
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

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