Larry Brown takes a punch at a New York Giant lineman and the back of his hand, ripped open by a helmet, looks like a hunk of beef. He plays the entire game and sets a team rushing record.
Billy Kilmer spends a week in a hospital bed, tubes running through his nose to his stomach to help relieve a nasty intestinal disorder. Two days after he is released, he starts - and finishes - a playoff game the Redskins almost win.
Larry Smith catches a pass in the flat against Miami and, as he pushes off, his foot hits a hole in the RFK Stadium turf and his leg breaks. He gains five more yards and an important five down, dragging his wounded limb behind him, before he is taken off the field.
Harold McLinto is knocked unconscious in a game two years ago and a team physician tells him he must leave the field because he has a concussion. "I'm not leaving," McLinton replies. The doctor goes over to Rusty Tillman, McLinton's replacement, on the sideline and tells him to go into the game. Tillman says he will not until he sees McLinton carried off.
McLinton stays in the game, and finishes it.
And so it goes. For almost every player on the Redskin roster, there also at least one profile in courage.
On a Redskin team where the expression "playing in pain" is the First Commandment, many eyebrows were raised yesterday after running back Mike Thomas complained bitterly that he was forced to practice despite a sore hamstring muscle that has nagged him since the first day of training camp.
Can anyone argue with a man who puts his personal health above the goal of winning a football game?
No, if Thomas believed that practicing Thursday could do his leg more harm than good, more power to him for resisting the subtle but constant pressure placed upon him by a system that glorifies its heroes even as they are being carted off to intensive care.
But do not try and convince many of Thomas' teammates that he did the right thing, because professional football players, particularly on a veteran team such as the Redskins, have a far different notion of health care.
The Thomas statements Thursday did not sit well with many of his teammates, although he did insist yesterday that his angry words were spoken out of frustration at being unable to perform 100 per cent.
"The guys who don't suck it up are resented by those who do," one veteran Redskin said yesterday. "There's so much at stake here, especially with a key man. When a starter is out, it puts pressure on everyone else. You have to play that much harder because this guy isn't there. People resent that. Nobody will go up to the guy and say you're a jerk, but there are other ways to get the message across.
"The big thing is there's a lot of money involved here, especially on a team fighting for a playoff spot. We all depend on each other to play."
That is why Mike Bass says he played the week after his neck was almost broken in a game two years ago. Hi fater, a physician, advised Bass to sit down and heal. But Bass played.
"From a realistic point of view, it was a mistake," said Bass, who retired last year on advice of physicians who told him he would risk further, crippling injury if he continued to paly. Bass now has a suit pending against the Redskins, claiming the club owes him salary for the 1976 season.
How soon they forget yesterday's hero.
"Now that I look back on it," he said, "for the sake of that organization it was not worth it to take the risk. Why did I do it? Well, that's the make-up of the team - I knew people depended on me to play. That's why I finished the year. I felt they were depending on me to do it."
On the Redskins, peer pressure to perform is tremendous regardless of physical health. Younger players are supposed to be inspired when they see other players taking pain-killers simply to be able to get through an ordinary 2 1/2 hour practice.
"The way I always looked at it was that this was part of the business and something you accepted," said Ray Schoenke, who retired after the 1975 season.
"The philosophy of George Allen's Redskin teams is basically that you played with pain and your teammates expected you to play with pain. The only way you came off the field was if you were totally incapable of functioning. One is expected to endure it. It's a total commitment emotionally and physically. It was the basic code we went by."
Schoenke first learned that code many years ago as a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys. He injured his wrist in a game, and went for Xrays to find out if it was broken. The team trainer Schoenke kept practicing and playing.
The wrist ached constantly, but every time Schoenke went to the trinaer he was told there was nothing very wrong. Only after the season had ended was he informed that he had played all year with a broken wrist.
"I resented that at the time," Schoenke said. "How can I say that was a good thing? I didn't understand it then, but I certainly understand it now. I'm not saying it was right. But my feelings is that if you don't want to pay the price, go into teaching or go to law school.
"People think of it as game, but they don't understand the total commitment. They think this is stupid and foolish. But to a player who makes the commentment, well, it's all part of playing the game: that you can overcome all of these things and contribute."
The fringe benefits that go with accepting the code are obvious. The money and the glamor help ease the pain.
Perhaps also helps soothe the hurt when a man's career is finally over.
Bass is living proof that once a player no longer can physically contribute, the people who honored him for playing in pain can have a short memory.