Standard uniform for outdoor, early season OTAs is burgundy shorts, white or burgundy Redskins jersey and helmet. Ninety guys, all looking the same.
Well, 89. Neil Rackers stood out at Thursday’s practice in full uniform pants and high socks paired with his jersey.
He punted a few balls and then headed over to the kickers to practice their craft. None of the other kickers were wearing uniform pants.
“I never kick in a game in shorts,” Rackers explained after practice. “So every day that we kick field goals — I’ve done it throughout my career — I wear pants to get the feeling I’ll have on game day.”
And the punting?
“That’s just to get the leg moving,” he explained. “Punting is a linear motion and your body is intended to move in that direction — whereas kicking, not so much. So I like to punt and get the blood flowing, get the leg warmed up a little bit and then get into what I do for a living.”
Despite being the only kicker in pants, Rackers insists that the added layer doesn’t bother him in the 80-degree weather.
“You know what, I was in Phoenix and Houston for the last nine years. Nothing out here is hot.”
I’ll ask him again in August.
(By the way, this out-of-shape blogger was pretty winded by the time I caught up to Rackers after practice from a number of yards and a flight of stairs away. I apologized for my panting, admitting that I’m not as in shape as the players are.
“I’m not in shape,” he laughed. “I’m a kicker, man.”)