Some days, maybe their friends thought their stories about playing for the Redskins and beating Dallas on “Monday Night Football” were just the ramblings of old men. If they were really part of the 1987 season, where were their Super Bowl rings?
Finally, Tuesday at Redskins Park, the franchise presented diamond-encrusted gold bands with “World Champions 1987” engraved on them to 26 men who crossed the picket line and went 3-0 when the regulars went on strike that year.
“We’ve been called ‘scabs’ our whole life,” former safety Skip Lane said. “The Redskins didn’t want to have anything to do with us, to attach their great Super Bowl with us, but after time they realized how much of a part we were.”
They’re no longer scabs or even strike players. “Replacements” is the accepted term. Even Redskins greats Doug Williams, Gary Clark and Dexter Manley — who all starred in the Super Bowl XXII victory over the Broncos — stopped by Tuesday to show the regulars no longer held a grudge.
The group produced several coaches, including Ted Karras, who won a ring by leading Marian (Ind.) University to the 2012 NAIA championship. But this ring meant Karras’ family is now a three-generation Super Bowl winner. Father Ted Karras Sr. earned his in Chicago under coach George Halas in 1963, and Ted Karras III won a ring with New England under coach Bill Belichick in 2016.
“To come back 31 years later, it’s really nice to have it,” Karras said.
Willard Scissum won an NCAA title at Alabama under coach Bear Bryant, and went on to coach several college teams and in NFL Europe. But Scissum will be best remembered as the lineman working at a 7-Eleven in Oxon Hill, Md., when he signed with the Redskins. Clearing the convenience store parking lot of drug dealers prepared him for angry Redskins players greeting the replacements at Redskins Park.
“I saw the guys beating on the bus, but as long as they didn’t touch me, I didn’t touch them,” Scissum recalled.
Tony Robinson was perhaps the best-known replacement — a renowned quarterback at Tennessee who went undrafted in 1986 because of a knee injury and a conviction for selling cocaine.
He was serving time in a Richmond halfway house when he signed, and he returned there after the strike’s end. Robinson — who threw for 152 yards in a 13-7 win over a Cowboys team that featured Danny White and Tony Dorsett — said he’s never seen the movie treatment of his story portrayed in “The Replacements.”
When he thinks about his Monday night triumph, he remembers telling his Dallas-loving family members: “How ’bout those Cowboys now?”
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