Remember three years ago when Redskins safety Macho Harris did some moonlighting in a Fairfax County flag football league? Well it happened again. This summer’s highest-profile free-agent flag-football acquisition was none other than former Redskins receiver and current preseason sideline reporter Antwaan Randle El, who appeared in four regular season games and a playoff game with The Squad of the IFFL Reston league.
Wilson Medina, a player on The Squad, met Randle El through a mutual friend, who had told Randle El about the summer flag football team. Randle El warned that his availability was limited, but agreed to play when he could, answering weekly e-mails about who was in and who was out.
“Players on the team acted like he was just our QB, and our huddles were just as if anyone else was playing with us,” Wilson explained in an e-mail. “He treated us as any respectable teammate would, and we treated him as just one of the guys. The only time we were reminded that he was an NFL player was when he would throw a 65+-yard bomb for a TD, or when he would take a few steps and all of a sudden he was 10-15 yards down the field.”
The games were played at the new turf field at Centreville High, and Randle El put up some fairly big numbers: in the four regular season games, he completed 37 of 63 passes for 597 yards, with six touchdowns and four interceptions, also playing safety and linebacker on defense. (He’s listed as “NA” in the link above.) Randle El carried the ball just four times for 42 yards, and appeared reluctant to run too much.
It’s a tough league, though, and flag football isn’t the same as the NFL, so The Squad went 1-4 in his five games.
“His team was playing in our ‘A’ division, which is our best teams, who’ve usually played all together for a long time,” Commissioner Josh Richardson wrote. “It’s tough to just jump into that league and win. He definitely got better as he played. Flag is a different animal than tackle, but if he stays with it, he’d be an elite QB in no time.”
Richardson wrote that players on other teams seemed especially excited to make plays against the former NFLer, and Medina agreed.
“Our opponents definitely enjoyed competing against him, but what I noticed the most was how teams that had a game before ours or even after ours would stay and check out our games,” he wrote. “There were a couple times while we were warming up, and players from other teams would come over to get a picture with him. He was more than accommodating to every single one of them.
“They would mention his TD pass to Hines Ward in the Super Bowl or even talk about his days here with Skins. His personality makes him very approachable, and even though our record wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be, he made it fun to be out there. Who wouldn’t enjoy running routes and catching passes from a former NFL player?”