‘Tis the season for NFL quarterbacks and running backs to shower their offensive linemen with lavish gifts, an expression of gratitude for keeping them upright and clearing holes throughout the year.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco got his offensive linemen virtual reality headsets, while Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill opted for YETI coolers. In the NFC East, Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott thanked his blockers with ATVs and, as we learned Wednesday, Eagles rookie quarterback and avid hunter Carson Wentz bought his offensive linemen personalized Beretta shotguns. Wentz and former Redskins great John Riggins would probably get along.
In May 1983, four months after he rushed for 166 yards in a win over the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, Riggins gave each member of the Redskins’ offensive line a $2,000 rifle.
“They are Weatherby 460s engraved with our name on it,” original Hog Russ Grimm told the Post. “You use them to hunt elephants or rhinos. They are the strongest rifles in the world. He gave us each one bullet, too, so we could fire the gun once to see how strong it is.”
“I guess John gave them to us to show us he thinks we have the strongest offensive line around,” tackle George Starke said.
That’s exactly why the Hogs received Mark V Weatherby Magnum rifles from Riggins, who told Sports Illustrated, “they can fire it once and then put it over the fireplace.”
“I figured if they were really that tough as Hogs, they could handle the rifles,” Riggins said. “They’re supposed to be the most powerful guns in the world. And they’re supposed to be the most powerful line in professional football. I thought it was a pretty good match.”
There’s no word yet on what, if anything, Kirk Cousins got his linemen this season, but it’s a safe bet the Redskins’ franchise-tagged quarterback didn’t spring for rifles.
“I know those guys are expecting a little nicer gift this year, but hey, as long as we stay upright and keep sacks down to a minimum and run the ball well, it’s money well spent and I enjoy being able to do it,” Cousins said during the preseason.
While Washington’s running game has struggled at times in 2016, the Redskins have allowed the third-fewest sacks this season.