Redskins offensive sparkplug Chris Thompson will continue a long-standing Washington tradition this week: keeping his family members away from a Redskins game in Philadelphia.
Thompson, the running back who leads Washington in both rushing and receiving yards, said on ESPN 980 Wednesday afternoon that he is anxious for this Monday night meeting with the Eagles, because “you could argue that they might be the best team in this league right now, up there with the Chiefs. They’ve been lights out lately, so it’s going to be a test.”
Then Thompson added another reason to be excited.
“Philly fans are some of the meanest fans I’ve ever experienced, too,” he said, “so I’m excited about that as well.”
Host Bram Weinstein then asked for any favorite tales, and Thompson obliged.
“You see a lot of the players pregame when we run out of the tunnel, guys just go pray or whatever in the end zone,” Thompson said. “And [two years ago] I went and prayed in the end zone, and one of the [fans] told me, he was like, ‘God’s not going to help you today.’ And I was like oh, shoot. I heard it while I was praying. I was like dang, all right, that’s a little harsh.”
While that’s probably on the milder side of Philadelphia stories, Thompson is nevertheless asking his family to stay away.
“I heard that’s the one stadium you keep your family from going to,” he told Weintstein. “My family will be here this week, and they were like, ‘I want to come to the Philly game.’ I said, ‘Absolutely not, you’re going to have to wait until Dallas comes around.’ Because my stepdad, he’s a big guy. And if he starts fighting, it’ll be real bad out there. I was told that right away my rookie year: Keep your family away.”
There is a long tradition of Redskins players identifying Philadelphia as a particularly hostile venue. Just last year, former linebacker Terence Garvin told NBC Sports Washington that a Philadelphia fan had words for him after the teams skirmished.
“I can honestly say I had a fan look me in my eyes and say, ‘Terence Garvin, you’re a [bleep], look me in my eyes,’ ” Garvin said. “I started laughing; it brought some chuckle to me.”
Three years ago, former defensive lineman Chris Baker was hit by cheesesteak innards and hot dog bun parts after he was ejected from an Eagles game. The year before that, the Redskins’ team bus was egged in Philadelphia. That happened in 2008, as well, leading to some choice quotes from players:
“Oh yeah, they just come raining down when you pull in there,” Casey Rabach said. “You know, I don’t know how many we got hit with, but it looked like a hailstorm.”
“I’m talking about the middle of the bus, like, bammmm, like busted and everything,” Kedric Golston said. “I ain’t never been thrown eggs at. I mean, at Philly, they throw everything.”
“My bus only got hit with one egg, but I had my headphones on listening to music, and it was like two windows back, and all you hear was thump,” Mike Sellers said. “Everybody starts cracking up. It was like, ‘Oh, we got here, here it comes.’
“It must have been one of those big ones too, an ostrich egg,” Golston said.
“It was crazy, though, because the egg was actually thrown in front of the bus,” Malcolm Kelly said. “It was like a quarterback almost; you throw it to where the receiver’s going to be at. I was very impressed.”
“Very impressed,” Devin Thomas agreed. “If they ever had a replacement [team] in Philly, they’d have to get that dude for quarterback, because he hit that thing on point.”
“You would think it would probably happen in Dallas or something,” Sellers said, “[but] they’re nicer fans than Philly fans.”
That same year, Fred Smoot told Matt Terl that Eagles fans “are the meanest fans in the NFL, no doubt. My momma never came to watch me play in Philly, and I bet she never will, because I care about her too much.” Maybe he learned that lesson from Clinton Portis’s mom, who in 2006 went to a Redskins game in Philadelphia and “busted some lady in the nose, but that’ll just teach you about messing with her,” the running back said. Portis explained that an Eagles fan had tossed a beer on his mother’s group.
And it goes without saying that this reputation, deserved or not, long predates this current century. In 1979, for example, Ken Denlinger wrote in a Post column that “in all of sports, there is nothing quite like the Phickle Philly Phans. It would be unfair to suggest they would boo Mother Teresa if she bobbled a bundle of food. But not too unfair.”
Then there’s former Giants safety Percy Ellsworth, who once told the New York Times that he would do is pregame stretching in the Philadelphia visitors’ locker room, because he didn’t want to give “those people a free shot at me in warm-ups.” His first appearance in Philly, he said, was “the worst I’ve ever been talked to.”
Not that Thompson seemed anything but amused.
“I mean, you know, that’s their fans,” he said during the ESPN 980 interview. “That’s their base. And if they’re like that, that’s just what it is.”
He also had nothing but kind words for this Eagles team, which he said he had a feeling about after their season-opening win in Washington.
“They’ve just been building over there with Doug Pederson for the last couple years,” Thompson said. “Now their defense is playing great — Jim Schwartz has those guys going and playing hard right now. And Carson Wentz, he’s coming into his own in his second year in the league, and you could argue that he should be in the MVP race as well. They really have something good going over there. Being 5-1, they’ve got the momentum going, guys are feeling good, so it’s definitely going to be a battle.”
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