The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Alex Smith’s Easterns Motors shoot leads to brutal truth: ‘Man, I can’t sing’

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith was forced to admit “Man, I can’t sing” after lending his pipes to an Easterns Motors commercial. (Jose Luis Magana)
Placeholder while article actions load

The confused look on Alex Smith’s face wasn’t exactly a world-class acting performance Tuesday afternoon — there was some truth in the bewildered gaze. Mumbo sauce and go-go music weren’t exactly household staples in Kansas City and San Francisco.

Smith took the next step in his Washington, D.C., indoctrination in keeping with a decades-old tradition previously undertaken by star athletes such as Alex Ovechkin, Bradley Beal and LaVar Arrington and comedic giants John Witherspoon and Gilbert Gottfried.

The three-time Pro Bowler did his homework, but still had one small concern before making his debut in the infamous line of Easterns Motors commercials.

“I think the first one had the jingle in it and I’m like, ‘Man, I can’t sing,’ ” Smith said. “The more being here and seeing more and more of them, and just kind of seeing a little bit of the legacy and tradition that’s kind of been going here with some of these guys in the past, I thought it was a pretty cool thing to be a part of.”

Redskins expecting Josh Doctson, receiving corps to take step forward in 2018

Smith strode into the cavernous Easterns Motors warehouse with its sterile white walls and gray concrete floor filled with an assemblage of Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Cadillac automobiles ready to become part of DMV lore. A corner of the building had been transformed into a makeshift studio with cameras, lights and microphones bordered by a row of luxury vehicles made up of a fire red Ferrari, a baby blue Ferrari, a white Ford GT with blue racing stripes and a black Aston Martin.

Smith was joined by teammates Josh Norman, Ryan Kerrigan and Jamison Crowder to film a parody of the quarterback’s welcome to the area. The quartet wore gold jerseys with the Easterns logo on front and burgundy shorts featuring the Redskins logo. Smith sat at a desk and was lectured by teammates on the intricacies of mumbo sauce, go-go music, the meaning of “DMV” and the perils of traffic in the area. The scene wasn’t that much different from real life as the sauce and music were new to the Californian who just bought a house and plans to move the family in July.

“Something like this is fun, right?” Smith said. “What a cool thing to be a part of. Especially to be side-by-side with my teammates. It’s fun. You can have fun out there and these are fun spots, too.

“This is a process, settling in. … Getting more and more comfortable with the area an getting my bearings.”

Vernon Davis believes Alex Smith’s ‘scars’ have the QB playing the best ball of his career

Smith wasn’t the only one making his debut as Crowder shot the first commercial he’s ever appeared in. Norman and Kerrigan have been featured in Easterns spots before, but all of it was new to Crowder. The foursome joked throughout the process and a game of rock, paper, scissors broke out between Norman and Crowder to see who would be next for a longer speaking part. A gaggle of laughter broke out when Norman struggled through a few lines.

The afternoon was a wonderful display of concurrent over- and underacting in the spots known for their corny quirkiness and the catchphrase “your job’s your credit.”

“I’ve watched different guys that have been a part of it,” Crowder said, “so it was just a great blessing that I could be a part of something like this that’s going to be on TV. So that’s cool.”

Was he prepared to sing the jingle?

“Nah, I don’t even know the jingle, to be honest,” Crowder said. “I’ve seen the commercials, but I don’t remember the jingle. If they needed me to sing it, if it wasn’t nothing too crazy, I would have given it a try.

“It was cool, though. We had a great time.”

The commercial shoot wasn’t just a ploy to sell cars. Easterns will donate to the charitable foundations of Smith, Kerrigan and Norman for goals reached on the playing field. Smith’s foundation will receive $500 for every touchdown he throws or runs for and Kerrigan’s will get $1,000 for each sack or interception. Norman’s charity will get $2,000 for every sack or interception. Easterns will also donate $5,000 for touchdown returns by the two defensive players.

Crowder doesn’t have his own foundation set up.

“It means a lot because they’re very personal,” Kerrigan said, “and because these are the commercials that our fans see in this area. It allows our fans to see us in a light that’s a little more relaxed, a little more laid back. It’s cool in that way.

“That’s part of the fun, just being goofy, being corny. That’s honestly what looks the best on TV. If you’re uptight, that isn’t going to look very good. You’ve just got to have fun with it and kind of put yourself out there.”

More on the Redskins:

Round 2 of the Redskins’ rookie experience begins in second week of OTAs

Monumental campaigns: The stories behind D.C. championship contenders

Robert Griffin III is back on an NFL field, and he’s not taking anything for granted

Redskins announce training camp dates