Friday, September 14, 2007

23 Skidoo

Leave your jersey at the door

Marcus Mason cleared waivers and signed with the team's practice squad which is good for the team though as the season wears on I will not be surprised if the Redskins are not forced to promote him to the roster. (hat tip to b.h. for the lousy grammar spot) Practice squad rules state that other teams may sign any practice squad player to the regular roster and the player's team has right of first refusal but must promote the player to the regular roster if the team wishes to keep the player. Once promoted to the regular roster a player may be on the active or inactive list on gameday.

In other words, if a team decides they need some depth at tailback and like Marcus Mason they can offer him a contract but the Redskins have the right to keep him by promoting him to the roster. If they do not he signs with the other team.

Those seriously deranged Redskins fans will remember William Bell, an undrafted tailback/fullback from Georgia Tech where he had a big hand in GT's capturing a share of the 1990 national championship against Nebraska on 1 January 1991. Here is future Redskin William Bell on the cover of Sports Illustrated after Georgia Tech took down 7-0 number one University of Virginia 41-38 on 3 November 1990. William finished his Georgia Tech career as the Yellow Jackets' fifth leading rusher of all time.

William went unselected (like Marcus Mason) in the 1994 draft and signed with the Redskins as a rookie free agent. He had a good camp but did not make the cut, the Redskins depth chart at running back and fullback that year looked like this: Reggie Brooks, Ricky Ervins, Brian Mitchell, Tyrone Rush and Cedric Smith with Frank Wycheck in the hybrid fullback/H-back position.

William was signed to the practice squad and just a couple of weeks into the season the Dallas Cowboys tried to sign William away and the Redskins opted not to give him to a division rival, but rather to sign him onto the roster. He hung on for three seasons, through 1996. For a while he was featured in a TV bumper for local Redskins coverage, footage of him in a preaseason game hurdling over the goal line and landing in the end zone on his back.

But I digress. By releasing Marcus Mason the Redskins freed up a roster spot they used to bring back safety Omar Stoutmire, a player that re-signed with the Redskins in March and did not make the final round of cuts.

What's funny about this is that both Marcus and Omar wear number 23, and the team let them each keep that number throughout camp and preseason. In fact there was a humorous moment in the preseason scrimmage against the Ravens where number 23 carried the ball for the Redskins and on the screen they showed Omar's player card, not Marcus'. We all knew who Marcus was after that.

Omar Stoutmire: Eric Espada photo from here. 23 Skidoo is early 20th century slang for 'leaving quickly,' or 'getting out while the getting is good.'