In the little time I've spent with Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, it's obvious that he has an affinity for the club's glorious past. But it doesn't seem like he's trying to rely solely on his famous father to give him credibility in Washington.
He simply appreciates the great Redskins of the past, in part, because he grew up next to a lot of them. And that gives him a unique perspective as he attempts to bridge the gap between former players and the current regime. Mike Wise of the Post talked to a couple of the more outspoken former Redskins about Allen's efforts in a column Tuesday. It appears that Allen's initial efforts are already paying dividends. Brian Mitchell, who has been highly critical of his former team over the years, said he received an invitation to an alumni gathering at Redskins Park recently.
"[Allen] made it clear he wanted to reunite the burgundy-and-gold family, which has been fragmented," Mitchell told Wise. "Hell, I've seen it fragment. They used to reach out to a certain group of guys that told them what they wanted to hear. I can't say that right now. This feels like a sincere attempt to reconnect with their past in a good way."
If you've ever listened to Mitchell on the radio, you know that he doesn't often take a conciliatory tone. I'm sure Allen's lineage gives him a home-field advantage in his efforts, but he still has work to do. Owner Dan Snyder has done some notable things from a charitable standpoint, but he's never endeared himself to fans. In fact, his aloof persona has always overshadowed the fact that he's a passionate fan of the organization. I didn't agree with Hall of Famer John Riggins when he said Snyder had a "dark heart" during a television interview, but it speaks to how disenfranchised some former Redskins feel. Allen aims to help repair some of those relationships.
"Our job, as current employees, is to respect the history," said Allen in Wise's column. "The reason we have fans is the great performances of the players and coaches and the fans before. We didn't create this magic last year or the year before, or this year. It's everyone who came before us.
"So I do believe we owe more than a debt of gratitude to the players that came before us."
So should we expect to see LaVar Arrington and Snyder to share a hug in the coming months? Well, I wouldn't hold my breath for that reunion. But I do think Allen's gone a long way in repairing some of the damage. And you'd be amazed what 10 wins could do for the relationship with fans.
I'm wondering if it's important for you guys to see Allen reaching out to some of the former greats? Would that give you more pride as a Redskins fan? Please show your work in the comments section.