When is it time for a player to hang up his pads? Some may say once the production level begins to diminish. Some say when numerous injuries occur. Others may say it’s when non-contact injuries begin to become a problem, or when his on-field value becomes a question.
In all actuality, all of the above can be valid reasons for hanging up the cleats. We as fans tend to fall in love with players and all that they bring to the table, whether they are an offensive or a defensive player. We watch them play with an aggression that seems to carry with it a disregard for their own personal safety. We love to watch players set new team and individual records. A special few seem to overtake teams single-handedly. Every opportunity, be it Sunday, Monday or Thursday Night Football, the brighter the lights, the bigger the plays the great ones make. So when the time comes, they make it “so hard to say goodbye.”
The Washington Redskins front office is faced with a dilemma of this nature concerning free safety DeAngelo Hall, affectionately known as “D-Hall.” Each season as a Washington Redskin, Hall has given his all for the team whether it’s catching interceptions or causing and recovering fumbles. I’m sure as die-hard Redskins fans, we all remember the four interceptions in the D-Hall vs. Jay Cutler game in Chicago back in 2010. You know, the one where in the post-game interview when asked if he (Jay Cutler) would throw the football to D-Hall’s side again, Cutler responded with a confident “Hell yes.” There was also D-Hall’s scoop and score after a Cowboys’ fumble going into the half. The benefits of D-Hall’s leadership have been felt in the locker room, on the field and throughout this Washington Redskins organization.
This all boils down to one question: Is Hall’s production/availability enough to justify continuing to use a roster spot on him? Let’s all be honest. There may be three or four positions where that roster spot can be utilized. The Redskins could use an extra offensive/defensive lineman, perhaps a corner for the nickel package and my personal wish list player – a legitimate fullback. The harsh reality of the D-Hall situation is the fact that Hall has only played in 17 games over the last 3 seasons. Being susceptible to all types of lower body injuries, such as Achilles tendon tears, toe injuries and knee injuries, NFL corners and safeties rely heavily on their lower body to perform their jobs on the field. From make-up speed to overall strength, it all comes from the lower half of the body. Once it becomes difficult for a safety or corner to perform natural, expected movements and/or actions, they become the weakest part of the team’s defense.
As a fan of the Washington Redskins, I only want what’s best for the team. The love we fans have for players can sometimes blind us to the handwriting on the wall. We must remember that the NFL is a business. All 32 teams within the NFL are in the business of winning as many games as possible each season. Once a player’s physical condition begins to deteriorate, business decisions have to be made. Besides, is there anything more sad as a fan than watching a player you love, who has given so much of himself season after season, struggle with lowered production, being unable to reach the level of play to which we’ve become accustomed?
Let me be the first to say thank you, Mr. DeAngelo Hall, for the fight, grit and toughness you’ve demonstrated game after game. Thanks for all the times you stood in for a teammate when the other team’s player would bring extra to the field. You have created a long-standing love affair with this Washington Redskins fan base. Most of all, when the time does come, you have made it “so hard to say goodbye.” HTTR4LIFE
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