New Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins will wear jersey number 7. The rookie reached out to Joe Theismann, who last wore the number for the Skins, for permission. This was a nice, if not totally unnecessary gesture and had the added impact of allowing a guy who enjoys tooting his own horn to once again toot his own horn.
NBC’s Peter King made this point in today’s Football Morning in America column. Strongly.
I think Joe Theismann even seeming to suggest Dwayne Haskins had to kiss his ring before being rewarded with the number seven jersey in Washington is really weird, and a little bit mindful of the Emperor with No Clothes. Would anyone think that a man with fewer passing yards than Steve Grogan and Jim Harbaugh, with fewer touchdown passes than Earl Morrall and Jon Kitna, with a lower career rating than Kyle Orton and Dave Krieg … should have his number retired? Mark Rypien won a Super Bowl. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl. Brad Johnson and Jeff Hostetler won one. Come on. The fact that Washington never gave Theismann’s number out for years after his gruesome injury is a nice gesture, I suppose. But it’s silly to think he was an all-timer, the kind of player whose number should never be worn again.
Theismann last played in 1985 and his career was cut short due to a devastating injury. Number 7 has gone unoccupied out of a combination of respect and reverence, but was never officially retired.
It’s a safe bet that the jersey will be more recognized as Haskins’ than his predecessor when all is said and done. If he’s not as good as Kyle Orton, that will be a very bad sign for a Washington franchise desperate for competent leadership.