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Bingo, RG3's benching: 10 awkward Redskins moments

Thursday - 12/12/2013, 3:16pm  ET

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, departs after speaking during a media availability at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Ashburn, Va. Kirk Cousins will start for the Redskins on Sunday, and Griffin III will be the No. 3 quarterback behind Rex Grossman. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Mike Shanahan called it a "circus atmosphere."

He didn't have to. Washington Redskins fans already know the drill.

From "maroon and black" to "bingo," from Spurrier to Zorn, Robert Griffin III's benching this week fits right in with the narrative that's been spun during Dan Snyder's 14 years as owner, the latest in an amazing string of surreal Redskins moments from the still-young 21st Century.

Here are 10 of the most memorable, in chronological order, all of which were worthy of one reaction: "Well, that was awkward."

PAY FOR PRACTICE: The idea of charging fans to watch training camp practice in 2000 was "clearly a mistake," as conceded by Snyder after the fact, but it was compounded by the uninformed approach of then-team president Steve Baldacci, who initially claimed that the $10 charge -- plus $10 for parking -- was comparable to that of other teams. After it was shown that no one else charged to watch practice, Baldacci backtracked twice, eventually claiming that "several teams in the NFC East" charge for parking. (They didn't.) This was also the season Baldacci explained a ticket price increase by saying: "We're delighted to hold the line on prices for our fans."

VINNY SPEEDS AWAY: Vinny Cerrato, Snyder's right-hand man in the front office for most of a decade, had a mixed record when it came to overseeing a roster. The most confusing day came in 2000, when Cerrato mistakenly cut Chad Dukes because he didn't know that suspended guard Tre Johnson wouldn't take up a spot. Coach Norv Turner referred questions to Cerrato, who then left Redskins Park by a side door and drove away as reporters approached his car. Dukes was back on the team five hours after he was cut.

PEPPER AND "COACH ROBINSKIE": Snyder fired Turner late in the 2000 season even though the Redskins had a 7-6 record. The owner was reportedly ready to hire former college coach Pepper Rodgers as Turner's replacement -- until assistants coaches Terry Robiskie and Ray Rhodes rebelled. Rodgers instead became the VP of football operations and gave a rah-rah news conference, while Robiskie -- whom Deion Sanders infamously called "coach Robinskie" -- was promoted to head coach.

"5-11. NOT VERY GOOD": There are too many Steve Spurrier moments to count, including the time the "ball coach" was hanging out with reporters in the media room during the draft and looked up at the TV and realized the Redskins were on the clock. (He quickly excused himself.) The unrivaled classic was his farewell news conference in 2003, which included the silver lining summation: "OK, we wound up 5-11. Not very good. But there was some worse than us. I guess that's one positive way to look at it, we weren't the worst team in the league." Spurrier was on a golf course two days later when he resigned, then claimed he didn't, then said he did. "We had a little miscommunication there," he told the AP, using someone's borrowed cell phone while still on the course.

"MAROON AND BLACK": Jim Zorn, hired because Snyder ran out of candidates after a monthlong search, was clearly unprepared to be the Redskins coach, and it showed at his introductory news conference in 2008. He referred to the team's colors as "maroon and black" instead of burgundy and gold and paid tribute to an assistant coach that the team had recently fired. Standing behind the team's Lombardi hardware, Zorn said: "I look at these three trophies, and it's quite intimidating." He lasted two seasons.

BINGO! Cerrato said he had no idea what Sherm Lewis had been up to when he called the longtime NFL assistant out of retirement to help a floundering offense in 2009, so reporters asked Lewis himself the next day. "I had to go to the senior center and cancel my bingo calling," said Lewis, who had been out of the NFL for nearly five years. "And I had to cancel my Meals on Wheels today." Instead of calling "O-64," Lewis eventually ended up calling the plays for a 4-12 team.

SNYDER & THE BAND: Snyder doesn't speak to reporters often, and, when he does, he is well-known for finding convenient ways to end the conversation quickly. The team was so bad in 2009 that he felt the need to apologize at a charity event in Maryland, but the Q&A was interrupted when the Surrattsville High School marching band walked by, playing at full volume. Knowing a good exit cue when he heard one, Snyder walked away, leaving a meaty query about Zorn unanswered.

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