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Breathe easy, white people: The Redskins announced last night that safety Reed Doughty had been re-signed.
Since being taken in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, Doughty’s filled a special role in the Skins defense: Token white guy.
Other than at the safety position, white guys don’t play defense around here. I’ve looked it up. Way more than is healthy. It’s among my favorite chapters in the racial history of the Redskins franchise, which even healthy folks can find fascinating. (“Redskkkins,” anybody?) As I wrote a couple years ago: “For the last decade and a half, it’s been at least as easy to find a Samoan in the lineup (Al Noga and Joe Salave’a) than a Caucasoid.”
Unless, of course, you count the safeties.
The Redskins have long held a spot out back for a white guy. Gibbs I made stars of Mark Murphy, Curtis Jordan, and Brad Edwards. Richie Petitbon put Pat Eilers in the white-guy slot. Norv Turner had Eilers and Matt Stevens. (Derek Smith, who started at linebacker from 1997 to 2000, was the only non-safety white guy to get quality minutes on D during Turner’s seven years here.)
Far as I can tell, Marty Schottenheimer banished both Vinny Cerrato AND white safeties from Redskins Park for the 2001 season, but then Steve Spurrier overpaid to bring restricted free agent Matt Bowen here. Gibbs II started with Bowen on the back line, but he got hurt midseason in both 2004 and 2005. The Redskins looked desperate to keep the safety spot white when Gibbs brought Adam Archuleta from the St. Louis Rams with a record $30 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Doughty filled in when Archuleta went bust.
The Streakkk looked over in the 2008 season, when Doughty went out with a serious back injury, and younger non-white safety Chris Horton played like he was ready to make the job his.
But while Horton backslid with mistakes and injuries, Doughty, the Mediocre White Hope, worked his way back into the lineup after surgery, and had his best year as a Skin last season. And now we learn he’ll be back for 2010.