Ol' Ricky's Redskins Tales - Dave Szott + 3 Roster Cuts?
Ol’ Ricky can sorta remember John F. Kennedy’s death, 1960s riots, D.C. sniper and when Len Bias died, but the defining moment of our generation was 9/11. You knew the world had changed and in minutes the Pentagon was also hit on the edge of our city and friends and neighbors were also dead.
Redskins guard Dave Szott saw it vividly from his Morristown, N.J. home where he could see the Twin Towers fall. And, where his blind brother working as a stockbroker was feared inside.
It was a Tuesday when players were off and Szott drove home every Monday after practice for 36 hours with his family each week. Szott spent 2011 with the Redskins as a starter using one of the lowest stances I ever saw. He spent 11 years earlier with Kansas City and two years afterwards with the New York Jets, but this one season meant commuting from his hometown across the river from Manhattan.
Szott recalled what happened when returning to Redskins Park later in the week. He stood in his yard helpless as the rest of America watched the towers hit by terrorists eventually crumble. He’d seen those towers his whole life. This was beyond personal because Szott’s brother Kevin worked in one of the buildings. With cell service jammed, the family hadn’t heard from him.
Kevin Szott was blind and worked on an upper floor. Some 2,606 people died that day and the Szotts were praying for a miracle. Luckily, a co-worker led Kevin out of the building after the first plane hit and the pair were on a ferry leaving town when the towers finally fell.
Nearly 20 years later, I still remember Szott telling that story in the Redskins Park parking lot. It was so quiet without any planes flying overhead from Dulles International Airport. Sometimes it seems like every few minutes one causes you to stop talking until it passes. Now there was just silence.
Nowadays, Szott is the Jets team chaplain and a fundraiser for cerebral palsy.
Tomorrow: Turk Edwards. Lots of stories in my book and these are the types of tales I’ll tell on my “Pizza and Pigskins Tours” later this summer.
Rick Snider is an award-winning sports writer who has covered Washington sports since 1978. He first wrote about the Redskins in 1983 before becoming a beat writer in 1993. Snider currently writes for several national and international publications and is a Washington tour guide. Follow Rick on Twitter at @Snide_Remarks.