Not a meaningless game to these players

Not a meaningless game to these players
November 21, 2011, 3:23 pm
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About 30 minutes after the Redskins overtime loss to the Cowboys, I walked into the locker room and saw a starting player who had changed into his street clothes sitting on a chair in front of his locker. He was staring down towards the floor but at nothing in particular. I made the wise decision to find another player to talk to. A few minutes later, the player was up and answering questions from a gaggle of reporters.A few minutes later, Rex Grossman was addressing the media in the nearby interview room. Hes not the smoothest talker anyway but his words came haltingly and emotionally as he spoke of not being interested in silver linings and about competing in the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry.It stings more because as a player you understand how much our owner wants to win this game, he said. We understand how much the fans want to win this game.Jabar Gaffney caught six passes for 115 yards. Only twice in his 10-year career has he gained more yards receiving in a game. But he was in no mood to celebrate. Its disappointing, he said. We were in it had our chances and we just didnt pull it out.With the Redskins sitting at 3-6 coming into the game, many fans and members of the media have been speaking of meaningless games and playing out the string and angling for draft position.What these anecdotes demonstrate is how much the players wanted to win the game. They arent interested in being in position to draft Matt Barkley or Landry Jones. The vast majority of players wont step on the field for a professional football game, something they dreamed of and trained for since they were kids, more than a few dozen times in their lives. They have no idea how anyone could think that an NFL game is meaningless.Fans are perfectly welcome to root for whatever they want, including losing to get a better draft pick. And members of the media certainly can give up on covering the 2011 season and start writing about who may or may not be around next year.Just dont expect the players to be on board.