2 Minute Drill: Redskins vs. Broncos preview
Mike Shanahan's return to Denver dominates the story line this week as the Redskins travel to face the Broncos, but the head coach is not the only Washington face with ties to the Rocky Mountains.
Certainly Shanahan going back to the city where he won two Super Bowls and coached for more than a decade deserves center stage, but both Reed Doughty and Tyler Polumbus will encounter similar homecoming weekends.
For Polumbus, this weekend won't be an ordinary road trip. He grew up in Denver, played college football at Colorado University in Boulder, and even played with the Broncos in 2009.
"I've played a lot of games in that stadium," Polumbus said of Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile HIgh.
Another aspect not lost on the players is the amount of tickets they need to buy for family and friends to see them in action.
"My whole family is out there. I had to pick up plenty," Polumbus said. Asked what side his family would be rooting for, Polumbus scoffed, "they're rooting for me, they're Redskins fans."
While the Redskins may not know if Reed Doughty will be able to play on Sunday, it didn't stop the safety from also having to get a number of tickets for friends and family.
Doughty grew up in Greeley, Colo., and attended Northern Colorado.
"Heading back to Colorado is really cool because it’s the first time I've been back here," Doughty said. "First time playing pro football in my home state."
Unlike Polumbus, Doughty did not seem as confident in what team his family would root for.
"I'll have a lot of family and friends supporting me," he said. "Probably cheering for the Broncos but supporting me."
Both Doughty and Polumbus said they were Broncos fans growing up, and rooted for Shanahan. They expect the coach to be well received by the Denver crowd.
"I know he's well respected there. I watched him growing up, watched him win two Super Bowls," Doughty said. "That was a very big deal for Denver."
Known as Mile High, the altitude in Denver can pose a real issue for visiting teams, Polumbus explained.
"I probably adjust to it a little easier. It is real. You see guys come in and they get gassed," Polumbus said of Colorado's thin air. "It’s a real issue you have to face. We will be ready. Most of it is just knowing it’s going to hit you."
Despite the additional friends and family, a football game remains to be played, and pro football players tend to be able to block out the ether once the ball is kicked.
"When it’s all said and done, this game is no different than any other," Polumbus said. "We just got to go get a win."