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Four to Root For In NFL Playoffs


The Redskins may not be in the postseason this year, but that doesn't mean there's no one to root for as the NFL heads into the Divisional Playoffs.

Four of the teams playing this weekend have players and coaches with strong ties to the Redskins.

-- EARNEST BYNER, Tennessee Titans

Byner played for the Redskins from 1989-93 and served as running backs coach under Joe Gibbs from 2004-07.

Among his pupils as an assistant coach in Washington: Clinton Portis, Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright.

Byner joined the Tennessee Titans last offseason as the running backs coach. He has helped oversee a Titans ground game ranked seventh in the NFL.

He helped develop the skills of rookie Chris Johnson, the Titans' first-round draft pick last April. Johnson rushed for 1,228 yards and nine touchdowns on 251 carries, a lofty 4.9 yards per carry average.

Third-year player Lendale White rushed for 773 yards and a team-high 15 touchdowns on 200 carries.

Byner was named one of the 70 Greatest Redskins in 2002.

Byner and the Titans host the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.

-- RYAN CLARK, Pittsburgh Steelers

Clark played for the Redskins a short time, but he quickly became a fan favorite.

He earned a Redskins roster spot coming out of training camp in 2004 and eventually worked his way into the starting lineup.

In two seasons in Washington, Clark started 24 of 28 games and posted 138 tackles, a half-sack and three interceptions.

He would go on to sign a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2005 season.

Last season, Clark started 14 games at free safety and had 87 tackles, one interception and six passes defended for the Steelers' top-ranked defense.

In Washington, Clark developed a close friendship with the late Sean Taylor and was a calming influence as Taylor adjusted to the NFL.

Clark pays tribute to Taylor every chance he gets. He reportedly wears a No. 21 practice jersey in honor of Taylor and in a game earlier this season he wore eye black with "21" on it. (The NFL fined him $5,000, incidentally.)

Clark and the Steelers host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

-- RUSS GRIMM, Arizona Cardinals

Grimm, a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, played center and guard for the Redskins from 1981-91 and earned four consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl from 1983-86.

As Redskins fans well know, he was an original member of "The Hogs," Joe Bugel's dominating group of offensive linemen who set the tone for the offense during the decade.

Grimm went on to become a tight ends and offensive line coach with the Redskins. He is currently serving as assistant head coach-offensive line with the Arizona Cardinals.

Grimm is helping develop a young Cardinals offensive line. The unit struggled in the run game, but showed strides helping Arizona to the NFL's fifth-ranked passing offense.

The Cardinals yielded just 28 sacks last season, 11th best in the league.

Grimm and the Cardinals take on the Carolina Panthers on Saturday.

-- RENALDO WYNN, New York Giants

Wynn played defensive end for the Redskins from 2002-06 and was an admired figure and leader in the locker room.

Wynn was also active in the Washington, D.C., community. Every December, Wynn's Family of Faith Foundation hosted a holiday shopping spree for underprivileged families at a local Target store.

Wynn was a solid, reliable player for the Redskins, starting 64 of 79 games.

After leaving the Redskins in 2007, Wynn has played for the New Orleans Saints and now the New York Giants.

With the Giants, Wynn is a reserve defensive end, seeing a handful of snaps per game. He has 25 tackles and two sacks--including one against the Redskins in Week 13--this season.

Wynn visited Redskins Park on a recent off day, so he still maintains close ties to the organization.

Wynn and the Giants take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

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