Throughout the 2009 regular season, the Redskins are putting a spotlight on a Hall of Famer each week. This week: Wayne Millner.
When Wayne Millner joined the Boston Redskins in 1936, the news so excited the team's new head coach, Ray Flaherty, he promised to resign if "we don't win the championship with that big Yankee playing end."
The Redskins did win the Eastern Division title that year and Millner, a star on both offense and defense, was a major contributor.
For the next few seasons during which the Redskins, who moved to Washington in 1937, won two more divisional titles and one NFL championship, Millner became the favorite target of the brilliant passer Sammy Baugh.
The two combined for many a blockbuster play during some of the Redskins' finest seasons.
In the 1937 championship showdown with the Chicago Bears, Baugh threw touchdown passes of 55 and 78 yards to Millner, then used him as a decoy when he threw the game's winning pass to Ed Justice. Millner wound up with nine catches for 160 yards,
Millner was among the last of the outstanding two-way ends. When he wasn't catching Baugh's passes, he was blocking for him. He was competitive, determined, and known for his sure hands.
Millner was always at his best when the stakes were the highest and the pressure was on full force.
Millner, who entered the Navy after the 1941 season, would up his 7-year career in 1945 with 124 receptions for 1,578 yards and 12 touchdowns, which were the best ever for a Redskin at that time.
Had he played for any other pro team, he might have captured more headlines but the Redskins had Baugh who gained most of the publicity.
There may also have been one other factor. So often did Millner deliver under pressure, the press and fans and even his own coaches came to take his clutch performances for granted.