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Prioleau's Father A Big Redskins Fan


It's only natural that sometime on Father's Day, Redskins players will touch base with their dads for a meaningful conversation in which the younger generation gets a chance to express appreciation in some way.

In an unintended way, Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs may have helped facilitate that process when he cut short the third day of mini-camp practice by about a half hour due to the sizzling conditions at Redskins Park.

As an example, veteran defensive back Pierson Prioleau said one of his first tasks for later on Sunday afternoon was to place a call to his dad with this message: "Happy Father's Day." As soon as mini-camp ended, in fact, that was one of the most immediate things on Prioleau's mind.

Last year was special for Prioleau in that after six seasons in the NFL he finally landed with the Redskins. They happen to be the favorite NFL team of Peter Prioleau, the long-time fire chief of the small town of Alvin, South Carolina.

"When I was playing in San Francisco and Buffalo, I know my dad was a fan of his Pierson, and he had all the paraphernalia of those teams," the 5-11, 185-pound former Virginia Tech player said. "But when I came to the Redskins, it was really something big for him.

"I was really proud when we beat Dallas twice last year. But for my dad, a life-long Redskins fan, you can't imagine what that meant. He has all the videos of the Redskins in their Super Bowls. He watches that stuff all the time."

Pierson Prioleau, one of three brothers and the father of two young children, said his father was always his role model.

He added: "For me, it was never any celebrity or any sports figure. It was always my father who told me and showed me how to be a decent person, how to be honest, how to raise a family. So, Father's Day means a lot to me."

Prioleau went on to explain that his father wasn't really that involved in athletics, except for coaching a local amateur baseball team called the Alvin Braves.

When the Redskins signed Prioleau in the spring of 2005, they knew they were getting an experienced and smart player.

Prioleau stepped into many roles--including at nickel, dime, safety or special teams--to give his new team a lift. No matter what role he's asked to play, Prioleau comes prepared to play every week.

In the Redskins' 17-13, Week 14 at Arizona, Prioleau enjoyed his finest game as a Redskin. He recorded seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

"Sometimes it just all comes together for you," he said. "I play my hardest every play. Against the Cardinals, I just had the opportunity to make a few plays. You've got to take advantage of the opportunities when they come to you."

In the Redskins' 17-10 playoff win at Tampa Bay, Prioleau came up with a strong game marked by five tackles.

Asked about his first year with Peter Prioleau's favorite team, Pierson said: "Down the stretch last year, we had to play playoff-caliber ball against the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles over the final three weeks. We had to really focused and play fundamental football. That experience will help us in 2006."

As mini-camp came to a close early Sunday afternoon, Pierson Prioleau was thinking ahead, no doubt, to summer camp and possibilities for his second season in Washington. But at the same time he knew it was an occasion to honor a dedicated Redskins fan who works at the fire house in Alvin, South Carolina.

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