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Randle El: He's Proving His Game




It's no secret that Antwaan Randle El is a multi-dimensional threat on the football field, whether by returning punts, running reverses, catching passes or completing throws like the one where he hit Hines Ward for a touchdown in Pittsburgh's win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.

He dazzles fans every which way.

But Antwaan Randle El the person also deserves note. The thing that stands out about him is the zestful way he carries himself.

"He's got a passion for everything," Redskins wide receiver Brandon Lloyd said. "Anything in his life, whether it's his family or football, he's got a passion for it. He's just one of those guys who play with so much excitement, you want to do well for him. You don't want to let him down. That's just kind of the player he is."

Continued Lloyd: "Guys want to block for him on punt returns because they know what he can do. We want to block for him when he gets the ball in his hands, whether it's a pass or reverse or whatever. We want to make plays for him because he's magical."

It's notable that Lloyd speaks so highly of Randle El. During the Redskins' 36-22 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, FOX television cameras picked up what appeared to be strong words exchanged between the two players.

In this case, appearances were deceiving. Both players are good friends and the words were just, well, words.

The Redskins signed Randle El last March as a free agent, expecting him to become a strong addition to a receiving corps that also features Santana Moss, Lloyd and tight end Chris Cooley. As the offense has experienced highs and lows through the first half of the season, so has Randle El.

All of that changed, though, on Week 7 at Indianapolis.

Prophetically, Randle said this in early October: "We're very close to taking one to the house. It's just a matter of making one more guy miss, or a matter of getting one more block."

His 87-yard punt return for a TD was one of the few Redskins' highlights on an otherwise frustrating afternoon. A native of Riverdale, Ill., Randle El had a large contingent of family members and friends at the game and he did not disappoint them or Redskins fans in general.

With his quite spectacular 87-yard trip to the end zone, Randle El showed why the Redskins' brain trust thought so highly of him, ever since he came out of the University of Indiana in 2002.

Says fellow Redskins receiver James Thrash: "Just his passion for how he plays the game and how he prepares is awesome. He always works really hard, and when he gets out on the field on Sundays, it shows."

His teammates are confident he will continue to show the brilliance that enabled him to amass 2,015 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, plus 1,594 punt return yards and four scores, in his first four NFL seasons--all with the Steelers.

"The guy's a playmaker, and you just get excited when he touches the ball," Thrash said. "Anytime he touches it, you know he can make something happen, so it's just been awesome to watch him. The things he does I wouldn't even attempt to try to do. Not many people are molded like Antwaan."

Through six games, his biggest moment as a Redskin came in the 31-15 win at Houston when he caught a screen pass from Brunell and dashed 23 yards for a score, breaking tackles along the way.

With nine games remaining in the regular season, you can bet Antwaan Randle El will be working hard to show his magic. He sure looks like the Redskins' best candidate to give them a lift.

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