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Redskins Have Strong Ties With Terrapins

The University of Maryland has produced many players who have migrated down the road from College Park to play for the Redskins.

This season, rookie kicker Nick Novak and rookie wide receiver Rich Parson increased the total to 30 ex-Terps on the all-time Redskins roster.

The list includes such names as linebacker Neal Olkewicz, a catalyst during the Redskins' glory years in Joe Gibbs' initial reign, plus current Vikings head coach Mike Tice, a Redskins tight end in 1989, and 1950s era quarterback Jack Scarbath.

Two of the more recent Maryland players were tight end Frank Wycheck (1993-94) and defensive tackle Del Cowsette (2001-02).

Wycheck later played for the Tennessee Titans; he was the player who threw the lateral on the kickoff that was returned 75 yards for the winning score in Tennessee's 2000 playoff win over Buffalo, the play known as the "Music City Miracle."

Olkewicz enjoyed the most successful career of any ex-Terp to ever don the burgundy and gold. Signed as a free agent in 1979, he played middle linebacker for 11 seasons, starting 135 of 140 games from 1980-88 and posting nearly 1,500 tackles.

He retired after contributing to Redskins teams that won two Super Bowl titles, three NFC championships and four NFC East titles.

The Redskins got their first true look at Olkewicz when he was a senior at Maryland, where scout Mike Allman evaluated players at the behest of general manager Bobby Beathard.

Although Olkewicz would set a Terps single-season record for tackles with 188, the 6-foot, 213-pounder was small and slow compared with the average NFL linebacker. He was told he might be a late-round draft pick.

Olkewicz wasn't even that optimistic.

"I was not waiting to be drafted," he said. "I knew if I had a chance it would be as a free agent. I basically expected to be a special teams player for my career."

By contrast, Scarbath's Redskins career was brief and uneventful, although he's the most celebrated Terp to ever be drafted by Washington.

He played quarterback in the innovative split-T offense of legendary Terps coach Jim Tatum from 1950-52, when Maryland amassed a 24-4-1 record. The period included a 10-0 campaign--the only undefeated season in school history--that ended with a 28-13 upset of No. 1 Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl.

In 1952, Scarbath was a runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting, and the Redskins chose him with the No. 2 overall pick in the '53 draft.

It was a Maryland All-American again in the second round, as the Redskins picked bruising 250-pound tackle Dick Modzelewski, who had won the Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding college lineman in 1952.

But Scarbath and Modzelewski played only two seasons for the Redskins before being traded. Discarding Modzelewski turned out to be one of the more infamous moves in Redskins history.

He played eight seasons for the New York Giants and helped key a ferocious defense that also featured a middle linebacker named Sam Huff. That unit led the Giants to an NFL championship in 1956 and five more title game appearances.

In the 1960s, the Redskins had two ex-Terps on the roster who, like Scarbath and Modzelewski, are in the College Football Hall of Fame: linemen Bob Pellegrini and Stan Jones.

They starred on the 1953 Maryland team that won the national championship--the only Terps squad to do so--despite an upset loss to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Pellegrini went on to play for the Eagles before spending four seasons with the Redskins (1962-65). Jones, who played 12 seasons with the Bears before ending his career in Washington in 1966, is also enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The next decade, the Redskins had a Terp-trained offensive tackle, Walter Rock, who contributed to an offensive line that allowed only 11 sacks in the 1972 season, the second lowest mark in team history. The Redskins reached Super Bowl VII that season, losing to Miami.

A few years later, Mike Tice began playing quarterback for Maryland, where he stayed through the 1980 season. But an injured shoulder prevented him from putting much zip on the ball, so the 6-7 Tice tried out at tight end for Seattle as a free agent. He made the team, launching a 14-year career that included a 1989 stop in Washington.

Position Player Years
LB Dick Absher 1967
K Jess Atkinson 1986-87
RB Rick Badanjek 1986
LB Rod Breedlove 1960-64
DB Tom Brown 1969
LB Harry Butsko 1963
DT Delbert Cowsette 2001-02
C Dave Crossan 1965-69
LB Ralph Felton 1954-60
DT Stan Jones 1966
T Ray Krouse 1960
E John Lookabaugh 1946-47
B Jim Meade 1939-40
DT Dick Modzelewski 1953-54
QB Tommy Mont 1947-49
DT Bob Morgan 1954
T Joe Moss 1952
K Nick Novak 2005
LB Neal Olkewicz 1979-89
WR Rick Parson 2005
LB Bob Pellegrini 1962-65
TE Bob Raba 1981
T Walter Rock 1968-73
QB Jack Scarbath 1953-54
DB Ben Sciotti 1959-61
QB Dick Shiner 1964-66
TE Mike Tice 1989
RB Ed Vereb 1960
LB Eric Wilson 1987
TE-FB Frank Wycheck 1993-94

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