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Theismann Honored, Saddened To Still Be Redskins All-Time Passing Leader

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Joe Theismann thinks a broken leg wouldn't have ended his career if he were playing today. (credit: Getty Images)

Joe Theismann thinks a broken leg wouldn’t have ended his career if he were playing today. (credit: Getty Images)

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Joe Theismann

106.7 The Fan

LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Joe Theismann is both honored and a little saddened that he still has amassed more passing yards than any other quarterback in Washington Redskins history.

The 25,206 yards Theismann tallied during a career that began 1974 and was ended suddenly by Lawrence Taylor in 1985 are better than Sonny Jurgensen’s 22,585 and Sammy Baugh’s 21,886.

It should come as no surprise that the top three passers all had long tenures with the Redskins. Everybody else has largely come and gone in just a handful of seasons.

“It’s a double-edged sword. I’m honored that I’m still there, but the other side of it is there’s been 30 quarterbacks in the 28 years since I left,” Theismann told the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “It’s sort of hard to get more than 5,000 or 6,000 yards when you’re rotating so many quarterbacks over such a period of time.”

He’s got an obvious and very valid point.

Robert Griffin III, who was deactivated for the final three games of 2013, is likely to crack the all-time top 10 this year. In two seasons, Griffin has passed for 6,403 yards and ranks as 12th-greatest in team history, one spot ahead of Mark Brunell. By passing for a modest 1,903 yards this season he can catch Norm Snead at No. 8. With a few more weapons in his arsenal, it’s also conceivable that Griffin could leap all the way to No. 7 and surpass Gus Frerotte’s 9,769 yards.

Griffin should leapfrog a host of others in the next few years, but has a lot of work cut out for him to catch the leader.

Top-ranking Theismann believes his tally would be much greater if he were playing in the modern era — and not just because of today’s pass-happy NFL.

“Back in the 80’s when you were 35-years-old, they couldn’t get you out the door quick enough,” he said. “And nowadays if you’re 35-years-old and halfway healthy, you’re looking at a $10 million contract for the next four years. There’s such a lack of quarterbacks with experience in this league.”

Theismann joked that Jeff Garcia was 67 when he was still playing just a few years ago.

Today, medicine may have advanced enough to the point where an infamous Lawrence Taylor induced fracture would not have proven to be career-ending.

“A lot of guys you see getting rods put in now. I don’t have a rod in my leg,” Theismann said. “The bone had a real good union and we thought it would be okay, but it would up with a 10-degree varus, which is a little indention above the ankle, which causes me to walk on the outside of my right foot. It’s a little bit shorter. All those things have led to knees, back, and hip issues as I’ve gotten older. But with a rod you can keep it basically the same length. And we see that with Kevin Ware who was at Louisville and now transferred. He’s back playing basketball. A lot of guys have been able to do it.”

Theismann said he was able to speak with Ware following the injury. He said he tries to help athletes recover from mental aspect of the devastating injuries.

Theismann has also consulted with Marc Mariani after the Tennessee Titans wide receiver broke his leg returning a punt in a 2012 preseason game.

The Roast of Joe Theismann is Thursday, May 8 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel. He’ll he roasted by former Redskins Jeff Bostic, Mark Moseley, Rick “Doc” Walker, and Doug Williams.

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