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Hamdan is the new capital quarterback


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Hamdan is the new capital quarterback


By Seth Polansky


(July 29, 2003) -- Following in the footsteps of a college superstar isn't an easy thing, but quarterback Gibran Hamdan made enough of an impact for Washington Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier to take a chance on him in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft.

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Even with all the offseason acquisitions by the Redskins, Hamdan is the next player to watch in the nation's capital. Not bad for a baseball player who lives just 30 minutes from FedEx Field.

Hailing from North Potomac, Md., Hamdan's first sport was baseball with football not far behind. And when the 6-foot-5, 239-pounder got the chance to play both at Indiana University, he jumped at the opportunity. But baseball was still tops on his list and the football team already had current Pittsburgh Steeler Antwaan Randle El, one of the most explosive college football players during his time.

"Growing up, baseball was the sport I played," Hamdan said. "But to be honest, I never dreamed that I would be a major league baseball player or anything like that. I just played it because I enjoyed it. In hindsight, (football) is the sport I am best suited to play professionally. I'm still raw and I have a long way to go. What people see of me now, I'm confident that five years from now it's going to be triple-fold."

It did take a little while for Spurrier to come to his decision. Hamdan was put through four pre-draft workouts and invited to the Redskins' facility in Ashburn, Va., for a tryout of local-area talent. But even after many coaches and scouts saw Hamdan, Draft Weekend was quiet for the most part. On the second day, picks were being announced faster and faster as the draft neared conclusion. But before it was over, Hamdan was taken 18th in the final round, No. 232 overall.

"At some point during my workouts and pre-draft, I felt I had a chance," he said. "I totally believed in my pre-draft workouts. I knew I had a shot to make a team. Like most people, I felt it was a long shot, but luckily the opportunity presented itself."

Steve Spurrier likes the physical attributes QB Gibran Hamdan brings to the table.

The first part of the draft was over -- being selected to a team and trying to make the final cut. But for any QB in Washington, the next step is to impress Spurrier. As a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who went on to coach another Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Danny Wuerffel -- the only coach ever to do so – not many people know signal-callers better than the ballcoach. Expectations are always high with Spurrier.

"I don't think he's hard on quarterbacks because of who he is and where he's come from," Hamdan said. "I think he's hard on quarterbacks because he believes you have to have good quarterbacks to win football games. And I totally agree. I think there are a lot of important things in an offense and there are a lot of important things in football. If you don't have a guy under center who is going to lead you to victory, it'll be hard to win week in and week out."

That's why Washington already has two very capable QBs on the roster. Second-year man Patrick Ramsey looks to be the favorite to start after showing promise as a rookie. New to the squad is eight-year veteran Rob Johnson and he knows something about winning as part of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl squad last year.

Hamdan will now try to earn the third-string position along with fellow rookie Brad Banks. After finishing runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and being named national player of the year by The Associated Press, Banks signed a free-agent contract with the Redskins. With two different styles of play, Hamdan and Banks have a lot to bring to the table. Neither may see any significant playing time this season, but stranger things have happened. Third-stringer Marc Bulger came out of nowhere to bring the St. Louis Rams back from the depths of despair in 2002.

"Pat and Rob have both been incredible to learn from and it was a great opportunity for Pat to start as a rookie last year. He had in his mind what I am going through now," Hamdan said. "When you have a guy like Rob who's obviously going to lead all the time and has a wealth of knowledge, been around a bunch of great players, he is somebody I look up to and try to follow his path. At this point in his career he still puts in the time, works really hard and takes care of his body. That's something I find very interesting. The fact that both Pat and Rob are great guys, very talented quarterbacks and have accepted me, I can learn from them."

With training camp under way, the masses that have never heard of Hamdan will see him become a part of Spurrier's aerial arsenal. He has the size and strength, and with proper refinement, Washington won't have to worry about going to the bench to find a capable quarterback in any situation.

"My goal initially is just to be a solid contributor to the team this upcoming season," Hamdan said. "I want to show my teammates that they can trust me in a game; earn my teammates' respect. I just want to show them that I'm someone they can rely on."

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Guest SkinsHokie Fan

I really liked Hammand at the first day of camp. His attitude seemed great and he just looked so happy to be there. You could tell her was a wide eyed rookie by the way he kept glancing over at the crowd during pre-practice stretching. This guy has a lot of potential and seemed like a real good, decent guy with character.

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New to the squad is eight-year veteran Rob Johnson and he knows something about winning as part of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl squad last year.

Uhhhh... well, maybe he know something about sitting on the bench and watching winning. Take a look at his stats last year when he did get to play: 88 attempts, 19 sacks (yep -- about 25% of the time he rolls back to throw, he gets sacked), 1 TD, and 2 INTs.

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