Redskins' Millen goes 0-for-playoffs

January 27, 1992|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS -- Linebacker Matt Millen was the unluckiest member of the Washington Redskins in the playoffs.

Millen, who signed with the Redskins as a Plan B free agent this year, didn't get a chance to put on a uniform for the playoffs.

He was one of the two players on the 47-man roster who was put on the two-man inactive list for Super Bowl XXVI yesterday. He had the same status for the playoff games against the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions.

Millen's problem was that the Redskins played two run-and-shoot teams before playing the Bills and their no-huddle offense.

Millen seemed resigned during Super Bowl week. "Who am I going to play, the guard?" he said.

Millen said the disappointment is not that he didn't get a chance to play in the Super Bowl but that he didn't get to play in a game. He said he just likes to play, regardless of what the game is.

The Redskins signed Millen to be their starting middle linebacker on first downs against the NFC East teams because they are teams that rely on power running.

Millen will get a Super Bowl ring, making him the first player to get rings from three teams. He was on the 1980 Oakland Raiders and the 1983 Los Angles Raiders. The 1983 team was the last AFC team to win the Super Bowl.

The Raiders routed the Redskins, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. Late in the first half of that game, the Raiders made a last-second substitution of Jack Squirek for Millen. Squirek intercepted Joe Thesimann's "Rocket Screen" for a touchdown that made it 21-3 at halftime and turned the game into a runaway.

* The other inactive player for the Redskins was third-string quarterback Stan Humphries, but he was in uniform because he was eligible to play if Mark Rypien and Jeff Rutledge were injured.

* Rutledge, the Redskins holder for place-kicks, also was on his third team to make the Super Bowl. He was on the Los Angeles Rams 1979 team that lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV and the 1986 New York Giants team that beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.

* As expected, the Redskins activated safety Terry Hoage, who went on injured reserve with a broken arm, for the Super Bowl. He replaced Alvin Walton on the roster.

Walton was unhappy with the move and, according to his agent, Tony Agnone, probably will to be asked to be traded after the game. He was the team's starting strong safety when the season started, but when he suffered a shoulder injury, he not only lost the starting job to Danny Copeland but he also lost the backup job to Sidney Johnson.

* Buffalo's two inactive players for the game were quarterback Gale Gilbert, who dressed and was eligible to play if Jim Kelly and Frank Reich were injured, and backup offensive offensive tackle Mike Brennan, who didn't dress for the game.

Brennan, who grew up in Baltimore and went to Mount St. Joseph High (his parents now live in Easton, Md.), was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals and the Phoenix Cardinals but made the Super Bowl when the Bills signed him in December. Brennan is a second-year player from Notre Dame.

* As they announced earlier, the Bills placed safety Leonard Smith on injured reserve with a staph infection. Chris Hale, a third-year player from Southern Cal, replaced Smith on the roster, and Dwight Drane started in Smith's place.

* Despite Minnesota's reputation for fierce winters, the game could have been played outside yesterday. The temperature was 25 degrees, although the wind chill was at 4. The temperature got into the 40s earlier in the week, and the area got some snow Friday night.

* A year ago, Conway Bailey of Baltimore couldn't watch his son, Carlton, play in the Super Bowl on television because he was stationed in Saudi Arabia for the Persian Gulf War.

Bailey was not only in the Metrodome for yesterday's game, but he also was shown in the stands on the CBS telecast because the network ran a feature on him and his son.

* The pre-game show was the usual extravaganza featuring excerpts from such Broadway shows as "The Wiz," "Annie," "Chorus Line" and "The Music Man," although it was shown on television. It kept the fans occupied, though, because the stadium was virtually full an hour before the game.

* Celebrity watching: Donald Trump has fallen on hard financial times, but he apparently still can afford the $150 cost of a Super Bowl ticket. He and his girlfriend, Marla Maples, were among the spectators.

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