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Redskins Past To Present: Jeff Bostic

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Redskins Past To Present” is a new series for The Redskins Blog during the offseason that catches up with Redskins alumni – some famous, some forgotten – that have spent time, long and short, in the Redskins organization.

With their time removed from the game, we hope to highlight the many former players and coaches that once wore the burgundy and gold -- we'll talk about their memories, their experiences and what they’re up to today, in no particular order, to give a snapshot of their lives as ex-football players.

Jeff Bostic is the only center in NFL history to snap to three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. He played 14 seasons with the Redskins and was a member of the team’s three championships as the center of the vaunted “Hogs.” He earned a Pro Bowl selection in 1983, is a member of the 70 Greatest Redskins and was inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame last season. Today he lives in Atlanta, Ga., where he does part-time work in apartment development. 

Now that you’ve had more time to reflect on it, what are your thoughts about being inducted into the Redskins Ring of Fame this past season?

That’s humbling. You look at the other people that have been recognized, and to think of an organization that’s 83 years old at the time, and you’re one of 47 people and your name is up there with Vince Lombardi and George Allen and Joe Gibbs and John Riggins and Larry Brown and Dave Butz and Mark Moseley, Charley Taylor, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Sammy Baugh. You’re talking about people that have done amazing things in my mind and in the NFL. To be a part of that is very humbling and certainly the great part of it is, of the people already enshrined, 19 of them I think already played with me or coached me. It’s good to be a part of the fraternity.

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Did you feel like you belonged? It seemed like you weren’t expecting to be honored upon the announcement.**

Well, I don’t know if anyone is ever ready to hear, “We’re putting you into The Ring of Fame.” Do I feel like I deserve to be there? I played 14 years for the organization. I know I’ve got to be in the Top 10 in games played. I played in four Super Bowls, we won three championships. I’ve gone to Pro Bowls. I don’t know what anyone else can expect to do in an NFL career. But it’s still something that, heaven forbid, my name’s going to be up there a long time after I’m dead, and that’s something my kids, my grandkids and my great-grand kids can go to FedExField or whatever stadium the Redskins are playing at at that time and there will be your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, whoever it is. It leaves a legacy for a long time.

When you look back on those Super Bowls, does each one have its own identity?

They’re all like your children. You could have five or six children and all of them are going to be different. Our first one, in my opinion, I’m in my third year, [Joe] Jacoby and [Russ] Grimm are in their second year, and we’re thinking, we need to do this every year. It was a great game and fortunately our offensive line had a lot to do with the outcome of it. Having John Riggins be named the MVP was basically, and somebody said it, the Redskins offensive line did their job. We go to Super Bowl XXII with Doug Williams and that game’s got its own story. The first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl…You have a running back that makes his first NFL start that’s in the Super Bowl that runs for 206 yards. Well, who was responsible for both of their successes? Our offensive line. And then we got to the ’91, and I think we all realized that…we knew the window was closing. I said this years ago, but the ’91 team is the best I’ve ever played on. We could do basically anything we wanted to offensively. We could run the ball and you couldn’t stop it. We could throw the ball and you couldn’t stop it. And defensively, we could put a pass rush on you, we could stop your run. That was a complete football team.

It was Joe Bugel’s 76th birthday just recently. Do you have a story you haven’t told anyone about what he was like as a coach?

He demanded excellence of us and it was an honor when we were called the “Hogs.” But once you get a nickname thrown on you, you have to keep that level of play up. One preseason game we were stinking the joint up in Tampa. He took us back in the shower at halftime and he basically challenged any of us to kick his [butt]. And there were so many of us that wanted to do it, but obviously we weren’t going to raise a hand to our coach. But, I think he made his point. We would get off track occasionally, not very often.  But it didn’t take him long to get us back on track either.

I remember reading about you guys getting fined if you forgot to wear your “Hogs” shirts at practice.

We had to wear our Hog shirts every Wednesday I think it was. And if you didn’t have it on it was a $5 or $10 fine.

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Washington Redskins great center Jeff Bostic, a three-time Super Bowl champion and original member of the Hogs, was introduced as the lastest member of the Redskins' Ring of Fame at FedExField Oct. 25, 2015.

You used all the fine money for end of the season meals. What were those like?**

I remember the first time we went to The Palm. I knew the general manager and I called him and said, “We’re going to have a ‘Hogs’ night out.” By this time the “Hogs” were big in D.C. We went and did a poster wearing tuxedo, top hats and tennis shoes. He said you guys take care of the food and the drinks are on us. I’m thinking, you’re going to lose pal [laughing].

Reflecting on all your accolades, do you hold any regrets about your playing career?

I have nothing to look back on with any regret. I maximized everything that I could possibly get out of my career. Aside from the injuries…I guess if you play 14 years you can expect to get hurt, and certainly you carry the injuries with you the rest of your life. I need a right knee replaced. I need my left shoulder operated on. But you play a tough sport.

From your perspective, how would you rate the Redskins this past season and the direction they’re headed?

I think they finally found their quarterback. That is so important in NFL, because if you don’t have a [good] quarterback, you can’t win. Last year I think Trent Williams proved he is the quarterback. Now what they need to do is build around that. I think they certainly are going to be freed up a little bit with the departure of some of the people they have released. They still need an offensive lineman, they need a wide receiver…you probably another defensive tackle or defensive end. What I like with Scot McCloughan, I like how he builds football teams. He builds it from the ball out… If you get the big boys, the little guys don’t have to be as important. That formula is not going to change.

In your mind, has the center position changed much since you played?

Well, the current center is asked to do some things I never did. We never snapped the ball from the shotgun. The shotgun was kind of coming on board. We tried one preseason, and it wasn’t that we couldn’t do it, and Bugel made a comment, he said, “We just don’t look good in this.” The beauty of the quarterback being under center: you can hear him. You play in hostile environments and this was before all the silent cadences and all that other stuff.  But offensive linemen you have two advantages. You know the play and you know when it starts.  But if you can’t hear your quarterback and you’re late off the ball, you lose a huge advantage…Other than the snapping assignments, the game probably hasn’t changed that much.

What’s a typical day for Jeff Bostic like?

We have built apartments for 15-20 years. So, my brother, myself and different LLC members, we have ownership in these apartment complexes. Most of it’s in the southeast. We’ve got complexes in North Carolina. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama. I’m actually looking to build another one in the Charleston area. I’m not retired, but do I work every day? No. Do I stay active, yeah.

How do you stay active besides dealing with apartments?

I play golf. I think I can get back into doing more physical stuff. I don’t run. I do try to walk considerable amounts at a time during the week, but running is out of the question right now.

And are you a popular guy around your parts?

You know, that’s why I moved. I had no anonymity in Washington and that’s what I loved about Atlanta. Nobody knows who I am. So that’s great. It’s amazing to me when I come back to the Washington area, it’s almost like I never left, and I’ve been gone 16 years…We had a great run in D.C., and whether it’s good or bad, we set the bar pretty high for the current guys. 

[This interview was condensed and edited]

Other Redskins Past To Present Interviews:

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