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Reflections on Rich Tandler and a life well lived

Reflections on Rich Tandler and a life well lived

I haven’t felt this way since my father passed last April. I’m not comparing the two, at all, but there were some similarities.

Rich Tandler had life experience. Few people accomplish what he did; total life reinvention. 

Think about that. 

After raising his two successful children and a lifetime in the restaurant business, Tandler created a blog. That blog became big enough to eventually become a full-time job, and over time, put him on television and send him all over the world. 

That’s wild. 

We get so caught up in the “startups” and “disruptors” from Silicon Valley that we missed a true internet success story in Rich Tandler. Our world has become extra cynical. The loudest snark wins, especially on the internet. 

Tandler didn’t trade in those currencies. 

He provided good, quality information. He provided insight and analysis from six decades of obsessing over a football team. 

And fans loved him for it. 

The outpouring from folks that read "Need to Know" or listened to the podcast has been incredible. I’ve been flooded with messages from people, and one overwhelming response is that while they didn’t really know Tandler, they feel like they did.

Well, I was lucky to know him pretty well. And his persona on air was the same way off air. 

Tandler helped me a in a lot of ways. I can be impulsive and have a temper, Tandler would calm me down. Whenever I had something important to say, news to break or a sharp angle of criticism, I would run it by Tandler first. Sometimes, maybe often, I would say too much, and he would reign me in. 

Tandler loved pointing out mistakes. If the universe gave honorary degrees for pointing out minor math errors in salary cap blog posts, Tandler would have a Ph.D. 

He was smart and he was sharp. Good natured but feisty. 

He could dish it out plenty in a media room full of alphas. And he literally dished it out; Tandler controlled all the plastic utensils and paper plates that every media member used at Redskins Park. When we were running low on forks, Tandler would put out some not too subtle calls to action. 

I think for a while he considered the podcast an annoyance, but somewhere along the way, we had a breakthrough. He realized its potential, and everywhere we went, listeners came up and told us how much they enjoyed it. 

That made an impact on RT. And seemingly overnight, he was all in. That’s when things really started to gain steam. Wherever I am in my career, Tandler played a huge role in it. 

But that kind of doesn’t matter now. We will keep the pod going but it will never be the same. Not better, not worse, but way, way different. Same thing with writing and TV. The show will go on, but it won't be the same. It will never be the same. 

In the hours since I learned of Tandler’s passing, I’ve done some reading. I drank a bunch. And I ended up landing on some YouTube videos. 

The one I kept going back to was Jimmy V’s famous ESPY speech. Before he died, Jimmy V implored us all to think, laugh and cry every day, and that would lead to a good, full life. 

If there was ever a dude that laughed, it was Rich Tandler. 

His belly laugh was contagious, and his wit was superior. There were the wacky Tandler’s Got Jokes, and the sly one liners about players, plays and our road antics. 

It wasn’t all laughter either. Tandler was smart as hell, and he was always thinking about new ways to present content for Redskins fans. 

Seriously, our organization employs an army of young and talented digital-first thinkers. And Tandler generated more web traffic than all of them. He constantly tried to figure out why people would read something, or the optimal time for us to drop a new podcast. 

Where I’m an idea guy, Tandler was all execution. I’m a terrible planner and constantly late. Tandler would be on time and busting my chops about our lack of schedule. It’s just how we operated. 

As for crying, Tandler didn't do it much. I did see him tear up from laughing a few times, and once because it was real windy when we were taping a segment and something got in his eye. 

I’m not much of a crier either. I’m glad that Jimmy V was, but it’s just not me. 

Thinking about Tandler though in the last 36 hours, there have been some truly hard moments. He was kind and gracious. A true gentleman. 

He never took personal shots at the team we cover, or their front office. Plenty do. He would certainly say when things were bad, and say it loudly. He was binary in a world full of context. 

He was a good dude. He was my coworker, my partner and my friend. 

And damn if it isn’t getting dusty in here all of a sudden. 

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Derrius Guice lands on injured reserve for third time in two years

Derrius Guice lands on injured reserve for third time in two years

Derrius Guice's 2019 season is over.

After suffering an MCL sprain to the same knee he tore the ACL in a year ago, the Redskins are placing the running back on injured reserve.

This will be Guice's third time landing on IR in just two NFL seasons. He landed on the list after tearing his ACL in August of 2018, costing him his entire rookie season. Guice was placed on IR earlier this season after he tore the meniscus in his other knee during the Redskins Week 1 loss to the Eagles, causing him to miss the Redskins next eight games.

The move this time is prioritizing Guice's health for the 2020 season and beyond. Theoretically, if the Redskins were to be in the playoff hunt, Guice could have recovered in time to play again this season. But with the Redskins 3-10 and eliminated from January football, the organization values Guice's health in the future more than playing in three relatively meaningless games this season.

Since returning from his meniscus injury, Guice seemed to be hitting his stride. In Week 13, Guice rushed for a career-high 129 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries. Before suffering the MCL sprain on Sunday, Guice was well on his way to another big day. He finished with 42 yards on five carries, including a 23-yard run.

The 2020 offseason will be the first time Guice has a full offseason healthy to workout and prepare for the coming year since entering the NFL. Although he's played in just five career games, Guice has shown plenty of flashes of how good he can be.

Staying healthy is the No. 1 priority for No. 29 moving forward, and the Redskins are doing their best to make that happen with this move.

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Redskins cornerback Simeon Thomas suspended four games for violating NFL's drug policy

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Washington Redskins/Redskins.com

Redskins cornerback Simeon Thomas suspended four games for violating NFL's drug policy

Cornerback Simeon Thomas' time in Washington is likely over.

Thomas has been suspended without pay four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced on Tuesday. Since there are only three weeks remaining in the 2019 season, Thomas is not eligible to play until Week 2 of the 2020 season.

The Redskins signed Thomas before Week 2 after an injury to cornerback Greg Stroman. Thomas has played in all 12 games for the Redskins since in primarily a backup role. 

Ironically, Thomas had the most action he's seen all season this past week. The second-year cornerback played 39 defensive snaps on Sunday in place of Quinton Dunbar, who was forced to exit early due to a hamstring injury. Fabian Moreau was also dealing with a hamstring injury as well.

Thomas was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2018 draft but waived during final roster cuts. He spent time in the Seahawks organization for parts of 2018 and 2019 but was never promoted to the active roster.

With Thomas suspended and injuries to Dunbar and maybe Moreau, there's a chance Josh Norman returns to the field. Norman was benched prior to the Redskins Week 12 win over Detroit due to his ineffectiveness.

Now, the Redskins may not have a choice but to play their highly-priced cornerback who will likely be released this offseason.

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