For any offensive lineman, playing in 100 NFL games is a benchmark of longevity. The Redskins have two linemen, left tackle Chris Samuels and right tackle Jon Jansen, who have started at least 100 NFL games, all for the Redskins.
Samuels joined Jansen in the 100 club last Sunday when he started against the Dallas Cowboys, a game the Redskins won 22-19. Jansen started in his 100th game in Week 4 against Jacksonville.
Samuels, the Redskins' first-round (third overall) draft pick in 2000, earned his third Pro Bowl trip last year. He remains among the top left tackles in the game and is one of the more popular and recognizable Redskins.
The 6-5, 300-pound Samuels has missed all but four starts in his career.
"It means a lot to get to 100," Samuels said. "Everybody knows that the NFL can stand for 'Not For Long.' Most guys play something like 2-4 years on average in this league. For me to play in 100 games, and into my seventh season, it's a blessing."
Assistant head coach-offense and offensive line guru Joe Bugel has compared Samuels to Jim Lachey, a left tackle who starred for the Hogs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but distanced him from Joe Jacoby, another perennial All-Pro left tackle on the Hogs.
"He's a little different from Jacoby; he was one of the most powerful tackles that we've coached right here," said Bugel, who coached the Redskins' offensive line during the 1980s. "He's kind of like Jim Lachey--a great athlete, can pull, run, and does everything real well."
An Outland Trophy winner at Alabama, Samuels earned Pro Bowl trips with the Redskins in 2001-02, but he admittedly slipped somewhat the next two years. Bugel helped him re-establish his technique, and he is back among the league's elite.
"I'm back on track now," he said. "My confidence is high again. I feel like I'm playing at a high level."
Both Samuels and Jansen have emerged as pillars of the Redskins' offensive line. A pair of no-frills players, they have signed lengthy contract extensions with the Redskins, and are set to possibly "graduate" with the franchise.
How much longer can Samuels and Jansen play? They have only to look to former Redskins offensive lineman Ray Brown for inspiration. Brown, who rejoined the Redskins organization in late October in support role, played 20 years in the NFL.
Brown, who retired last offseason, played in 261 career NFL games, with 205 starts, including two last year at the age of 43.
"You know, he really is an inspiration," Samuels said. "He's also a freak of nature a little bit. But he beat the odds. We really admire Ray and he's truly a motivator."