11-1-03, 9:10 p.m.
Wide receiver Kelley Washington talks about his first NFL touchdown catch and his ensuing, end-zone dance called "The Squirrel," in last Sunday's 27-24 victory over Seattle in this week's installment of his diary of a NFL rookie. He also talks about the matchup with another rookie receiver, the Cardinals' Anquan Boldin, a second-round pick from Florida State who is among the NFL leaders with 42 catches for 621 yards and two touchdowns. Washington, a third-round pick, is 9-106-1.
It was a big moment for me in the locker room after the game when Coach Lewis had the whole team up and around him.
He said there were guys that stepped up like Rudi Johnson, and Brian Simmons, a guy he said he'd been on a lot this year, and to go out and have the game that he did, and he mentioned me, that I had stepped up, and he said, "We got to see 'The Squirrel.'" To me, that was better than getting a game ball. It was a big win and it was in front of the whole team and everyone was listening.
"The Squirrel," is actually a dance they do in Florida and I just gave it my own taste. I would say it's a combination of the Ray Lewis' pre-game dance and the Kelley Washington strut. After I caught (the eight-yard pass), they were telling guys not to touch
me because they wanted to see it. Guys like Brandon Bennett, Chad, Matt Schobel. It was fun. It's something I've always dreamed of doing. Scoring a touchdown in the NFL and then dancing.
It was the first time I had done it in public since I went on "The Best Damn Sports Show," when I was coming out in the draft. I had done it for my teammates, they had seen it, and they love it. During the pre-game stretch, all the coaches kept coming up to me and telling me they wanted to see "The Squirrel," get loose.
It was a big game for me because I wanted to let Jon Kitna know that I'm going to be a target for him other than Chad and P.Dub (Warrick). I'm getting more comfortable with my assignments. I think it's just been typical adjustments that a rookie makes coming into the NFL, and I think my teammates and coaches are getting more confident in me because the coaches are coming up with plays for me.
The (eight-yard) touchdown was a great example of how you have to be ready no matter what's called. I was the third option. Jon couldn't go to the flat, and that's why I was in the back of the end zone as the last option when Kitna rolled out.
The route started to the middle of the field, trying to get the DB to turn his hips, and then I went back into the corner and got good position. I wasn't going to drop that one.
I'm not looking at the game Sunday in Arizona as a matchup with Boldin.
He went into a good situation where they had no other receivers. He's even playing better than the first-rounder Bryant Johnson. He's the primary receiver. They're throwing to him five, 10, 12 times a game, so he's bound to catch eight of them.
I feel like I'm probably one of the top receivers in that class. I was hurt in the draft because of my neck injury. Everybody knows I would have been one of the top picks in the draft. But I can't think about that. I'm trying to make the most of my situation and perform. That's all I can do.
He isn't better than any of the receivers in the class. He just went into a situation where he gets a good opportunity. I'm not going to take anything away from him because he's a good receiver, but he also went into a great situation.
I'm not trying to have a big game because of that. There are going to be rookie guys that go out and catch eight balls a game like Boldin, and there are going to be rookie guys that catch one a game or two a game. That's the type of situation there in. He's a No. 1 receiver, I'm a No. 3 receiver. Of course he's going to have more catches, he's going to have more opportunities than I have.
But when you're talking about talent, talking about the combination of what I can be as a receiver, I still think I'll be right there.