SNIDER: Redskins need to retire numbers of legends

Photo credit Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
The Redskins haven’t decided whether incoming safety Landon Collins can wear the late Sean Taylor’s No. 21. It’s a touchy and delicate matter.

But Collins' request is the perfect opportunity to end a nagging question of what to do with a handful of numbers of legendary Redskins.

Oh, the team has a ring of honor at FedEx Field, but the numbers should also be included. Obviously, with a 53-man roster plus practice squad the team can’t retire too many. It would cause a logjam in the future.

But let’s be real: nobody’s wearing Sonny Jurgensen’s No. 9, Darrell Green’s 28, Charley Taylor’s 42, John Riggins’ 44, Bobby Mitchell’s 49 and Art Monk’s 81. (Sammy Baugh’s 33 is the one number officially retired.) Really, who’d want that pressure on them? While some rookies don’t know of Sonny or Bobby, fans certainly do. And it would take two seconds for them to revolt over the use.

So why not officially retire the numbers this fall when the team has its “homecoming” game? The Redskins are always looking for marketing deals, so why not turn legends into cash and let fans wear jerseys with their all-time favorites? Sure, fans can do that now. There are plenty of Riggins and Jurgensen jerseys in the crowd, but officially retiring the numbers would certainly create a nostalgic surge.

The team also doesn’t let anyone use Joe Theismann’s 7, Larry Brown’s 43 or Dave Butz’s 65. There has to be a hard cutoff on the first wave of numbers, though, and the ones mentioned earlier are Pro Football Hall of Famers. Theismann’s 84 wins are the most by a Redskins quarterback while being the team’s only passer to reach two Super Bowls (and win one), so maybe Joey T. makes the future round of retired numbers.

Forget marketing mustard pants and helmets with the spear. Remember the team’s true greats by retiring their numbers.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.