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L-P graduate, former Washington player Joe Rutgens says new mascot ‘as good as any’

La Salle-Peru graduate Joe Rutgens, a former member of the Washington football team, said while he didn’t really know why the franchise had to change its mascot, the new one “is as good as any.”

The Washington football team announced Wednesday it would be the Commanders moving forward after two seasons without a mascot.

“I didn’t really even think about it,” Rutgens said. “When they said they were going to change it, I knew I was going to keep all my stuff. That’s not getting changed.”

Rutgens, who was born in Cedar Point, played defensive tackle for Washington from 1961-70.

He played in 110 games with 99 starts and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection.

Rutgens was drafted in the first round (No. 3 overall) by Washington in the 1961 NFL draft after earning All-American honors at the University of Illinois. He was also selected in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 1961 AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders.

Rutgens said he does appreciate the team is keeping the burgundy and gold color scheme.

“I always did like the colors,” Rutgens said. “I’m glad they’re keeping that the same.”

Rutgens said he didn’t hear anything from the team during the process of changing the mascot.

“I never heard a word,” Rutgens said. “I keep in contact with one of the guys out that way. He keeps us in touch with what’s going on out there. He never really said anything about suggestions or anything.

“I didn’t follow it much. They were going to do what they wanted to anyhow. There wasn’t much we could say about it.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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