After 38 years as a Washington Redskins broadcaster, NFL Hall of Famer Sam Huff has decided to officially retire from full-time duties in the broadcast booth. His 14-year storied NFL career included eight seasons with the New York Giants (1956-63) and six years with the Washington Redskins (1964-69). He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1982.
In a statement released by radio station ESPN 980, Huff said, “I’ve enjoyed every game that I played, coached and provided color commentary over the last 50 years with the Washington Redskins."
Last year, citing "the rigors of travel," Huff reduced his role to only Redskins home games and away games against the Giants and Dallas Cowboys, according to a July 2012 press release by ESPN 980, which broadcasts Redskins games.
The Washington, D.C.-based radio station is owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
Known for his witticisms and observations of the game from inside the broadcast booth, Huff was part of the classic radio broadcast crew "Sonny, Sam and Frank"—a reference to former Redskins quarterback and NFL Hall of Fame member Sonny Jurgensen and retired D.C. sportscaster Frank Herzog.
Huff and Jurgensen together have been a part of the Redskins radio network since 1981.
For decades, Huff would provide one-liners that have since become stuff of legend.
In an ESPN Classic SportsCentury Biography, writer Bob Carter noted the following on Huff:
At 25, he became the first NFL player to appear on the cover of Time magazine (Nov. 30, 1959). He was described as a "confident, smiling fighter fired with a devout desire to sink a thick shoulder into every ball-carrier."
"We try to hurt everybody," Huff told Time. "We hit each other as hard as we can. This is a man's game."
In a 1960 profile of Huff which aired on CBS' 60 Minutes, Huff said, "Any time that you play football...there is no place for nice guys. You have to be tough."
Some Redskins fans and friends of mine still living in the D.C. suburbs have told me Huff was showing some signs of his age on the air. As a youth, I will never forget watching the games on television with the volume turned off and the radio broadcast of "Sonny, Sam and Frank" playing instead.
After a football career spanning five decades as a player, coach and commentator, Huff will continue as a contributing analyst for the Redskins' pregame radio show. As they say, "You can take the man out of the game, but you can't take the game out of the man."
There are only a few Redskins game-day announcers in recent radio history due to their long history and relationship with the team, but there will be only one Sam Huff.