Chris Russell, who has spent the last year as the Redskins' beat reporter for 106.7 the Fan, will be taking his investigative talents to ESPN 980, the Redskins' radio home, according to Dan Steinberg.
Russell will be covering the Redskins at 980 (a job he'll share with Al Galdi), but his role will be more than just that. He'll be a regular on the late-afternoon Sports Reporters with Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin, and he'll be a large part of the game-day broadcasts, co-hosting the halftime show and doing breaking news and national updates from the booth with Larry, Sonny and Sam.
It's not the equivalent of Woodward and Bernstein being named to a cabinet position, but it is interesting. More after the jump.
As Steinberg reports, Russell hasn't exactly been the biggest Redskins fan boy during his time at the Fan.
Russell, like just about every sentient member of the Redskins media, was at times highly critical of the franchise over the past year. He told me that he was initially concerned how fans and fellow media members would view him upon joining Daniel Snyder's Red Zebra, but that he was assured he would have "total independence, total freedom, total 100 percent ability to say it how I want to say it and to report it how I want to report it."
Conventional wisdom would dictate that Russell will probably not be as critical of the Redskins while he is technically a member of the organization, but Russell seems intent not to let that compromise his journalistic integrity. I would expect to see much more straight news being reported from Russell, perhaps without some of his own analysis that in the past may have been deemed as critical.
As for the Redskins and ESPN 980, this is a smart move for a couple reasons. First, they gain a good reporter, while weakening the staff of one of their biggest rivals. Secondly, they take a voice that has spoken out against the organization in the past and add them to their team.
Maybe I'm being too cynical though. Either way, congratulations Russell!