Though he’s yet to play a game for the Redskins, newly-signed nose tackle Terrance Knighton may have already retired the trophy for the best nickname in D.C. sports history. At 6-foot-3, 331 pounds, his nickname “Pot Roast” seems a perfect fit. How does one pick up the nickname Pot Roast? As he explained:
“It was on a flight coming back from Seattle my rookie year in Jacksonville,” Knighton said. “It was a six-hour flight. Guys were tired. The plane was dark and the lady was walking down the aisle, saying, “Pot Roast? Pot Roast?’
“And I’m like, ‘Right here.’ My teammate behind me said, ‘You say that like that’s your name?’
“He said, ‘I’m going to call you Pot Roast from now on.’ I said, ‘Yeah, whatever.’
“So it stuck to me.”’
Knighton paused before adding, “It was either that or Shrimp Alfredo.”’
For the sake of comparison, let’s see how Pot Roast stacks up to other great nicknames through the years on our pro teams.
“The Dancing Bear” – Ron McDole, defensive end 1971-78. McDole was a less than muscular, 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, but was quick on his feet and able to get around slower offensive linemen.
“Stink” – Mark Schlereth, guard 1989-94. Schlereth grew up in Alaska where natives consider the heads cut off fish, a treat. They call the heads, “stinkheads”. After revealing this information to teammates, the nickname stuck. His radio show with on ESPN with George Sedano is called “Stink and Sedano.”
“Whiskey” or “Furnace Face” – Billy Kilmer, quarterback 1971-78. Kilmer answered to either one and after a night with the first one, he looked like the latter. Kilmer didn’t have much of an arm, but was a heck of a leader and took the Redskins to their first Super Bowl in 1973.
“Riggo” or “The Diesel” – John Riggins, running back 1976-85. Either one works, though “Riggo” seems to have endured long after his playing days ended. The way he ran, looked like a diesel truck rolling down the road.
“The Squire” – Jack Kent Cooke, owner 1974-97. Tony Kornheiser came up with that one during his column days at the Washington Post. Cooke liked to dress in tweeds and lived on a big country estate in Middleburg. It seemed to fit.
“The Big E” – Elvin Hayes, forward 1972-81. Nothing too creative here, just the first letter of his first name. However, fans who saw him play a the Capital Centre will never forget public address announcer Marv Brooks yelling “EEEEEE” when Hayes scored big baskets.
“Hot Plate” – John Williams, forward 1986-91. Williams came into the NBA at a svelte 235 pounds, perfectly fine for his height of 6-foot-8. But during his fourth year, Williams suffered a knee injury which ended his season after 18 games. While he was out, it was apparent that Williams spent more time eating than rehabbing. With John “Hot Rod” Williams also in the league at the time, “Hot Plate” seemed the perfect way to distinguish the two John Williams. Hot Plate’s career was over at the age of 28. He had literally eaten himself out of the league.
“Earl the Pearl” – Earl Monroe, guard 1967-71. Monroe never played in Washington, only Baltimore, but his retired jersey hangs in the Verizon Center and he’s one of the greatest to ever play the game.
“Mad Dog” – Fred Carter, guard 1969-72. Another Bullet who only played in Baltimore, but you should know that before Sirius-XM personality Chris Russo had that nickname, Carter not only had it, but lived it on the court every night.
“Hondo” – Frank Howard, outfielder 1965-71. At 6-foot-7, 255 pounds, the name fit his size. He was the greatest player in the 11-year history of the expansion Senators and was one of the most feared home run hitters in the game.
“Super Jew” – Mike Epstein, first baseman 1967-71. Epstein is in fact Jewish and in those less-politically correct times, a nickname like that was considered okay. He’s a member of the Washington, DC Jewish sports hall of fame.
“Big Train” – Walter Johnson, pitcher 1907-27. At 6-foot-1, Johnson was considered big by early 20th century standards. He won over 400 games with a blazing fastball and may be the best athlete in the history of the DC area.
“The Chief” – Chad Cordero, relief pitcher 2005-08. Some have considered this politically incorrect, since Cordero is not a Native American. The reference was really to his command of closing out games for the Nats in their early days. Arm trouble shortened his career.
“Ovie” or “The Great 8” – Alexander Ovechkin, winger 2005-present. Both are related to his last name and jersey number. He has established himself as the greatest player in franchise history.
“Olie the Goalie” – Olaf Kolzig, goalie (of course) 1989-08. In hockey just about everybody gets a nickname. This one was low hanging fruit.
“Bugsy” – Bryan Watson, defenseman 1976-79. Watson was short on talent, but long on toughness. He was the enforcer, racking up over 22 hundred penalty minutes in his career. That gangster aura and first name with a “B” made it a natural fit.