Former Ravens QB John Beck now a cult hero in Washington

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He has skin like an armadillo. He keeps wrestling championship belts in his locker. He poses for photos with dead animals. He has had a rocket arm since he was an infant. His mullet has become legendary. Former Ravens third-stringer John Beck is suddenly the most interesting quarterback in Washington.

Beck, whom the Ravens traded to the Redskins last summer for some cornerback named Doug Dutch, has become a cult hero down in D.C. -- thanks in large part to Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post -- after Beck said in an interview last week that he is "thinking I'm the starter" for the Redskins in 2011.


"I basically say, 'Screw the awkwardness.' I'm trying to be the starting quarterback," Beck told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I'll call whoever, try to set whatever up. If you don't think like a starter and act like a starter, your teammates probably aren't gonna believe you're the starter. So I'm thinking I'm the starter."

With Donovan McNabb on the outs in Washington and Rex Grossman scheduled to be a free agent, it might actually happen. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan praised Beck after the team opted against taking a quarterback in the draft, saying that he had Beck as the highest-ranked quarterback in the 2007 draft.


OK, so that was the JaMarcus Russell and Brady Quinn draft, but still, Shanahan clearly likes the guy.

So does Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who lobbied for the Ravens to sign Beck when the former second-round pick was released by the Dolphins after the 2008 season. Cameron was the head coach in Miami during Beck's rookie season, and that familiarity led to a one-year reunion in Baltimore. But when the Ravens signed Marc Bulger last offseason, Beck and fellow backup quarterback Troy Smith became expendable.

Beck hasn't thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2007, when he threw for 559 yards and one touchdown in five starts for the 1-15 Dolphins. He chucked three interceptions and coughed up five fumbles during his short tenure as starter, and was on the sidelines when the Dolphins got their lone win against the Ravens.

Besides torching the Falcons in a meaningless preseason game, Beck didn't do anything in Baltimore that suggested he could be a full-time NFL starter. He couldn't supplant Troy Smith as Joe Flacco's backup -- and that's not meant to be a knock on Troy -- so I doubt he will succeed with the dysfunctional Redskins. And I'm not the only one who feels that way about the 29-year-old -- as you will see if you click here, here and/or here.

Beck may have skin like an armadillo and a sweet mullet -- I know, "sweet mullet" is being redundant -- but his cult hero status won't last long if the living legend actually steps under center in D.C.