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Dealing with internal competition

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When Billy Kilmer joined the Washington Redskins in 1971, people wondered how the feisty quarterback would interact with the team’s established quarterback, Sonny Jurgensen.

Consistently competitive, even in their high jinks — Kilmer got tossed in the slammer for trying to pay for a cup of coffee with a $100 bill — the two also worked surprisingly well together.

For instance, Jurgensen helped his new rival with various aspects of the game, including improving his grip and turning his hips into the throw. When Kilmer explained that his small hands prevented a good grip, Jurgensen started teasing him in the press for having a “birth defect.”

The pair had a string of good seasons together, fueled by competitiveness and camaraderie. Kilmer, who at age 67 now lives in Florida, still stays with Jurgensen when he comes to Washington.

—Adapted from “Sonny, Billy & the Boys,” Kim Isaac Eisler, Washingtonian.

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