Skip to main content

Redskins free-agent signees wait impatiently to join practice

ASHBURN, Va. -- The offense wore white. The defense wore burgundy. The guys in limbo wore gray.

They are signed, sealed, delivered and healthy members of the Washington Redskins roster, but the players wearing T-shirts instead of jerseys are in a gray area -- literally. They could only watch and wait Saturday as they attended their first practices of training camp.

"They can't even work out in our facility," coach Mike Shanahan said. "They have to go somewhere else, so it's a little bit different, but everyone's dealing with the same situation."

Under the rules imposed at the end of the NFL lockout, veteran free agents were able to sign their contracts Friday night, but they can't take part in any physical activity with their teams until next Thursday, assuming a new labor agreement is in place.

"Very strange. Very strange," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "I get to be in the meetings, and I get a chance to meet everybody and be around the team and learn visually by watching practice, but we're all itching to get on the field."

So Cofield and Stephen Bowen, who are expected to solidify the defensive front now that Albert Haynesworth has been traded, were merely interested spectators as defensive line coach Jacob Burney worked players through drills. Cofield, wearing a black skullcap instead of a helmet, frequently studied a play sheet and occasionally took notes during the morning practice.

"They're disappointed that they can't participate until the rules say they can," Burney said. "To have them hearing the calls and looking at their positions and kind of going through those things mentally, you're getting something out of that. So that part is trying to find a silver lining in the cloud."

Santana Moss has been with the Redskins for six years, but he's also among the idle because he was a free agent who re-signed. He stood next to fellow receiver and new acquisition Donte' Stallworth, both with arms folded while the offensive coordinator explained plays Moss already knows.

Right guard Chris Chester, cornerback Josh Wilson and quarterback Kellen Clemens are the other players biding their time for the next few days. Sav Rocca will be in the same boat once he signs his contract, but he's stuck in yet another kind of limbo -- he's still in his native Australia awaiting a visa that will let the former Philadelphia Eagles punter return to the United States now that the lockout is over and he's found employment again.

Because Clemens can't do anything, Shanahan had only two practicing quarterbacks -- John Beck and undrafted rookie Ben Chappell -- so another undrafted rookie, Marc Verica from Virginia, was signed Saturday by the Redskins, according to the school. Verica will keep Beck's arm from wearing out until Clemens and can practice. Shanahan also expects to re-sign Rex Grossman to compete with Beck for the starting job.

After practice, the guys in gray not only left the field, they left Redskins Park altogether, hopping in cars to drive to a local fitness facility to lift weights. Then it was off to a local high school to do some running and other conditioning work.

No member of the Redskins organization can supervise those workouts. The players are allowed only to watch film, attend meetings and receive treatment from the medical staff while inside the team headquarters.

"It's like being in a lockout," Cofield said.

Added Bowen: "You just want to be a part of the team. I just can't wait until Thursday."

The first days of this year's camp are different in many other ways. Because the players aren't in football shape -- a result of not having the usual team-structured offseason conditioning program or practices -- the coaches are having to ease into the routine. Shanahan said he is leaning against having any practice in full pads through all of next week.

"Players get sore quite quick," Shanahan said. "We're not going to do what we would normally do in the first week of practice because we have not had those practices. So we're getting our players back in football shape, we're trying to keep them healthy."

Notes: First-round pick Ryan Kerrigan remained sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee suffered in Friday's practice. He wore a sleeve on his right leg and is expected to return sometime next week. "I took a knee to the leg, and it kind of stiffened up on me when I sat down," he said. ... The Redskins formally announced a full slate of roster moves, most of which were already known. The full list of players cut over the last few days: P Josh Bidwell, DE Phillip Daniels, NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu, C Casey Rabach, OL Mike Williams, WR Roydell Williams, RB Andre Brown, DT Rashaad Duncan, S Macho Harris, WR Taurus Johnson, RB Shawnbrey McNeal, P Sam Paulescu, WR Maurice Price, RB Chad Simpson and S Sha'reff Rashad. Undrafted rookies signed over the last two days: DB Dante Barnes from Norfolk State, FB Kevin Gidrey from South Florida, DB Tyrone Grant from Delaware, G Corey O'Daniel from Gardner-Webb and LB Kyle O'Donnell from Liberty.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.