Redskins sign veteran LB Godfrey, release Marshall

ASHBURN, Va. -- Randall Godfrey is putting off retirement for the second year in a row, this time to help a Washington Redskins defense needing to fill a temporary hole because of an injury to Marcus Washington.

Godfrey signed with the Redskins on Tuesday and joined the team at practice, a 34-year-old linebacker deciding to give it another go even though he had just moved his family from San Diego to Atlanta to begin life after football.

"I had a ninth grader that was just starting high school, and that was the only thing I was worried about," Godfrey said. "He said, 'Daddy, go on and play.' And I said, 'Well, I'll give it another shot.' I had a few teams calling, and I thought this was the best position for me."

Godfrey's arrival wasn't nearly as surprising as the move that accompanied it. The Redskins cut Lemar Marshall, a versatile, well-liked player who anchored the middle of the defense during the 2005 playoff run. Marshall lost his starting job when London Fletcher signed as a free agent this offseason but had been expected to remain on the team as a reserve.

"We let him go early out of respect for him," linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said, "so he could have a chance to make another team."

The Redskins were looking for help at linebacker after Washington dislocated his right elbow in Saturday's preseason game against Pittsburgh. Washington is expected to be sidelined at least a couple of weeks, leaving his status for the Sept. 9 season opener uncertain.

"We felt this was someone who could really help us," coach Joe Gibbs said of Godfrey.

The signing hardly represents a vote of confidence in the other linebackers on the roster. The Redskins drafted a pair of them in April - Dallas Sartz and H.B. Blades -- but neither is ready to fill Washington's spot. Khary Campbell, a veteran special teams standout, took the first-team snaps at the strongside spot Tuesday while Godfrey took a crash course on the play book.

Godfrey has played for Dallas, Tennessee, Seattle and San Diego over 11 NFL seasons, including the last three with the Chargers. He had planned to retire after the 2005 season but decided to return because he felt San Diego had a shot at winning the Super Bowl.

Calf and hamstring injuries hampered him late last season but he returned to start in a playoff loss to New England. He then decided it was time to move back to his native Georgia instead of re-signing with the Chargers.

"We just couldn't get it done," Godfrey said. "I had a one-year deal on the table and had to take a pay cut after starting there for three years. They wanted to go young."

After his son gave him the OK to keep playing, Godfrey spoke to Arizona and Philadelphia before deciding on the Redskins. He was recruited heavily by defensive end Phillip Daniels -- "He's calling himself my agent, so I've got to pay him 3 percent," joked Godfrey -- and will also get to play again for assistant coach Gregg Williams, who was Tennessee's defensive coordinator when Godfrey played with the Titans in 2000.

While the Redskins players welcomed Godfrey, they expressed shock over the departure of the teammate known as "Catfish." Marshall was a feel-good story, an undrafted player who bounced from team to team before signing with Washington in 2001 and eventually working his way into a starting job. His play regressed last year, in part because of knee and ankle injuries, but the entire defense struggled as well.

"I'm very surprised," Campbell said. "He's done a lot for the Redskins."

Notes: QB Jason Campbell, who bruised his knee against the Steelers, appears unlikely to play in Saturday's game against Baltimore. "Today was my first time trying to jog and run on it, and it wasn't where I thought it was going to be," Campbell said. "At some point and time you've got to let your body heal so you're ready for the most important things coming up." QBs Mark Brunell and Todd Collins rotated the snaps in practice, and Gibbs wouldn't say which of the two would start if Campbell can't. ... LG Todd Wade (shoulder) took part in some drills, but Mike Pucillo continued to work with the first team. ... Two other players who missed the Steelers game -- WR James Thrash (chest) and RB Rock Cartwright (hamstring) -- returned to practice. ... RB Clinton Portis (knee), LT Chris Samuels (knee), WR Jason McAddley (hamstring) and TE Tyler Ecker (groin) did not practice. ... The Redskins signed WR Jerel Myers, who spent the last two seasons with Kansas City of the Arena Football League. He replaces Mike Espy, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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