- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Punter Matt Turk says he wants to be cut by the Washington Redskins, but team sources say such a move isn't imminent.

Turk said he felt insulted by front office accusations earlier this season that he injured a finger in a pickup basketball game he maintains he was hurt during a Redskins game and by reports he might be cut because of it. And after recent stories reported the front office again is ready to cut him, Turk said he wants to play elsewhere.

"I'm hoping what I read is true," Turk said. "It's just the way this organization has treated me and the way things have gone. I'm really looking forward to a fresh start."

However, team sources said the Redskins first will consider trading Turk and still may not release him. The three-time Pro Bowl punter is coming off his worst season, one troubled by finger, back and neck injuries. Still, he punted well in the final weeks and in Saturday's playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers landed three punts inside the 10-yard line.

But Turk is angry about the prospect of being released and by reports that his brother, long-snapper Dan Turk, will not be re-signed because of a bad snap that prevented a potential game-winning field goal in the 14-13 loss at Tampa Bay.

"I felt like I've contributed a lot to this team," Matt Turk said. "I've gone to three straight Pro Bowls. I realize I had an off year this year and maybe I shouldn't have played injured and saved myself some bad stats. But I've always wanted to be out there and contribute to the team.

"It's unfortunate… . Instead of someone calling me, I have to read it in the paper. To me, it's not the right way to do things. It's a backhanded way to do things. It's not a very nice way to be treated. I think I deserve better."

For now, Turk has two years remaining on his contract. The Redskins don't have to cut him before late August.

"I was expecting to be talked to by someone, and no one has," Turk said. "It's just a matter of waiting until someone calls me and says they want to talk to me."

Dan Turk didn't attend the final players meeting and will have his season-ending physical at a local doctor's office. Several teammates found reports that Dan Turk will not return next season disturbing.

"There were a lot of plays we all wish we had back," quarterback Brad Johnson said. "A missed block, a bad throw, a bad play. That was one that got away from him. He had a great career, and you hate to see someone finish a season like that. You never know if the kick would have been good or bad."

Said receiver Michael Westbrook: "You practice all your life for a big moment and totally screw it up, and guys [are] released because of that."

Several other longtime veterans also may have left Redskin Park for the final time. Defensive tackle Marc Boutte said his six-year career with the Redskins is over after the final year of his contract was voided. Boutte started from 1994 to '97 before the Redskins signed high-priced tackles Dan Wilkinson and Dana Stubblefield in 1998. Boutte was often inactive this season.

"There's no way possible I come back. My time here is done," he said. "I thought I should have left a year ago. Things happen. I'm disappointed. I can still play the game at a high level, and I expect to be treated fairly in free agency. I had a great six years here, but it's time for me to move on."

Safety Darryl Pounds also said he doesn't expect to return. The third-round pick in the 1995 draft started only four games and was moved from cornerback this season because of poor play in nickel coverage.

"I can play football, so I'll have a job somewhere," he said.

Guard Rod Milstead and linebacker Twan Russell also were not sure they would return. Milstead, a Waldorf, Md., native, played little this season after starting 10 games last year. The eight-year veteran hopes to end his career here.

"I want to contribute more," he said. "I feel like I could have done more for this team. I would love to stay here. It's my home."

Russell finished the season on injured reserve for the second straight year. The 1997 fifth-round pick has been a solid special teams player.

"I have no regrets," he said. "The Redskins took a chance on me. I was a guy that wasn't supposed to be here."

Meanwhile, Wilkinson said he'll undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder next week and will need a month of rehabilitation. Wilkinson underwent extensive surgery on his left shoulder last year.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide