- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2000

Trying to use LaVar Arrington's exceptional speed in as many ways possible, the Washington Redskins yesterday practiced the rookie linebacker at defensive end in third-down situations.

The Redskins are exploring options to complement Ndukwe Kalu, who returns as their pass-rush specialist, or perhaps upgrade the position. During next month's training camp, the team will evaluate Arrington, the draft's second overall pick; Kalu and Marco Coleman, among others.

"It's wide open," said defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, who worked with the pass rushers yesterday. "Whoever makes more noise is going to win that spot."

Arrington, who has worked out as a second-string linebacker this week after missing last week for the birth of his first child, is expected to provide flexibility, even if he doesn't win first-string duties as a third-down rusher.

"People are doing so many things scheme-wise," coach Norv Turner said. "[Arrington] can walk up on the end and rush the passer. He can play linebacker and drop and cover, or drop and play zone defense."

Arrington isn't particularly big (6-foot-3, 250 pounds), but his speed sets him apart. Trgovac compared Arrington to Tennessee's Jevon Kearse (6-4, 265), who had 14 and 1/2 sacks last season and was named NFL defensive rookie of the year. But Trgovac also stressed that Arrington is just learning to play end.

"Right now he's just fast," Trgovac said. "He's got a lot of technique to work on."

Meanwhile, star cornerback Deion Sanders was at practice but not in uniform two days after signing a seven-year, $56 million free-agent contract. Wearing a sweatshirt, shorts and a backwards Redskins cap, Sanders did an individual workout and then looked on as the team went through its penultimate day of quarterback school.

Afterward, Sanders left Washington. He will not return until training camp begins in July.

"If he is appearing sometime between now and training camp, I hope I see it on TV from where I'm on vacation," Turner said jokingly.

Covering kickoffs

Running back Adrian Murrell worked out with James Thrash in the first-string deep tandem on kickoff returns. Champ Bailey and Chad Dukes were second-string, Skip Hicks and Marcus Stiggers third-string.

Murrell hasn't returned kickoffs regularly since 1994, his second season. To effectively replace Brian Mitchell, who was released last week, Murrell must show speed, agility and the ability to block for Thrash.

"I'm trying to get on the field as much as possible," said Murrell, who also hopes to become the second-string tailback. "If that's the way to get out there, that's the way I'm going to go."

Extra points

Rookies, quarterbacks and players returning from injuries will report to training camp July 17, three days before full camp begins. Those practices are not open to the public… . Veteran cornerback Darrell Green missed practice yesterday for a community function.

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