- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green re-established himself as the team's fastest player, but he can't outrun the calendar much longer. After signing a five-year, $10 million deal yesterday, Green conceded for the first time he could become a role player after starting for 17 seasons.
"One of the great sacrifices that any great leader would have to make at some point is the sacrifice of playing time," Green said. "I don't want to be contradictory. If I'm committed to the team and the community and winning, then that means everything. That means if I'm starting or not starting. The bottom line is I want to win Super Bowls. If the decisions are made for me not to start … then I'm committed to that."
The Redskins are expected to push heavily for Dallas Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders, whose release is expected Friday. Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Denver are also interested in Sanders, but Tampa Bay could be the only serious bidder. Team sources said the Redskins' offer includes a $6 million-plus bonus. While Sanders has floated wanting a $10 million bonus in recent months, Washington seems the only team willing to go beyond $6 million.
If unable to sign Sanders, Washington also will consider free agent cornerbacks R.W. McQuarters (San Francisco), Tyronne Drakeford (New Orleans) and Phillipi Sparks (New York Giants). Green might start over any of that trio, but would become the nickel back behind Sanders.
"[Sanders] is one of the great players in this league and if he enhances our team then we have the best of both worlds," Green said.
The Redskins reworked the remaining two years of Green's original five-year, $12.5 million deal that included a $2 million bonus. The new deal also includes a $2 million signing bonus, meaning Green's salary cap number includes $800,000 for the combined contracts.
Green conceded the Redskins "didn't have to do anything" to keep him for the next two years, but felt the new deal was partly a payback for his record tenure as a Redskin and extensive community service.
"In the era of free agency, I have never been on a plane to travel to another team," Green said. "That's a tribute to [owners Dan] Snyder and the late Jack Kent Cooke. I believe in taking advantage of my influence and opportunity to better life for other people. It sounds corny for other people, but as a Christian it's what my life is all about."
Snyder recalled that his first memory of Green was hurdling over Chicago defenders when returning a punt in a 1987 playoff victory. The two have become close over the past year.
"From the outside, I always watched in greatness and wondered how spectacular a career Darrell was having," Snyder said. "From the inside after a year, I can tell you he's [not only] having the greatest Redskin career in history, but also the highest integrity Redskin I could ever imagine."
Green turned 40 in February, but reclaimed his fastest Redskin title after finishing fourth last year behind winner Albert Connell. Green covered 40 yards in 4.24 seconds. Receivers Michael Westbrook and Connell, running back Skip Hicks, cornerback Champ Bailey and receiver James Thrash in that order finished within one-tenth of a second of Green.
"There's a unique gift in this body," Green said. "It's not just because I didn't smoke or drink all my life. God has made a deposit in me and I've been a good steward of it."
Safety Mark Carrier was among teammates cheering Green's victory, saying, "If he ran a 4.5 people would still be very impressed."
Camp notes Rookie offensive tackle Kareem Ellis was released. A team spokesman said Ellis' arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated on Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C. "was a factor" in his dismissal… . Kicker Brett Conway signed a one-year, $472,000 deal as a restricted free agent… . Defensive end Bruce Smith will miss practice this week after the death of his father. Linebacker LaVar Arrington returns today after the birth of his child in Pittsburgh… . Running back Stephen Davis (ankle), safety Quincy Sanders (hamstring) and receiver Ethan Howell (hamstring) missed practice. Sanders and Howell are day-to-day, but Davis isn't expected to participate during the two-week workouts.


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