- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

The Washington Redskins will sign kickers Eddie Murray and Scott Bentley along with special teamer Kenny Shedd today, according to team sources.

The Redskins must cut two players to handle the three newcomers with Murray replacing kicker Kris Heppner, who was released on Monday. The Redskins also worked out kickers Jon Baker, Jimmy Kibble and Dan McGuire, who have little to no NFL experience, and special teamers Corey Chamblin and Ruffin Hamlin at Redskin Park.

Murray will handle field goals and extra points while Bentley will kick off. Murray, 44, has played 244 games over 18 seasons, converting 344 of 454 field goals with 1,564 career points. However, since spending 1995 with Washington, Murray kicked for Minnesota in 1997 and Dallas for four games last year while missing 1996 and '98.

Murray's experience made him the easy front-runner, though he can no longer kick off deep. Given the beleaguered kickoff coverage unit, coaches decided Bentley was needed more than another reserve. Bentley spent training camp with Denver, but the Florida State kicker hasn't played in the regular season.

Shedd played last season for Oakland where he blocked a punt against Kansas City. However, the receiver doesn't fill the kickoff coverage unit's specific need for an inside player with his outside speed role.

Meanwhile, Redskins defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield will stand trial for domestic battery today at Fairfax County's (Va.) Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court after a motion to continue the case was denied yesterday. Stubblefield, 30, was arrested on Sept. 20 following a physical altercation with his wife, Kim. If found guilty, Stubblefield could be suspended by the NFL under its zero tolerance policy for domestic violence.

Murray becomes the Redskins' fourth kicker this season. Along with Bentley, the Redskins have used 11 kickers during Turner's seven seasons. Team sources said the change came at the insistence of owner Dan Snyder after the 16-15 loss to Arizona on Sunday when Heppner missed two late field goals. However, the steady turnover no longer phases players.

"It's like an everyday occurrence" said defensive end Kenard Lang. "It's like 'all right, there's a new kicker coming in. Who else is going to be next?' "

Ironically, former Redskins sixth-rounder Jeff Hall signed with St. Louis yesterday as a kickoff specialist. The 1999 pick recently worked out for Washington when it chose Heppner. Former Redskins kicker Brett Conway worked out for the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday.

Punter Tommy Barnhardt said holding for yet another kicker this season won't force him to change his technique.

"It's not that difficult for me as it will be for the kicker," Barnhardt said. "That kicker has to be comfortable with me getting the ball down, the laces in front and the spot proper. That just comes with time."

The Redskins practiced for the first time since losing to Arizona. The team gets a break until Monday after today's practice because of Sunday's open date. They'll work out Monday, then take two days off before resuming preparation for St. Louis on Nov. 20.

Quarterback Brad Johnson (sprained knee) and guard Keith Sims (sore heel) missed practice. Linebacker Shawn Barber (sprained knee) resumed workouts after missing two games while cornerback Darrell Green (strained calf) ran sprints following a three-game absence. All but Johnson are expected to play against St. Louis.

Players were still stewing over the Arizona loss that may cost Washington (6-4) not only a first-round playoff bye, but possibly the NFC East title to the New York Giants (7-2).

"We have too much talent on this team to settle for 6-4," running back Stephen Davis said. "I've made mistakes. Guys on the team have made mistakes. We haven't made the plays when we really needed them. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, but we have to come together as a team."

Receiver Albert Connell rebuked critics who said he should be benched after just three catches in two games since gaining 211 yards on seven catches against Jacksonville on Oct. 22.

"Everybody's talking about how I've got to be consistent, but I can only get what's given," Connell said. "I can't do more than what I am trying to do… . Everybody's talking bad about me. Certain guys say I need to be benched. If I need to be benched or I shouldn't be playing, coach [Turner] would handle that. I'm not going to worry about what people say."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide