- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2001

Washington Redskins center Cory Raymer is spending more than $2,000 for a home-field advantage Monday at Lambeau Field.

The Wisconsin native figures some of the 50 friends and family for whom he bought tickets will root for him instead of the hometown Green Bay Packers. However, that's 126 fewer tickets than Raymer purchased for a 1995 preseason game during his rookie year.

"I can't say they're all my friends, but at least half of them will be rooting for me," he said. "It's 'we'll send you a check.' It will bounce like a trampoline."

Raymer is a true cheesehead. In fact, he admits wearing the yellow foam wedge on occasion during the offseason. He just hopes friends don't don them during the game after heavy tailgating.

"They'll have too many adult sodas," Raymer said. "If they put one of those on it will choke them."

The Wisconsin city shuts down for a Packers game. Streets are often deserted. No-shows can be counted on one hand. That's why Raymer expects Lambeau to be raucous.

"They don't have much to vent their anger. It will be just as hostile," he said. "It will be good to go home, but I'm getting a lot of ribbing."

Raymer played for Wisconsin but wasn't greatly upset when the Redskins drafted him in the 1995 second round.

"I always thought it would be super cool," Raymer said of becoming a Packer. "But you learn in a real short instance that it's not the way it works. Getting a chance with any team makes you just as happy."

Raymer had one of his worst career games against San Diego on Sept. 9, including three muffed snaps. After missing last season with a torn knee ligament, he admits that returning wasn't as easy as expected.

"I was surprised at how [long] it felt I was away. Gradually, it has been better and better," Raymer said. "I now feel comfortable walking out in shoulder pads and hitting somebody. The first couple games it felt awkward."

Don't expect Raymer to try a "Lambeau Leap" into the crowd if the Redskins score, though.

"I'd break my nose," he said with a roaring laugh.

Health watch

A decision on right guard David Brandt (sprained knee) may not come until Monday afternoon. Brandt worked with starters yesterday, but the Redskins will consider starting guard Matt Campbell.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington and fullback Bryan Johnson will play after missing some practices with the flu. Arrington lost seven pounds but has worked the last two days.

Extra points

All NFL players will wear an American flag decal on the back of their helmets in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes… .

Cornerback Champ Bailey isn't concerned about facing Packers quarterback Brett Favre, a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player. Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Bailey has gained confidence this year.

"I don't think [Favre's] good enough to just beat me," Bailey said. "It would have to be something [gone] wrong. If I'm playing my best game I'll be fine."

Cornerback Fred Smoot isn't afraid of Favre, either. It seems Smoot predicted during a 1998 encounter that he'd later face Favre.

"I said 'One day I'm going to play you.' That day came real fast," Smoot said. "He smiled at me. I'm going to remind him." …

Don't look for running back Stephen Davis to be spelled during the game. Coach Marty Schottenheimer prefers staying with one back.

"They play into the fourth quarter with strength and power … but they take a tremendous pounding," he said… .

How are the Redskins planning to block Packers nose tackle Gilbert Brown, who supposedly weighs 339 pounds after losing 65 pounds?

"This guy is a load. You're not going to move him. You might be able to run around him, but he's a massive, massive guy. He's an anchor," Schottenheimer said.

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