- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 2, 2003

Weathering the storms

The Redskins certainly seem to play it cool whenever they invite fans out to Ashburn, Va.

The other time training camp was held at Redskin Park, in 2000, it was generally cool and rainy. Attendance was predictably limited, and the club, which had made headlines by charging admission (more on that later), ended up giving out plenty of freebies as camp progressed.

The weather hasn’t been as soggy this summer, and no practice has been rained out. But temperatures remain relatively cool, and the long-range forecast is for more of the same: a chance of rain each day, with temps generally in the low- to mid-80s.

Attendance actually hasn’t been bad. Yesterday morning 800 or 900 fans braved on-and-off showers to watch an entertaining full-pads practice. Wednesday afternoon had the biggest crowd, with more than 1,500 on a sunny, hot afternoon.

Today, although there’s just a 30 percent chance of a thunderstorm, the bet here has a boomer hitting about 1 p.m. It’s almost a Redskins tradition to have Fan Appreciation Day rained out, with a torrential downpour in Carlisle two years ago among the most memorable washouts.

Oh, regarding admissions for camp practices: The Chiefs and Vikings reportedly canceled their two-minute drill in a joint practice this week. The reason? They had charged for attendance, which allowed opposing scouts through the gates. Green Bay VP of football operations Mark Hatley apparently was among those on hand.

Booming ‘em

Redskins fans really are starved for better special teams play. In the morning session, Brent Bartholomew got a hot streak going and earned cheers for several beautiful, high spirals.

Whether Bartholomew, an Ohio State product with limited NFL experience, can keep it up is highly questionable. He’s been erratic during camp, often following a solid punt with a wobbly shank. But the word is that he has a genuine chance to unseat incumbent Bryan Barker, who endured his worst season in 2002.

For now, Barker is punting well and retains a sizable lead in the battle. Bartholomew’s real test will be in the preseason games, when he’s facing a full rush.

Flowers blooming

An impressive cast of young receivers isn’t daunting wideout Richmond Flowers, the long-shot “Singing Cowboy” who is making nice catches, battling his rear off for “50-50” balls and yesterday knocking the you-know-what out of cornerback Ade Jimoh.

David Terrell had picked off a pass and lateraled to Jimoh to set up Flowers’ big hit. Jimoh darted left but couldn’t quite make it to the sideline before getting clotheslined by Flowers.

“They’ve been teeing off on us receivers and running backs,” Flowers said. “That was just my first instinct, to go after him and tackle him, although I do have to remember that is our teammate and we have to keep everyone healthy out there.”

Safety Ifeanyi Ohalete got back at Flowers a few plays later, thumping him out of bounds after a catch near the left sideline.

OVERHEARD

“I don’t like to see a fight break out … if I’m not involved.”

— Linebacker LaVar Arrington, who sat out yesterday morning’s practice with a mild concussion and missed a brief scuffle between linebacker Antonio Pierce and offensive lineman Pat Downey.

“If I had known it was the rookie, I wouldn’t have given to him. I thought it was Matt [Bowen] behind me.”

— Safety David Terrell, who handed an interception to rookie corner Ade Jimoh, who promptly got clotheslined by Richmond Flowers.

BY THE NUMBERS

6

Redskins Hall of Famers who are scheduled to attend the shrine’s 40th anniversary celebration this weekend in Canton, Ohio: Bill Dudley, Ken Houston, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Bobby Mitchell and Charley Taylor.

45

Minutes before kickoff for which officials will be on the field this season to watch for pregame scuffles between opposing teams. Redskins players and coaches were updated on this and other new rules during a meeting Thursday night.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

Full-squad practices scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 5:45 p.m. Fan appreciation day activities begin at 12:30 p.m. An hour-long autograph session will follow the second practice. Both will take place rain or shine. Gates open at 8 a.m.

Go to www.redskins.com or call 703/726-7411 for directions and daily updates.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Thunderstorms. High: 85 degrees. Chance of rain: 30 percent.

— Jody Foldesy and Mark Zuckerman

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