- The Washington Times - Monday, August 4, 2003

Unsatisfied with the play of his backup quarterbacks through the first week of training camp, Steve Spurrier has summoned an old friend to help shore things up.

Was there ever any doubt Danny Wuerffel would find his way back to Redskin Park?

Washington signed the veteran quarterback and longtime Spurrier favorite yesterday, instantly injecting some intrigue into what had been a fairly uneventful camp. Wuerffel, who appeared in seven games (starting four) with the Redskins last year, will be in uniform this morning. He will compete with Rob Johnson for the No.2 spot behind starter Patrick Ramsey.

“We just think this gives us a little more depth at quarterback,” said Spurrier, who cut undrafted rookie Brad Banks to make room for his former Florida Gator. “Danny knows his position. He knows he’s not competing for No.1 or anything like that. He knows Patrick’s our guy.”

The decision to bring back Wuerffel appears to be more a reaction to Johnson’s shaky play than anything. Johnson, who signed a two-year, $2million contract in March to become Ramsey’s top backup, has not performed well in camp. He completed just two of six passes for 7 yards in Saturday’s scrimmage and has not picked up Spurrier’s Fun ‘n’ Gun offense as quickly as the coach would like.

Johnson will be in a three-way competition with Wuerffel and seventh-round draft pick Gibran Hamdan for two open roster spots. That means either Hamdan is headed for Washington’s practice squad or one of the two veterans will be cut by the end of camp.

“We’re not that far along yet,” Spurrier said. “Right now, we’re bringing Danny in as our third quarterback. He’ll have a chance to compete with Rob Johnson through preseason, and then we’ll see where we are.”

Johnson, who won a Super Bowl ring as Tampa Bay’s backup last year, wasn’t surprised by yesterday’s developments.

“You know what, I figured that was going to happen,” he said. “We had two young kids [Hamdan and Banks] battling for the third spot, and we have a young starter. Usually when a team has a young starter, they have two veterans behind him.”

Wuerffel, 29, joined Ramsey and Shane Matthews in Washington’s revolving-door quarterback situation last year and completed a team-best 63 percent of his passes for 719 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. In his six-year career, he has a 52.6 percent completion rate, 2,123 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

Banks, the Heisman Trophy runner-up at Iowa last year, was a long shot to make the Redskins’ roster. Despite his lofty college numbers, NFL teams were wary of his small frame (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and passed on him through all seven rounds of the draft.

He signed with Washington the day after the draft but didn’t get a chance to take many snaps in practice.

Notes — Free agent tight end Wesley Walls is expected to make a decision today to sign with either the Redskins or the Packers, NFL sources said. Walls, a 15-year veteran, worked out at Redskin Park last week, and both team have offers on the table. …

Running back Kenny Watson returned to practice after missing two days with a sprained right knee. Fellow back Ladell Betts still is out with a sprained left elbow but could return today.

Receiver Pat Woodcock sat out yesterday with a sprained left knee. Defensive end Regan Upshaw had a scheduled day off to rest his surgically repaired knee.

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