- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 2, 2004

His old team is 8-3 and cruising back to the playoffs. His new team is 3-8 and playing out the string. But Marcus Washington doesn’t regret his decision to become a Washington Redskin in March.

“Once I made my decision, I haven’t looked back,” said the fifth-year linebacker. “[Indianapolis] is having a good year, but I love playing here. This coaching staff allows me to be myself, to be an aggressive, attacking-style player more than they did in Indy. It’s definitely one of my better years. I feel relaxed out there.”

Washington doesn’t play relaxed, constantly flying from sideline to sideline. He’s second on the Redskins with 86 tackles, including nine each of the past two weeks against powerhouses Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Washington also made a touchdown-saving tackle of Steelers elusive punt returner Antwaan Randle El.

“Marcus is a lot better than I thought he was,” said Redskins assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams, who still kicks himself for not even scouting Washington before the 2000 draft. “He’s a joy to coach. There are a lot of things that we see him do in practice that you just say, ‘Wow.’ Hopefully, he’ll do that in the game this week.”

Injury update

Cornelius Griffin still is listed as probable, but the right defensive tackle didn’t practice for a second straight day because of the hip flexor that sidelined him for the Nov.21 game in Philadelphia. Griffin said he’s sore, but he’ll practice today and play Sunday.

Right defensive end Phillip Daniels could line up next to Griffin for the first time in four weeks. Daniels practiced, this time in pads after not having a setback from Wednesday’s session. Daniels missed seven of the past nine games with a groin injury.

“I think I can go the whole game, but they’ll probably rotate me since it’s my first game back,” said Daniels, who missed just five games over the past six seasons with Seattle and Chicago. “It’s been a tough season. I want to finish strong, and as soon as this year is over with, I want to forget it.”

Demetric Evans, who had been starting in place of Daniels, wasn’t on the field for the second day in a row because of the knee he sprained against the Steelers, but like Griffin, is probable.

The injury news was mostly positive on the offensive line. Right guard Randy Thomas surprisingly took a full practice despite a strained right hamstring that was supposed to keep him out at least another week and was upgraded from doubtful to questionable.

If Thomas returns, Ray Brown would move back to right tackle. Rookie Mark Wilson, who manned that spot last week, was downgraded to doubtful after sustaining a sprained knee against Pittsburgh.

Younger Hixson visits

Drew Hixson, who spent nearly a month in a coma after being tackled while playing for Tennessee Tech on Sept.11, visited Redskin Park for the first time since. Hixson’s father, Stan, coaches Washington’s receivers.

“We think it’s a miracle where he’s come from,” Stan Hixson said. “He’s getting better and better. It was a very special Thanksgiving.”

The younger Hixson, who was walking with the assistance of a cane and speaking without much difficulty, was discharged last week from a rehabilitation facility in Charlottesville in time to join his family for Thanksgiving. He’ll receive care on an outpatient basis at a local center for the next four to six months.

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