- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The revolving door at safety for the Washington Redskins took another turn yesterday with the signing of former Denver and Houston starter Eric Brown and the news that Ryan Clark is out at least this week after spraining the PCL in his right knee in Monday’s practice.

Brown, 30, started all but one game from 2000 to 2003 but became a backup last year with the Texans after his coverage skills eroded.

“I knew eventually some team would call me,” Brown said. “Better late than never.”

As a rookie with the 1998 Broncos, Brown joined Darrell Green of the 1983 Redskins as the only rookie defensive backs to start the season opener for a defending Super Bowl champion.

“Eric has been a real solid special teams player, a hard-hitting safety in the box,” said assistant head coach/defense Gregg Williams. “We try to get as many guys in here for as long a look as possible. Whether they make the team or not, we don’t know.”

Brown follows Pierson Prioleau (March), Cory Hall (May), Tony Dixon (June) and Omar Stoutmire (July) in the parade of safeties this offseason. Hall retired three days after signing. Prioleau and Stoutmire started Saturday’s preseason opener — although Sean Taylor and fellow holdover Matt Bowen figure to be the regulars — while Dixon has been out since Aug.9 with a strained hamstring.

“It’s frustrating because you’re trying to come in and make a name for yourself and you have a minor setback,” said the 26-year-old Dixon, who started seven games for Dallas last year. “But it’s more major for me because these coaches don’t know me. Those other guys [except Stoutmire] have been in battle with them.”

Dixon is still hoping to get back on the field in time to play in Friday’s game against Cincinnati. Williams isn’t concerned about Clark, who started the last 11 games of 2004 after Bowen was lost for the season. The coach said Clark has had a fine camp and added that inexperienced linemen Ryan Boschetti and Cedric Killings and rookie linebackers Robert McCune and Zak Keasey stood out at Carolina.

Linebacker LaVar Arrington, defensive tackle Brandon Noble and cornerback Carlos Rogers, all of whom were activated on Monday, reported no ill effects from their returns to practice. Rogers remains on course to face the Bengals. Arrington and Noble likely won’t play.

Raymer absent

Center Cory Raymer was absent after flying to Colorado late Monday night to be with his wife, Heidi, who was experiencing complications in pregnancy. The Raymers have three children.

Clark “honored”

A grinning Ryan Clark left Redskin Park yesterday morning, clutching a small trophy as if it were an Oscar. Turns out that he had won the “You’re Nothing Award,” which will be given each week in honor of former cornerback Fred Smoot to the defensive player who makes the biggest impact. Linebacker Marcus Washington won the first week.

“I can’t believe that they’re still doing it,” Smoot said between laughs from Minnesota’s training camp. “It’s like, ‘you might think you’re something, but you’re really nothing. That means that Ryan must have made some plays. I hope he’s proud of himself.’”

Taylor’s latest exploits

Gregg Williams loved Sean Taylor playing a few plays at Carolina with a split chinstrap and then borrowing Prioleau’s helmet for a few snaps. Williams added that he was concerned about Taylor during the “Hail Mary” pass on the final play of Monday’s practice.

“Sean doesn’t slow down,” Williams said. “He doesn’t know how. [On] the Hail Mary, we had no idea it was coming. Sean’s going to clear out a lot of people, I just hope it’s not guys on our team.”

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