- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

The Washington Redskins get their first indication of how they stack up in the NFL when they meet the Baltimore Ravens in a controlled scrimmage today at noon at M&T; Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

After 15 minutes of special teams work and 30 minutes of 7-on-7 drills, each offense will receive four sets of 10-play drives beginning at its 35-yard line. Quarterbacks cannot be touched, but otherwise the scrimmage is full contact.

The Ravens sold nearly 30,000 tickets.

Six injured Redskins won’t participate: linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (shoulder) and Brandon Noble (knee) and cornerbacks Walt Harris (quadriceps), Artrell Hawkins (hamstring) and Carlos Rogers (ankle).

Rookie defensive lineman Aki Jones returned to practice yesterday and will play. Cornerback Eric Joyce was held out yesterday after becoming dehydrated Thursday, but he will be on the field today.

Coach Joe Gibbs said he was looking forward to seeing his retooled offense, third-worst in the NFL last year, match up against an always tough Ravens defense that ranked sixth in 2004.

Gibbs wouldn’t reveal how he would divide playing time other than saying coaches “will probably try to look at some players more than others.”

Translated, that means rookies and players with little NFL experience should see more time than such Pro Bowl veterans as Chris Samuels and Marcus Washington.

Back from the brink

Brian Kozlowski’s career appeared over when the 34-year-old tight end walked off the field following Washington’s season-ending victory over Minnesota on Jan. 2. Eleven seasons and 165 games, including a Super Bowl start for Atlanta, were more than anyone would have predicted for an undrafted free agent from Connecticut.

But as the offseason dragged on, Kozlowski continued to train with New England Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, his next-door neighbor in Atlanta, in the hope that a team might call.

Late last week, with Mike Barrow’s $1.75 million coming off their salary cap because of the linebacker’s release, the Redskins rang. And so Kozlowski is back and fighting for a roster spot.

Washington has a gang of H-backs with Chris Cooley, Mike Sellers, fourth-rounder Manuel White and journeyman Billy Baber, but starter Robert Royal and undrafted rookie William Palmer are the only tight ends on the roster besides Kozlowski.

“I was never worried,” Kozlowski said. “My agent [Frank Bauer] had heard from several teams, and I knew something would happen eventually. I’m glad that it was the Redskins. I know the guys. I know the coaches. And I know the system.”

Carolina Redskins

Told that some fans had driven as many as 17 hours to attend Fan Appreciation Day yesterday, Gibbs reminisced about his days as a young Redskins fan in North Carolina in the 1940s and early 1950s before his family moved to Southern California just before he started high school. Washington was the South’s team in that era before Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina had franchises.

“I grew up watching [running back] Charlie ‘Choo Choo’ Justice,” said Gibbs, whose uncle owned what served as the community television set for watching the Redskins on Sundays. “The Redskins were all we had — it was the Carolina Redskins. Until the Panthers came [in 1995], it was pretty much Redskins territory.”

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