- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2005

Lt. Gov. in the house

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele attended practice with his son, Drew, a prospective freshman receiver at Gonzaga High. Asked why he was on the wrong side of the Potomac, Steele, the presumed Republican Senatorial candidate in 2006, quipped, ” ‘tis the season for football, not politics.” Steele, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll, said he’s a lifelong Redskins fan.

Portis provides

During warmups, a small group of fans kept trying to chat with star running back Clinton Portis. The three-time 1,300-yard runner occasionally obliged with conversation. But the real payoff came when practice ended and Portis tossed the football to his admirers.

Little guy, big play

After playing just one year above the junior college level and earning his invitation to training camp only by coming to rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, Jonathan Combs is one of the longest of the long shots trying to make the Redskins.

But the 5-foot-9, 227-pound running back made the first big play of the summer against an opposing team, blocking the first punt by Baltimore’s Jesse Ohliger in the special teams portion of Saturday’s scrimmage.

“That was my first time ever being on a punt block team,” Combs said. “I just followed what I learned in practice and went from there. I hit the gap, got a chance to block the punt and took advantage of it. When the ball hit my hand, it was a good feeling.”

Combs played two years at Tyler (Texas) Junior College and spent a year away from football at Texas A&M Kingsville before he played a year of club football at Texas College. Combs ran for 1,147 yards in Texas College’s first varsity season in 2004. In preparation for rookie minicamp he stayed with Texas A&M Kingsville’s most famous product, seven-time Redskins Pro Bowl cornerback Darrell Green.

Combs showed his big-play knack again yesterday, burning rookie linebacker Zak Keasey for a touchdown catch early in practice.

OVERHEARD

“I gave it a pretty good kiss. … I was trying to suck a brick out of it. I was after it hard. I didn’t mind those bricks, how dirty they were or anything else.”

— Joe Gibbs on the tradition of kissing the bricks in Indianapolis after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which his racing team’s driver, Tony Stewart, won Sunday. Gibbs won the race, then the Brickyard 400, with driver Bobby Labonte in 2000.

BY THE NUMBERS

4 Undrafted rookies of the 12 signed the week after the draft who remain on the roster.

6 Undrafted players invited to April’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis who remain on the roster.

TODAY’S PRACTICE SCHEDULE

8:30 a.m. (Closed to public)

4:30 p.m. (Open)

David Elfin

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