With the players due on the field for the start of training camp at Redskin Park in just nine days, the Washington Redskins agreed to terms on Friday on four-year contracts with two more of their 10 draft choices. Second-round receiver Malcolm Kelly will receive a signing bonus of $1.655 million while sixth-rounder punter Durant Brooks will receive $116,450.
Kelly, who left Oklahoma a year early after catching 111 passes for 1,814 yards and 19 touchdowns the past two seasons, could play a critical role in the red zone for the Redskins because at 6-foot-4, he’s six inches taller than incumbent starters Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El. Washington struggled to complete passes inside the 20 the past few years to anyone other than tight end Chris Cooley or fullback Mike Sellers.
“I’m looking forward to watching Malcolm develop in training camp and preseason,” said Vinny Cerrato, executive vice president of the Redskins, who also had agreed to terms on Thursday with third-round guard Chad Rinehart.
The only punter taken in this April’s draft, Brooks averaged an ACC-record 45.3 yards in two years at Georgia Tech after transferring from Georgia Military College. Brooks also won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter in 2007 after being a finalist in 2006. He had a 40.5 yards net average as a senior and had 48 punts of at least 50 yards in his two seasons at Georgia Tech.
Brooks will be given every chance to beat out incumbent Derrick Frost this summer. After a career year in 2006, Frost tailed off badly after a strong start in 2007. The Redskins re-signed Frost on March 20 but didn’t give him a bonus.
Only sixth-round quarterback Colt Brennan and Washington’s remaining second-rounders, receiver Devin Thomas and tight end Fred Davis, have yet to agree to terms.
A federal judge on Thursday shot down an effort by American Indians to cancel the trademarks for the Washington Redskins, ruling that the group didn’t act quickly enough in submitting its petition.
Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court in the District granted a summary judgement in favor of Pro Football Inc., which holds the six Redskins trademarks. She said the American Indian groups waited too long after they were aware of the trademarks to request their cancellation, adding that dropping the trademarks after such a delay would have caused economic hardship to Pro Football.
The first Redskins trademark was registered in 1967, but origins of the case date back to 1992, when seven American Indians petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on the grounds that “Redskins” was a disparaging term. The board granted the cancellation, but Pro Football Inc., the owner of the trademark, appealed the decision. Judge Kollar-Kottelly this week determined Mateo Romero, a main defendant in the case, should have requested the trademark cancellations shortly after his 18th birthday in 1984, but instead waited nearly eight years.
The use of “Redskins” and other American Indian terms in team names has long been controversial. Some American Indian groups protest the use of the name while many fans have contended the term should be considered as a source of pride. At the college level, some American Indian tribes including the Illini and Ute have approved their name for use, but the Sioux tribe has refused to allow the University of North Dakota to use the name “Fighting Sioux.” The NCAA has banned the school from serving as host of any championships until the name is dropped.
In her ruling Kollar-Kottelly reiterated the court’s previous statement that the ruling “should not be read as … making any statement on the appropriateness of Native American imagery for team names.”