- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rookie safety Kareem Moore spent Wednesday afternoon’s special teams practice holding a tackling bag and standing on the sidelines, another precious opportunity passing him by.

Moore, a Redskins’ sixth-round draft pick, has not practiced since Sunday, when his bulky and bothersome left knee began to trouble him again. The Nicholls State product - who missed all of organized team activities after having the knee scoped - was held out of workouts Wednesday, watching with the injured joint in a brace.

“It swelled up a little bit, and they didn’t want me to be pounding on it,” Moore said. “That’s just one of the setbacks I am going to have sometimes from pounding.”

Moore hasn’t been full speed since tearing a ligament in the knee during the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge in February. Moore and seventh-round selection Chris Horton were supposed to battle for the backup safety spot behind Vernon Fox.

Though Moore said he was feeling “fine”” in the morning and planned on taking part in the special teams workout, the 5-foot-11, 213-pounder was wearing shorts and a baseball cap at the 2 p.m. practice.

When he returns, Moore will have to make a quick impression, something he is accustomed to.

Moore played only one year of football at Okolona (Miss.) High School but made enough of an impact to sign with Mississippi in 2003. He left after one year for Itawamba (Miss.) Community College and then transferred to McNeese State before moving to Nicholls State for his final season.

Safeties coach Steve Jackson said he liked what he saw in his first glimpse of Moore on Sunday.

“When he was out there he looked good,” Jackson said. “He’s a playmaker. You know, he’s a physical guy. He’s got great hands. He’s got range. He’s what you look for in a free safety.”

Moore doesn’t want to be the latest late-round pick to be let go after an injury.

Seventh-round linebacker Kevin Simon was cut after battling an abdominal injury during training camp in 2006, and 2007 seventh-rounder Tyler Ecker, who was plagued by hamstring and groin problems, was released Saturday to make room for rookie Fred Davis.

Jackson would not elaborate on how many safeties the team would keep or about Moore’s chances.

“If he’s one of the top ones, he’s got a chance to be in it,” Jackson said. “If not, you know …”

Catching for curfew

The autograph hounds who lingered at the end of practice were treated to an odd sight: 300-pound linemen fielding punts.

As the team wrapped up morning drills, offensive tackle Justin Geisinger and defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti trotted out to midfield to do their best Antwaan Randle El impressions.

When Geisinger fielded the first punt cleanly, Clinton Portis and Jon Jansen mobbed him as if he had just kicked a game-winning field goal, and after Boschetti caught the second, Jansen greeted him with a chest bump.

But the game wasn’t just one of kick-and-catch. The team’s curfew was at stake.

“They pick the guy on offense and defense who they think can least catch the football on a punt,” Geisinger said. “We have a 12 o’clock curfew if each of the representatives from the offense and the defense caught it, and we both came through.”

Had either player muffed his punt, the normal routine would have followed - lights out at 11 p.m. and a whole lot of grief for the guilty party.

“I probably would have gotten ripped in the locker room for the rest of camp,” Geisinger said. “I don’t have to worry about that now.”

Fletcher returns

Linebacker London Fletcher was back on the field Wednesday morning after being excused from Tuesday evening’s workout to be with his wife, Charne, who gave birth to a boy early Tuesday morning.

Cortland Steele Fletcher, the couple’s second child, weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.

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