LaRon Landry might be able to move back to strong safety after all.
The Washington Redskins signed former Oakland Raiders free safety Stuart Schweigert to a one-year deal yesterday. The 26-year-old Schweigert, who will receive a bonus if he makes the team according to a team source, started 42 games for the Raiders over four seasons.
His arrival could allow Landry to return to his original position. Landry, the Redskins’ first-round pick last season, moved from strong to free safety after Sean Taylor’s injury and remained at the position following Taylor’s death in November.
“He’s a pure free safety,” defensive coordinator Greg Blache said of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Schweigert. “He’s a guy that had a reputation coming out of [Purdue] as a ballhawk. He’s got a chance to come in and compete.”
Schweigert said he is thrilled to land with a team that made the playoffs two of the past three seasons. He chose Washington over Atlanta, Denver, St. Louis and Tennessee.
“It feels like a 1,000-pound bear has been lifted off my chest,” said Schweigert, who was replaced in Oakland by free agent signee Gibril Wilson. “I’m very excited. At the very least what I want is in December to have something to play for because the last four seasons our season has pretty much been over in November.”
The Redskins made room by cutting linebacker Rian Wallace.
The signing of Schweigert is the Redskins’ second defensive move in the past week. They acquired defensive end Erasmus James from the Minnesota Vikings on May 27 for a conditional seventh-round pick in next year’s draft.
With left end Phillip Daniels having turned 35, James has a chance to play a big role, too. Blache called the pickup of James “icing on the cake.”
“His senior year, he was as good a player as I’ve been around in all my years of coaching,” said new line coach John Palermo, James’ position coach at Wisconsin. “I’m looking forward to Erasmus getting healthy and coaching that same guy.”
But staying healthy has been the problem for James, who played in just six games and started just one since he tore his left ACL and MCL early in the 2006 season. A cadaver graft replaced those ligaments, but when James tore the same ACL again in late in the 2007 season - his first start since the first injury - he tore his patella tendon. When the Vikings traded for NFL sacks leader Jared Allen in April, James became expendable.
“I had a decent first year,” James said. “I haven’t really been able to get in a rhythm at all [since].”
When the 25-year-old former first-round pick completes his rehab and returns to the field for training camp next month, he plans to have shed about 10 pounds to get down to his playing weight (260) at Wisconsin.
Landry, Springs missing
Several Redskins players returned yesterday, but Landry and cornerback Shawn Springs were absent from organized team activities.
While Blache and coach Jim Zorn said that they hadn’t heard from the missing defensive backs, teammates said that they had heard from them and that each had missed his flight.
“They had the opportunity to be here and chose not to,” Zorn said.
Running back Clinton Portis was back on the field after missing time last month with a hip flexor, as was quarterback Jason Campbell, who tweaked a hamstring in the last practice of the first organized team activities May 7.
However, receiver Antwaan Randle El remained out after having a knee scoped May 5 and said he won’t rush to get back before the end of OTAs on June 12. Backup safety Vernon Fox was also a spectator after having his left knee scoped May 20. Cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee), rookie safety Kareem Moore (knee) and tight end Tyler Ecker (groin) remained sidelined.
Rookie quarterback Colt Brennan (knee) took part in individual drills.
Receiver Santana Moss reported in the morning but was sent home because of illness.
Rocky McIntosh is getting close to returning to full-time duty at weakside linebacker as he recovers from the ACL he tore against Chicago on Dec. 2.