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Daniels OK being backup

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dan Snyder was just another wealthy Washington Redskins fan and Barack Obama was a freshman state senator in Illinois when Phillip Daniels last came off the bench in an NFL game. That was in December 1997.

So it would be natural for the veteran defensive end to be upset that the Redskins likely made him a backup by drafting Brian Orakpo, the nation's top defensive lineman, with the 13th pick in last weekend's NFL Draft.

On the contrary. Daniels, who turned 36 last month before re-signing with Washington, encouraged the Redskins to choose Orakpo, and he phoned the former Texas All-American not long after they became teammates Saturday.

"I felt great when we were able to get Brian," Daniels said. "I didn't think he would be there at 13, but he was the player I wanted us to draft. Of course, I want to start, but I've played 13 years. My goal is to win a championship, and I think he can help us do that."

Daniels always has been grateful to veteran defensive linemen Mike Sinclair and Antonio Edwards for helping him transition to the NFL when he was a rookie with Seattle Seahawks in 1996, and he already has begun to do the same for Orakpo.

"I called him after we picked him to welcome him to the Redskins," Daniels said. "We had talked before because his defensive coordinator at Texas, Will Muschamp, was my teammate at Georgia. I told Brian that I've been in this defense for nine years [in Chicago and Washington] and to come to me if he needs anything."

There's another reason Daniels has taken to Orakpo, who also could see some time at linebacker but definitely will rush the passer on third downs.

"Brian reminds me of me when I was coming into the league," Daniels said with a chuckle. "I was a tweener coming out of college. I weighed 263 pounds, and I had started at linebacker my junior year."

Haynesworth hearing delayed

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's hearing in Franklin, Tenn., on two misdemeanors was changed from Tuesday to June 8.

Haynesworth, who starred for the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Titans before signing with the Redskins on Feb. 27, pleaded not guilty March 30 to charges of reckless driving and having an expired registration that resulted from a Dec. 13 incident in which he reportedly tried to pass another car, whose driver was seriously injured after crashing into a concrete median. Haynesworth remains free on $1,000 bond.

If convicted, Haynesworth faces a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for reckless driving and 30 days in jail and a $50 fine for the expired registration.

Mason returns

The Redskins claimed running back Marcus Mason off waivers from the New York Jets. Mason, who was on Washington's practice squad in 2007, led the NFL in rushing last preseason but was still cut. He caught on with the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad before being signed to New York's roster. The 24-year-old Potomac native was inactive for all six of his games with the Jets.