- The Washington Times - Friday, December 25, 2009

Three weeks after he was cut by the Washington Redskins, kicker Shaun Suisham will return to FedEx Field on Sunday with his new team, the Dallas Cowboys.

Suisham, who was cut after he missed a 23-yard field goal attempt that would have clinched an upset over the then-unbeaten New Orleans Saints on Dec. 6, signed with the Cowboys on Monday after Dallas released Nick Folk.

“I’m sure he wants to redeem himself against us,” special teams captain Rock Cartwright said. “Hopefully, it don’t come down to a game-winning field goal. I know he’ll sink it.”

Folk, a Pro Bowl pick as a rookie in 2007, missed a 24-yard try against New Orleans last week. That league-leading 10th miss proved the end for Folk.

“Nick was in a big slump,” Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. “He just couldn’t seem to get out of it. [Suisham] was the best one in the tryouts, so we’re going to go with him. He’s hit a high percentage of field goals.”

Suisham was 18-for-21 with the Redskins this year, but his misses were big. He also missed attempts of 50 and 39 yards in the 7-6 loss to Dallas on Nov. 22.

“Certainly, it’s a bit of a surprise,” said Suisham, who began his career with Dallas in 2005 before signing with Washington in 2006. “If you would have asked a month ago would I have thought I’d be in this situation, no. What it comes down to, though, is it’s just about kicking field goals. That’s what I’m here to do. It’s no longer about Washington. … I’m so excited to be back here in Dallas.”

Redskins coach Jim Zorn said he’s glad Suisham found another job so fast, but he wishes it hadn’t been with the Cowboys.

Suisham’s return to the NFL came as good news to Redskins punter Hunter Smith, his former holder and locker room neighbor. Smith said it was “really hard” seeing what happened to his good friend.

“Under 50 yards, he’s a 90 percent kicker, and Dallas saw the value in that,” Smith said. “The NFL is a fickle league. It really is. A lot of value is placed on people or taken away from people based on what they’ve done in the short run. In the long term, a guy like Shaun’s gonna go out and prove that he has a great value on the field.”

Kelly may start for Thomas

Devin Thomas missed his second straight practice after spraining his right ankle sprain during the second half kickoff of Monday’s 45-12 loss to the New York Giants, making it more likely Malcolm Kelly will take his place against the Cowboys.

Kelly caught just seven passes for 73 yards and no touchdowns in five starts before yielding to Thomas, who has 29 catches, 299 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. Kelly had nine catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns in those nine games.

“He’s had an excellent week of practice thus far,” Zorn said. “He’s looked explosive. He’s got fresh legs obviously. He’s been working to try close that gap.

“Malcolm will show what he can do. He’s playing better at the top of his routes where the breaks come in. He’s more aggressive. He understands the offense better.”

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