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Longer schedule divides Redskins

- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

It's not something Andre Carter wanted to hear, even if the NFL's decision to add a 17th and possibly 18th regular-season game is at least a year or two away.

"Man, why did you have to tell me that?" the defensive end said after a Washington Redskins workout earlier this week.

Carter said he hopes the current format of four preseason games and 16 regular-season contests remains intact, but commissioner Roger Goodell has heard the pleas of fans who don't want to pay for watered-down preseason games.

"I'm honestly not looking forward to that," Carter said. "As you get older, you say, 'I'll take the four preseason games.' I know there are risks in the preseason, but 16 games are a grind, and you're already beat up as it is without those additional games."

Carter, 30, said the rebound time after each game gets longer starting in early December.

"You run out of gas toward the 12th or 13th game, and that recovery time gets longer as you get older," he said. "With rest and prayer, you fight through it."

Redskins center Casey Rabach said players will "find a way" to play the extra game or games.

"Am I opposed to it? Definitely not," he said. "It will bring more revenue to the league, and more revenue for the teams means more for the players."

Rabach said the 53-man roster would have to be expanded by at least two to three players and the biggest impact would be on the coaching staff in the preseason. Instead of four games, they will have only two or three games to decide on the back end of the roster.

"They're going to have to rework some things," he said. "I'm sure there will be intrasquad scrimmages or traveling to scrimmage different teams."

AROUND THE NFC

*Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook is already hurt -- not a good sign for his future. The DeMatha High School alum will undergo surgery Friday in Baltimore to clean out bone spurs in his right ankle. Wear and tear have set in for Westbrook -- he has nearly 1,700 combined carries/receptions and had right knee surgery in February.

*The premium-seat experiment isn't going well for the New York Giants and their new stadium. As a result of every seat carrying a personal seat license, nearly 4,000 of the best and most expensive seats are still available after the team went through its 140,000-member waiting list. The remaining seats have a PSL of $12,500 and per-game ticket price of $500.

*Tony Dungy is off to a good start expressing his opinions. During a conference call to announce his NBC gig, he wasn't high on new Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler. "We'll see about his maturity level," Dungy said. "That's what I would question, and some of the things that happened to him leaving Denver that would concern me as a head coach. He can make all the throws, but quarterbacking is much more than just making throws."

*Green Bay pass-rusher turned outside linebacker Aaron Kampman broke his offseason silence this week to address the Packers' switch to a 3-4 defense. One report called his comments a "rehearsed and reserved reaction." Said Kampman: "I'm one of 11 on this defense. For whatever reason, a lot of people want to know what I think. I'm learning it. I don't have a whole lot else to say. I'm learning it."

AROUND THE AFC

*After retiring to join NBC, New England safety Rodney Harrison earned high praise from coach Bill Belichick: "Rodney Harrison is one of the best players I have ever coached. ... Rodney is the best practice player I have seen in 35 years in the NFL, which is a testament to his exceptional passion for the game and his desire to sustain and improve his level of play."

*Cleveland left guard Eric Steinbach is on a dream offseason diet. He played last year at about 270 pounds, one of only a handful of NFL linemen under 300. New coach Eric Mangini told Steinbach to add 12 pounds, and he now weighs 285. "I think the more Eric hangs out with me, the better chance he has to bulk up -- I've got it down," Mangini said.

*Former Maryland receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is off to a tough start with Oakland. Heyward-Bey injured his right hamstring during a minicamp practice May 9, and soreness kept him off the field this week, costing him valuable practice time with quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Jeff Garcia.

*The agent for Tennessee quarterback Vince Young was in damage-control mode Wednesday. Young essentially told a Baltimore television station the Titans should play him or trade him. Major Adams said Young wants to remain with the team. "Even before they drafted him, they asked him if he thought he could compete for the starting role and he said yes," Adams said. "He has always been a starter, and that's his mindset."

FRIDAY FIVE

Players coming back from injuries

1. QB Tom Brady, New England -- If he's fully recovered from knee surgery, the Patriots' offense will be the NFL's best.

2. OLB Shawne Merriman, San Diego -- The Chargers' defense was 31st in the league without Merriman and posted only 28 sacks.

3. QB Carson Palmer, Cincinnati -- Only two teams averaged fewer passing yards than the Palmer-less Bengals in 2008.

4. RB Felix Jones, Dallas -- Before his season ended, the rookie was averaging 8.9 yards a carry.

5. DE Osi Umenyiora, NY Giants -- In the four years before his knee injury, he averaged 10 sacks a season.