Wynn returns to help on line

With some holes to fill on the defensive line a couple of weeks into free agency, the Washington Redskins turned to a familiar face, bringing back defensive end Renaldo Wynn, according to a source familiar with the deal.

He becomes the second former player to return to the team this offseason after guard Derrick Dockery signed with the Redskins on the first day of free agency.

Wynn, a starting defensive end for the Redskins from 2002 to 2005 who yielded his spot to free agent Andre Carter in 2006, agreed to a one-year contract to help fill a void opened by the release of Jason Taylor and the loss of Demetric Evans as a free agent.

Wynn, who will be 35 in September, was a backup for the New Orleans Saints in 2007 and the New York Giants in 2008, recording a sack against the Redskins last season. Wynn’s decision to return to Washington doesn’t preclude 36-year-old Phillip Daniels from re-signing after having his contract voided last month in a cost-cutting move. However, Wynn does give the Redskins a proven player at left end, where Chris Wilson, Rob Jackson and Alex Buzbee were in line for the position. The three have combined for zero starts and seven sacks in 35 career games.

While Wynn has yet to return to Washington officially, his soon-to-be teammates came back Monday for the start of the offseason conditioning program at Redskin Park.

“This is when you start winning games - right here,” cornerback Fred Smoot said. “This is when teams come together. Last year could’ve been our year if we could’ve just got things together. What we did last year was dig deep for the teams that people said we couldn’t beat and let the teams that we thought we could beat us. We didn’t finish the year well. We didn’t finish a lotta games well. Finishing will be one of our main motivations.”

The offense is virtually unchanged except for the switch at left guard from Pete Kendall to the younger and bigger Dockery, but the defense has been shorn of regulars Shawn Springs, Marcus Washington, Evans and Taylor while adding All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

Smoot - who advocated Monday for Washington’s return - and safety Chris Horton salivated at what having Haynesworth up front could do for them. Dockery said the big man could make him better, too.

“Going against him every day in practice, come Sunday, it will be easy,” Dockery said.

The NFL seemed easy for Horton as a rookie. The seventh-round draft choice was named the NFC defensive player of the week in his first start; he led the Redskins in interceptions and finished third in tackles. But Horton isn’t assuming a repeat performance.

“I got one thing on my mind, and that’s to make this team however I can,” he said. “Nothing’s guaranteed. I look at it like I got to go out every day and I gotta perform.”

Clinton Portis was an unexpected participant. Coach Jim Zorn didn’t anticipate his star running back to be present for the start of conditioning.

It remains unclear how many of the sessions Portis will attend. At the Super Bowl, he was noncommittal about traveling from his home in Florida for all of the voluntary days.

Note - Kicker Shaun Suisham, who had been a restricted free agent, signed his $1.01 million contract tender. Suisham, who slumped badly in 2008 after a terrific 2007, is expected to battle journeyman Dave Rayner for his job this summer.

About the Author
David Elfin

David Elfin

David Elfin has been following Washington-area sports teams since the late 1960s. David began his journalism career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., history) and Syracuse University (M.S., telecommunications). He wrote for the Bulletin (Philadelphia), the Post-Standard (Syracuse) and The Washington Post before coming to The Washington Times in 1986. He has covered colleges, the Orioles ...

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