Stephen Bowen received a note from security at the Washington Redskins' team hotel last Sunday morning notifying him that his mother-in-law had died. She had suffered from muscular dystrophy, and her condition had steadily deteriorated.
Hours later, he started at defensive end in the Redskins' loss to the New York Jets. It was another example of the toughness and commitment for which he was named the 2011 Redskins Ed Block Courage award winner.
Bowen actually has played this entire season with a heavy heart. In June, his wife gave birth four months early to twins. One, Skyler, died 10 days later.
"It means a lot," Bowen said Thursday. "You know, my teammates recognizing me and the stuff that I've been through this past offseason, pretty much the whole year so far. I've just been trying to stay strong for my family and just be the best teammate I can be."
Bowen, who played five seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, signed with the Redskins in late July and moved to the area for training camp. He left his wife and son behind. Stephen III remained in neonatal intensive care until September, when he was transferred to a Northern Virginia hospital. He was released from the hospital in October.
Ex-Redskin Carter shining for Pats
Former Redskins defensive end Andre Carter is excelling in New England's 4-3 scheme after failing to fit in the Redskins' 3-4. Now that he's back in a defense that requires him only to go forward from a down stance and not drop in coverage, he leads the Patriots with nine sacks.
"I'm just my own worst critic," Carter said in a teleconference this week. "Every game I analyze and look at what I can do to get better, what techniques and fundamentals can I do to improve my game."
Arrington excels in secondary
Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington leads the NFL with seven interceptions. The product of Accokeek, Md., and Gwynn Park High School has flourished when opponents have had to pass.
"He's got good hands," Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "DBs touch a lot of balls throughout the year. When he's touched balls, he's picked them. Their defense they mix up. They play some man coverage, and they play some soft zone. He's done a good job at both.
"When the ball's a little behind a guy or when the quarterback overthrows someone in the zone in coverage, he's got good vision."
• Safety LaRon Landry (groin) missed practice again. Nose tackle Chris Baker (quad) also sat out.
• Punter Sav Rocca (left ankle) was limited after sitting out Wednesday's session. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall (back), defensive end Stephen Bowen (knee), receiver Terrence Austin (hamstring), Jammal Brown (hip), London Fletcher (ankle), DeJon Gomes (right knee) and Maurice Hurt (knee) also were limited.
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