- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2000

You like Brad or Jeff.

I like a quarterback controversy.

Thank you, Dennis Green.

What is it with the Vikings?

First Brad Johnson. Now Jeff George.

Is Fran Tarkenton destined to come this way next spring?

Fortunately, George knows the deal in the place formerly known as Raljon.

He signed with the Redskins to buckle Johnson's chin strap. He is not looking to be a starter. He is only looking to improve his quality of life, which he should be able to do with a four-year contract worth $18.25 million.

Some people grow up to be $40,000-a-year teachers. Others grow up to be $18.25 million backup quarterbacks.

So how strong is Elian's arm?

Janet Reno and Fidel Castro might as well put that question into play with all the others.

Give the Boy Owner credit. When Johnson breaks down in the fall and breakdowns go with the position George will be around to ease everyone's concerns.

It beats having Rodney Peete on the sideline, nothing against Peete.

George is an expensive insurance policy, the antidote to what happened to the Jets after Vinny Testaverde went down in the first game last season.

The downside, if there is a downside, is if Johnson struggles in a game or two. Then Washington will be in a rush to promote George to starting quarterback.

If there is one thing NFL coaches detest aside from having a key player charged with murder it is a city that plays loose and reckless with its quarterbacks.

Norv Turner, the former outgoing coach of the Redskins, endured this distraction in a previous life, in the bad, old days of Heath Shuler and Gus Frerotte.

You know how that quarterback controversy turned out. Shuler ended up in New Orleans, Ricky Williams ended up in a wedding gown and Mike Ditka ended up in the unemployment line.

Distractions are a killer in the NFL, not counting the outcome of the legal cases involving Rae Carruth and Ray Lewis.

The killer or killers are still out there somewhere, according to O.J. Simpson.

"But when things have settled a bit, I will pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman," Simpson said on the day of his acquittal. "They are out there somewhere. Whatever it takes to identify them and bring them in, I will provide somehow."

By the way, O.J., are you planning to put your pursuit on hold in order to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame reunion in July?

Hold your response while the Redskins wait on Deion Sanders, no disrespect intended to Darrell Green.

The Redskins are starting to be a fashionable employer again unless you're in the public relations field.

Some teams can't keep their high-priced free agents. The Redskins can't seem to keep their public relations directors.

John Maroon, who enjoyed an injury-free season, becomes the third publicist to leave the team in nine months.

Coaches are hired to be fired, players come and go and publicists are only as strong as their last press release.

Meanwhile, as draft day nears, wide receiver Peter Warrick has discovered he is short, small and slow. At this pace, Warrick will be listed as a munchkin on draft day.

Warrick has not received favorable reviews since he participated in Dillard's impromptu going-out-of-business sale in Tallahassee, Fla., last fall.

Here's how it works: Grab $412.38 worth of clothing. Pay $21.40. Miss two games. Hear everyone ask: Was that a Columbus Day Sale?

At least the Redskins are sitting pretty. They can trade up, trade down or trade sideways. They can listen to the desperate. They even can go to the next step, if an offer is special enough.

Turner would have to be moved to say, "Gosh, that's fabulous."

And Turner is rarely moved to use fabulous, even when he is elated with all three phases of the game after a big victory.

But who knows?

Signing George was a good start to the weekend.

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