- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 22, 2000

After spending $100 million on the roster, the Washington Redskins found it easy to trim the excess yesterday. The 12 players released and two placed on injured reserve barely created a ripple of surprise.

Third-year defensive tackle Doug Brown was the best-known of those released while fifth-round safety Quincy Sanders was the sole draftee. Seventh-year veteran linebacker Anthony Peterson was the only other veteran released.

Kickers Clay Rush and Peter Elezovic were cut after Brett Conway returned from a two-game absence to hit a 21-yard field goal in Saturday's 24-0 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The Redskins also released rookie free agent receivers Tommy Nash and Jammie Deese, quarterback Leon Murray, safety Clay Scanlon, cornerback Eric Whitfield, defensive tackle Eric Stevenson and defensive end Lamont Bryant.

Washington placed offensive tackle Derek G. Smith and running back Gerard Arnold, who sustained knee injuries during preseason games, on injured reserve. It's the second straight season that knee problems have sidelined Smith.

Brown started the final eight games in 1998 after defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield suffered a season-ending knee injury. However, he was inactive for the first seven games last season before playing occasionally in relief. He made only three tackles and recovered one fumble.

Coach Norv Turner said Brown's service earned him an earlier release rather than the Redskins waiting until Sunday's cutdown, when it would have been harder for him to find another team.

"We could have kept Doug another week and let him play in [Friday's] Pittsburgh game, and it would have helped us," Turner said. "A veteran like Doug you give a chance to get on with another team and have two weeks to make a team. Doug was caught up in the numbers. [Defensive end] Kenard Lang being able to play inside makes it tough for Doug to make our team."

Brown's departure caused a somber tone among his former linemates.

"It's a rough business," Stubblefield said. "He was a close friend, and you hate to see that happen to him."

Sanders joined seventh-round receiver Ethan Howell as the only draft picks released. Seventh-round defensive tackle Del Cowsette remains on the bubble, but the five other picks probably will make the team. Turner said rookie free agent tight end Zeron Flemister countered the loss of a draftee.

"You have a couple of college free agents make your team and you end up releasing a draft pick," Turner said. "I think you see that throughout the league. Zeron Flemister should have been drafted. He's going to make our team."

Overall, Turner said several of the players released and those forthcoming might have made past Redskins teams. However, the offseason upgrading of the roster left no starting jobs and few backup roles available.

"There's some guys that would have made our team [in the past] and contributed to our team," Turner said. "I know in the next cut to 53, there's a number of guys that would have been on our football team the last few years."

The Redskins must release another 14 players by Sunday, though final cuts could come as soon as Saturday. Five rookies or first-year players could be recalled Monday for the practice squad, but Turner conceded that scouts who attended training camp might sign several the Redskins want to regain.

Injuries caused the Redskins to keep several players for the final preseason game before their release. Starters will play only the first quarter, so the Redskins kept extra cornerbacks, defensive tackles and centers to offset injuries. Center Cory Raymer and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson won't play against Pittsburgh; cornerbacks Lloyd Harrison, Tyronne Drakeford and Tim Denton are day-to-day.

The only remaining competition is between punters Rodney Williams and Tommy Barnhardt. Williams is a roster exemption after playing in NFL Europe, so the extra game is a luxury. Still, team sources said Barnhardt is the favorite because Williams' hang time is too short. However, Barnhardt felt eager to prove himself once more.

"This is probably the least amount of times that any team I've been on has punted in the preseason," said the 14-year veteran, who has four of the Redskins' nine punts. "I'm antsy to get some repetition."

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