- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2000

Brett Conway's playing days with the Washington Redskins have come to an end. That the injured kicker heard the news from his agent rather than a club official has him questioning the team's loyalty and wondering if he was made a scapegoat.
"I think there are some problems here," Conway said yesterday. "I don't want to cry over spilled milk, but I'm a little upset. I'm a little upset at how the whole thing went down. It could have gone down more diplomatic than it did… .
"We've got some guys injured and there's a lot of finger-pointing going on right now. I don't know how they could blame me, but they need to make some room for some other guys… . It's a shame it had to go like this because I had a lot of loyalty to the team."
Conway was placed on injured reserve, which means he cannot play for the Redskins again this season, even if he rehabilitates his strained quadriceps. Michael Husted, who kicked in Monday night's 27-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, is now the only kicker. Wide receiver Derrius Thompson was re-signed to fill Conway's roster spot.
"We feel we have a good kicker [in Husted]," coach Norv Turner said. "Every guy on the roster means something to us. Brett wasn't going to be able to kick."
The Redskins sought to reach an injury settlement with Conway, but agent Jack Reale declined serious negotiations because his client had not had an MRI or a second opinion. An injury settlement, which would allow the Redskins to recoup some salary-cap room, remains possible.
"I'm not a doctor; Brett's not a doctor," Reale said from his office in Atlanta. "Maybe this is a short-lived injury; maybe it's more serious. It would be foolhardy to try to guess what the injury is at this point."
Conway, 25, was sidelined much of training camp with the strained thigh, and it flared up again last week. During his brief span of health he made all three field goals, though his longest was just 26 yards. The injury was most apparent on kickoffs, where Conway's erratic distance contributed to several long returns by opponents.
"Obviously I wasn't ready the last time I tried to come back," Conway said. "It's going to take awhile. It's unfortunate because I would have liked to have kicked with this team."
Conway was disappointed his 22-month tenure ended without notice from someone within the organization particularly because he spent Tuesday at Redskin Park rehabilitating.
"They told me it was a business decision, and I respect that," Conway said. "But if they're going to tell me it's a business decision, I would hope they would do good business instead of bad business."
After becoming a Green Bay Packers' third-round draft pick in 1997, Conway came to the Redskins in November 1998 as a free agent. Last season, his first as a regular, the Penn State product hit 22 of 32 field goals, including 19 of 21 attempts inside 50 yards.
The Redskins worked out Husted Saturday and then signed him Monday when it became clear Conway could not kick. Husted, an eighth-year veteran out of Virginia, made all three extra points that night but did not attempt a field goal.
Husted, 30, spent his first six seasons (1993-98) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He kicked for the Oakland Raiders last season, making 20 of 31 field goals with a long of 49 yards but was released when first-round pick Sebastian Janikowski signed. Husted came to the Redskins after a stint in Chicago's training camp and tryouts with Carolina and Denver.
"I really wasn't sure what was going to happen [when I signed with the Redskins]," Husted said. "It's unfortunate that Brett is injured. He didn't do anything to lose his job from a kicking standpoint. It's just a tough business."
Husted's signing left the Redskins approximately $700,000 under the salary cap. If the club cannot reach a settlement with Conway, it still can recoup some cap space if Conway rehabilitates his injury and then is waived. Conway, whose salary is $472,000, could then play this season for another team.

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