- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2001

Crowd all shook up by 'Relvis' visit

The Washington Redskins were visited by "the King" yesterday. Sort of.
"Relvis" watched the afternoon practice clad in a burgundy-and-gold jumpsuit that would have made the late Elvis Presley proud. His lips curled in one corner, jewelry on his outstretched fingers, John Willett of Springfield delivered his medley of Redskins cliches to the crowd.
"The fans and media have this team checking into the 'Heartbreak Hotel,' " he said. "I'm telling you, 'Don't be cruel.' What we need to do is show them a 'Hunka, hunka burning love' and they'll be fine, baby."
We wish Elvis had left the building.

Another Elvis?

Rookie quarterback Sage Rosenfels reminds coach Marty Schottenheimer of former Kansas City Chiefs and current Baltimore Ravens passer Elvis Grbac, particularly in his ability to alter his throwing motion depending on the circumstances.
"You throw through lanes, as we all know, and you're looking for a guy who has flexibility in his elbow to change the motion to get the ball around people or over top of people," Schottenheimer said.

Smoot smack

Rookie cornerback Fred Smoot isn't a starter, but he's a self-proclaimed "first-team all-talker." On Sunday, he told Chiefs rookie receiver Snoop Minnis to keep his hands in his pockets because he wouldn't be using them; yesterday reporters were entertained by a generic "30 questions" session that, with most players, grows rather tedious.
Not with Smoot. The one word, for example, he uses to describe himself? "Tantalizing."
The one thing he would do if he was coach for a day? "I'd run everybody to death, including Marty Schottenheimer," he said with a laugh, looking around to make sure the coach wasn't listening.

Eye on the ball

After Fred Smoot dropped a sure interception in practice, Marty Schottenheimer told him football is like golf: pick a focal point on the ball to succeed.
Schottenheimer shoots in the 70s, though it's debatable whether golf buddies Sonny Jurgensen and Mike Ditka knew that beforehand when playing with him at their Naples, Fla., country club during the offseason. Schottenheimer concentrates on a spot on the ball during his swing. Then again, he sometimes putts with his eyes closed.
"I have a little red thing that says 'coach' so I can identify the ball," Schottenheimer said. "If I find the ball in the woods, it's Ditka's. If it's in the fairway, it's mine."

Carter improving

Running back Ki-Jana Carter made a swift cut against a play's momentum and scooted upfield in the afternoon session, showing progress in his attempt to return to the NFL after an injury-plagued start to his promising career.
"I've been very, very pleased [with Carter] and, to be candid with you, a little surprised," Marty Schottenheimer said. "Not at his skill level, but at the fact that he's been able to hold up and do it. He really wasn't in top football shape when he got here [two weeks ago], and he has really worked his way through it. I'm pleasantly surprised."

Odds and ends

If Michael Westbrook's career as a receiver doesn't pan out, maybe he could make it as a punter. After dropping a deep pass, Westbrook kicked the ball at least 40 yards. That cost him $10 for breaking Marty Schottenheimer's rule that balls must be returned to officials after every play… . Rookie receiver Justin Skaggs continues to make a bid for at least the practice squad. Skaggs snared a long ball over cornerback Darrell Green in the morning session.

Big boot for Westbrook

If Michael Westbrook's career as a receiver doesn't pan out, maybe he could make it as a punter. After dropping a deep pass, Westbrook kicked the ball at least 40 yards. That cost him $10 for breaking Marty Schottenheimer's rule that balls must be returned to officials after every play.

Quick hits

Practice time: 9 a.m.
Weather: Mostly sunny, 85 degrees
Injuries: Quarterback Jeff George (shoulder), defensive end Bruce Smith (shoulder), guard Ben Coleman (knee), defensive tackle Delbert Cowsette (thumb), cornerback Central McClellion (ankle) and safety Eric Whitfield (shoulder) did not practice. Running back Robert Arnaud (toe) sat out the afternoon. George, Smith and Coleman have been ruled out tomorrow against the Atlanta Falcons.

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