- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 22, 2001

CARLISLE, Pa. For the third time in less than a week, the Washington Redskins stopped gambling on the development of a young player and signed a veteran free agent.
Yesterday the Redskins acquired former Rams free safety Keith Lyle as their probable starter. The move relegates second-year player David Terrell previously the favorite to win the starting job vacated by Mark Carrier to the role of backup and special-teamer.
Washington released undrafted rookie quarterback Mike Watkins to make room for Lyle.
Lyle, 29, likely will be the starter after signing a one-year contract for a league-minimum $477,000. He spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams, starting 89 games, including 16 last season.
Lyle's arrival follows Monday's signing of guard Dave Szott, who should overtake Derrick Fletcher and Mookie Moore as a starter, and Friday's acquisition of quarterback Tony Banks, which ended the experiment of Todd Husak as Jeff George's backup.
The Redskins selected Lyle a District native, Marshall High School (Falls Church) graduate and University of Virginia product over unemployed veteran Darren Perry, who started for the New Orleans Saints last season and worked out in June at Redskin Park. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said Lyle got the job because he is younger and faster.
Lyle, for his part, grew impatient for work this summer after being unexpectedly cut by the Rams.
"I had a lot of arguments with my agent, you can believe that," Lyle said. "It's tough, man, when you play for one team. I played for the Rams since '94, [when] we were in L.A. Two cities, four head coaches I've seen a lot of guys come and go. And you almost get to a point where you don't think [being cut] can happen to you. When it does, it's tough."
Lyle probably won't play in Friday's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, but he expects to be in shape when he does play, having trained in the heat of Tampa, Fla., since March.
Terrell, meanwhile, has gained confidence during camp and played reasonably well starting alongside veteran strong safety Sam Shade. Terrell knows that his special teams work gives him a solid backup plan, but he still hopes to win the starting job.
"It's easy for me say I've got teams to back myself up on, but to tell you the truth I'm going to go at it full steam ahead like I'm preparing to start," Terrell said.
Schottenheimer remains optimistic about Terrell, saying he only lacks "the same thing that's been absent in two young quarterbacks [Husak and Sage Rosenfels] experience. There's not a skill that he does not possess. He has every skill. His read and reaction [are] very good. He's got to improve his tackling, the consistency of it."
Injury update
As starting quarterback Jeff George (shoulder) improved his chances of playing Friday by participating in the morning practice, running back Stephen Davis was ruled out though not necessarily for his sprained toes.
Davis said he will be out of town Friday because he has been subpoenaed as a witness in a court case. Ki-Jana Carter, who rushed eight times for 56 yards and a touchdown last week against the Atlanta Falcons, will start in Davis' place.
Left tackle Chris Samuels is highly unlikely to play after missing another day of practice. His sprained ankle is better but his strained rib muscle continues to bother him. If he cannot return today, Schottenheimer said, "I'm sure we'll once again err to caution."
Said Samuels: "I'm pretty much the same today… . If I lock up with somebody and I turn left or right I can feel the pain in my side."
Wide receiver Michael Westbrook returned to practice after resting a strained lower abdominal muscle Monday. Defensive end Bruce Smith, sidelined with a bruised shoulder, was excused from watching practice for personal reasons.
Shuffling O-line
Szott practiced with the starters on his second day, working at left guard while Matt Campbell continued to play left tackle in place of Samuels. Szott and Campbell ultimately might fight for the starting left guard spot, or one could move to right guard and compete for first-string status against Fletcher and Moore.
Meanwhile, veteran lineman Ben Coleman continues to play tackle while working his way back from a sprained knee. Once the top candidate to start at right guard, Coleman now appears likely to be an exterior reserve. Said Schottenheimer: "I think he's probably more comfortable working at tackle."
Extra points
Rookie cornerback Fred Smoot might miss Friday's game because of a death in his family… . The Redskins reached an injury settlement with Eric Whitfield, completing his release.


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