- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2001

CARLISLE, Pa. Washington Redskins cornerback Donovan Greer has been cut three times and has never started regularly in the NFL. Now he may unseat a legend.
Cornerback Darrell Green vs. Greer, with second-rounder Fred Smoot close behind, has become training camp's hottest competition. Green was supposed to regain his starting job following Deion Sanders' retirement, but Greer has outperformed him during training camp. Green may start against Kansas City in Sunday's preseason opener, but Greer is primed to succeed him.
"I have to concentrate on what Donovan Greer has to do, not what Darrell Green can do," Greer said. "I'm no Darrell Green. I'm no Deion Sanders, but we all have unique talents. I have started in the NFL. This is my fifth year in the league. I do have some positives."
It would be ironic for a journeyman to replace someone whose 18 seasons, 263 games and 250 starts are Redskins records. Green's was the team's best-selling jersey last year, and the 41-year-old won a radio contest as the most beloved Redskin ever.
But Greer is a younger version of Green. He has great speed with good man coverage, and they're both 5-foot-9, though Greer is nine pounds lighter at 178.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer usually prefers taller corners, but he likes speed even more. The Redskins will play a lot of bump-and-run to disrupt opposing passers' timing, and Greer's instincts have let him get a hand on a lot of passes during workouts.
"Size becomes relative," Schottenheimer said. "If you take two individuals with similar skills, generally the bigger guy will prevail. But [Greer] has one unusual characteristic his great quickness. He can recover from bad positions. We very much like what he did in Buffalo."
Said fellow cornerback Champ Bailey: "Donovan's very quick cat quick. It's amazing to see him come out of his break. He's definitely going to compete for that job."
That's all Greer has ever asked, a chance. He was considered one of the nation's leading cornerbacks at Texas A&M; until he tore a knee ligament as a junior. The Aggies played poorly during Greer's senior season to further diminish his marketability.
Greer wasn't even drafted in 1997, something that still bothers him. He signed with New Orleans only to be cut during the preseason. Atlanta signed Greer two days later but cut him after one game. Greer then spent two months on New Orleans' practice squad before playing six games with one start.
Released by the Saints the following preseason, Greer played 11 games with Buffalo and started the final two when Thomas Smith injured a knee. He even played in the Bills' first-round playoff loss. Greer spent two more seasons as a special-teamer and nickel back before signing with the Redskins in April.
"It wasn't pretty, but it's not how you start," he said. "I don't want to say I have something to improve, but there's always room for improvement. It's all about opportunities and situations."
Schottenheimer is willing to give Greer a chance to replace Green and hold off Smoot. He may be a stopgap player between the two, but it's more than Greer might have expected elsewhere.
"It's wide open. It could be Donovan, Darrell or Smoot," Schottenheimer said. "It's an ideal situation to have, because each one is pushing the other two."

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