- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2001

Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green yesterday said he'll decide in coming days whether to return for a 20th season.
Green said "the doors are open" as fan support now has him struggling to decide whether his desire for more family time outweighs his desire to keep on playing.
"I'm going to put a real focus on [a decision]," Green said. "I owe it to myself, my wife, my foundation, the organization. I need to move forward."
Green announced his retirement come season's end on Sept. 4 and didn't begin reconsidering until last week following mounting public support. Green said commitment to many projects after the season is forcing him to soon decide whether to reschedule them.
"I'm going to try to [decide] very quickly," he said. "I have a vision for my life and whatever I do it will be affected by my [retirement decision]. I've already set plans for my foundation, my family, business, travel, vacation so I've got to make a quick move one way or another because I have things at stake."
Green has three years remaining on his contract and didn't question whether owner Dan Snyder would want him to return.
"Mr. Snyder said this is a lifetime contract so that means I can play until I'm 100," Green said. "When I signed that contract it wasn't for one year so I'll say I'll take [Snyders approval] for granted."
Coach Marty Schottenheimer said he'll talk with Green after the season, but that discussion could come sooner. Green recently said being 41 years old didn't make him one of Schottenheimer's favorites and likened his preseason demotion to being "sent to the back of the bus." Still, Green felt he would be welcomed back by Schottenheimer.
"I don't want to take anybody for granted, but for once I'm going to think about Darrell Green," he said.
Fans certainly backed Green with five large home-made banners urging him to return next season. "One more year #28" and "Make it 20 years #28" were among the sideline and mezzanine signs, something that has been rarely seen since the Redskins moved from RFK Stadium in 1997.
"It was just overwhelming," Green said. "The fans really affected me."
Green's fourth-quarter interception extended his NFL record to 19 straight seasons with at lead one pickoff. Green even kept the ball.
"I'm normally more laid back with that stuff, but that meant a lot to me," he said. "I was surprised in that series and the one before that they were even throwing the ball. I thought they were going to pound the ball. On that play, we went man-to-man and I was just trying to stick with my man."
Green received a loud ovation when a pinched nerve in his right shoulder with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter forced him to briefly leave the field.
"When I got hurt, people said 'Did you hear the fans?' and I was just trying to count the marbles in my head," Green said.

Clanging iron II
Kicker Brett Conway's failed first-quarter field goal was his third to hit the upright in two games. However, Conway rebounded with 47- and 25-yarders before missing a 48-yarder that was just wide of the crossbar.
"I don't know whether to go see a shrink or a voodoo guy to get this bad luck out of me," Conway said. "It started right down the middle and drifted on me. It hit the inside of the upright, which usually goes in, but not today."

Smoot, Pinkston clash
Fred Smoot's going to have to wait until next season or maybe just until this summer to get Todd Pinkston back for yesterday.
It wasn't the cornerback-wide receiver matchup that most people had their eye on that distinction probably belonged to Champ Bailey on former Redskin James Thrash but the results of the Smoot-Pinkston battle had a major impact on the game.
The Redskins' rookie cornerback and Philadelphia's second-year receiver fittingly lined up against each other often yesterday Smoot's and Pinkston's hometowns are about 30 minutes away from each other near Jackson, Miss., and the pair have worked out there in summers past.
The adversaries butted heads all afternoon, but Pinkston got the last laugh when he beat Smoot and safety David Terrell for a 62-yard touchdown reception.
"It was cover two," Smoot said. "I got deep, so I bit on the reverse. Any time the safety, David Terrell, has to chase somebody that far across the field, he's going to run away from you."
Smoot had made two brilliant plays on a goal-line sequence in the first half to foil touchdown catches by Pinkston. Smoot nearly had an interception on the first Pinkston needed to reach in and swat the ball away at the last second and literally poked the ball out of Pinkston's hands on a fade route the second time. Still, the Eagles scored on third down when Freddie Mitchell snared a 4-yard scoring pass from Donovan McNabb .
"I was telling him, 'You ain't going to get nothing today,'" Smoot said. "And he got the long catch and came back in my face, saying, 'It ain't over.'"
Pinkston's "long catch" came when a fake handoff and end-around fooled the Redskins defense, allowing him to run freely through the secondary for a score that put the Eagles up 17-6. Smoot called it a "mental mistake."
"It was real verbal," Smoot said of his grudge match against Pinkston. "It was more than just going out there playing it's a real passionate battle, point blank. That's the bragging rights when you go home, when the season's over. It was a good one."
McNabb tried to go to Thrash only a few times, instead choosing to work on Smoot and Green (who often lined up against rookie Mitchell.) Pinkston, Mitchell and Thrash each finished with two receptions.

Davis strong but silent
Stephen Davis cranked out his second straight 100-yard rushing effort, but declined to take questions after the game.
With 111 yards on 24 carries, Davis posted the most rushing yards by a running back against the Eagles since Jerome Bettis got 134 on Nov.12, 2000. The Eagles had allowed only one other 100-yard rusher this season, Dallas' Troy Hambrick (107 yards) in a 40-18 blowout in Week 3. The Redskins' 155 rushing yards matched their output against Philadelphia in their 13-3 victory three weeks ago.
Davis had just 55 yards on his first 17 carries yesterday, but poured it on in the second half, highlighted by a 26-yard burst after reversing his field. He was effective as a pass receiver (three catches, 35 yards), as the Redskins made a concerted effort to hit the Eagles with screen passes. But Davis also dropped two very catchable passes, including one on the first drive of the second half that would have been good for a first down; he also committed a false-start penalty on the drive. Instead, the drop stalled the Redskins, and Brett Conway missed a 48-yard field goal. The Eagles scored on the next play.

Arrington bested
He played a primary role in making sure Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb didn't get creative and wreak havoc against the Redskins in the teams' first meeting, when the Eagles managed just 186 total yards, but LaVar Arrington deferred the credit to McNabb and Duce Staley yesterday.
Arrington left especially impressed with Staley, who took one of Arrington's best shots and still didn't go down on the second play of the third quarter.
"I got him when we played in Philly," Arrington said. "I think me and Duce have really made it into a personal battle. … That might have been the only time I've hit somebody flush and they kept running all season. So I think that's a compliment in itself."
Said Staley: "I think I kind of won the battle. He said to me after the game, 'You won this one.' But I didn't need for him to tell me that."
Arrington continued to make game-changing plays. He came up with a pass that Marco Coleman tipped and returned the interception 10 yards. It was a huge play considering the Eagles had taken over after Bryan Barker 's 26-yard punt was spotted at the Redskins' 36-yard line.
"You always hope that a turnover helps, so if it doesn't, you have to go out there and keep strapping it up," Arrington said.
As for McNabb, whom he "spied" on three weeks ago in Philadelphia to keep him contained, Arrington said, "He was throwing the ball on us I didn't have to spy. He was beating us with his arm."

Metcalf miscues
Eric Metcalf had a 30-yard punt return that put the Redskins in position for their first field goal, but made a crucial mistake by getting stripped by Rashard Cook on a return shortly before halftime, setting up a Philadelphia field goal. The Redskins were set to receive the ball in good field position with about two minutes before halftime when Cook jarred the ball loose and Correll Buckhalter pounced on it.
"I got the ball, there was one blocker in front of me, and somebody hit me just right I don't know how it happened," Metcalf said. "At that time, or at any time in a game, it shouldn't happen."
Metcalf said he thought he had the ball tucked away, but didn't specifically see Cook coming. Still, the play could have been worse. If Metcalf hadn't brushed Buckhalter as he recovered the ball so that the officials ruled he was down by contact Buckhalter's dash for the end zone would have counted. Instead, the Eagles kicked a field goal to lead 10-6 at the half.

Select company
Eagles halfback/kick returner Brian Mitchell , who played his first 10 seasons in Washington, made his old stadium the site for his most recent major accomplishment. With a 19-yard return of Brett Conway 's kickoff with 12:07 remaining in the first half, the 33-year-old Mitchell joined the late Chicago halfback Walter Payton (21,803) and Oakland receiver Jerry Rice (20,767) as the only players in NFL history to gain 20,000 yards in their careers. Mitchell's 59 yards yesterday gave the most prolific kick returner ever at 20,037 yards.
"I've been blessed to play this long without injury," said Mitchell, who hasn't missed a game because of injury during his 12 seasons. "I've had a lot of guys blocking for me who have helped me get to this point. Doing it here was even better, not because of the guys on the team, but in front of you know who [Redskins owner Dan Snyder , who believed that Mitchell was washed up after the 1999 season and pushed for his release the following June]. When we lost to the Redskins last month, my daughter [ Brianna ] was so upset because she had to go school [in Centreville] with all these boys talking about the Redskins. I'm going to let her know that now she has something to talk about."

Guard Matt Campbell , defensive tackle Donovan Arp , guard Alex Sulfsted , tight ends Marco Battaglia and Stephen Alexander , receiver Darnerian McCants and defensive end Otis Leverette were inactive.
Rick Snider, Duff Durkin, David Elfin

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