- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2001

The Washington Redskins completed a trade yesterday for New Orleans Saints running back Robert Arnaud, surrendering a conditional draft pick to obtain a possible backup for Stephen Davis.

Saints coach Jim Haslett apparently thought highly of Arnaud but knew the rusher would not make New Orleans' final roster. The Saints already have high-profile rushers in Ricky Williams and first-round draft pick Deuce McAllister, plus two other tailbacks, as they head into training camp.

The Redskins are believed to have parted with a seventh-round pick in 2003, conditional upon Arnaud making this season's roster. Arnaud will face several undrafted free agents as he tries to replace Skip Hicks, whose tender offer was rescinded in May to make salary cap space for fullback Donnell Bennett.

Hicks, a 1998 third-round draftee by the Redskins, set a club rookie record with eight rushing touchdowns but slumped after losing a 1999 preseason battle with Davis for the starting job. Hicks since has signed with the Chicago Bears.

The Redskins were believed to be interested in trading for Saints back Chad Morton, who played under Washington running backs coach Hue Jackson at Southern California. Instead, they picked up Arnaud, 24, who has no NFL experience after spending 2000 on the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad.

Morton also seemed attractive because of his history as a return man at USC and with the Saints. Arnaud, however, does not have any return ability and in fact is reputed to have difficulty catching the ball out of the backfield.

Arnaud joined the Ravens after going undrafted out of Georgia, then signed with New Orleans on Feb. 14. As a Bulldog, the 5-foot-11, 206-pounder started one of his 25 career games, carrying 90 times for 330 yards (a 3.7 average) and three touchdowns.

The Redskins might sign another running back before the start of camp July 30, although they would have to cut someone to do so. The club has shown interest in former Arkansas standout Madre Hill, who did not play last season but stood out this spring in NFL Europe.

Arnaud does not cost the Redskins any cap room, as he comes with a rookie minimum salary of $209,000.

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