- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2001

It appears cornerback Deion Sanders will remain a Washington Redskin until the salary cap compels coach Marty Schottenheimer to release him in coming weeks.
Friday was the first day Schottenheimer could have cut the future Pro Football Hall of Famer and delayed much of the cap impact until 2002. But Schottenheimer said yesterday that nothing needs to be done immediately because he doesn't plan to sign any free agents or draft picks soon.
"I really don't [feel compelled to do anything]," Schottenheimer said after practice. "There's nothing that we have to do because there's a long way between now and the opener."
Schottenheimer added that he might not contact Sanders, who is struggling in his baseball comeback with the Cincinnati Reds, until training camp is set to start in late July.
Sanders' Redskins contract requires him to report for mandatory team sessions whenever he is not playing major league baseball. Thus, if Sanders gets demoted or cut from the Reds which does not appear imminent, despite his .172 batting average he would have to be present for the start of camp July 30.
"We may have an occasion to try [to reach Sanders], but it's not imperative that we do," Schottenheimer said.
Cutting Sanders, 33, would save $3.5 million of cap space, which would be used to sign five draft picks, make final free agent additions and create an injury fund for the season. The Redskins currently are $60,000 below the cap.
It is possible, but rather implausible, for Washington to keep Sanders. That could be achieved by restructuring another contract or two and cutting one or two veteran players from among cornerback Darrell Green and safeties Mark Carrier and Sam Shade.
But those moves would have downsides. Restructuring contracts would weigh down future caps. Releasing Green to keep Sanders would be a public relations nightmare. And cutting a starting safety would require the signing of a talented and perhaps costly replacement.
"If [making other moves] becomes necessary, we can address that," Schottenheimer said. "There's any number of options that are available."
Asked specifically if he would renegotiate contracts to keep Sanders, Schottenheimer replied, "Anything's possible."
Simply cutting Sanders, meanwhile, would require no compensatory moves because Schottenheimer has constructed a roster that can absorb the loss. The Redskins have five capable cornerbacks Green, Champ Bailey, second-round draft pick Fred Smoot, free agent pickup Donovan Greer and last year's third-rounder, Lloyd Harrison.
Nonetheless, Schottenheimer said it is possible to keep all five and Sanders, noting that corners generally are talented special teams players.
"What we're going to do, within reason, is keep the best 53 players we can find," Schottenheimer said. "Defensive backs, as a rule, are excellent special teams performers. You find a defensive back, a linebacker, a running back who can be a top special teams player, we'll find a place on the roster for him."
Notes Linebacker LaVar Arrington was an unexcused absentee from practice a day after being seen attending the Washington Mystics game at MCI Center.
"LaVar Arrington needs to be here," said Schottenheimer, who did not know where his starting strongside linebacker was.
The draft's second overall pick last season, Arrington endured an inconsistent rookie year after missing several offseason practices for the birth of his first child and the start of training camp due to a holdout. He appeared to be enjoying outstanding offseason practices before yesterday… .
Rookie linebacker Jauron Dailey, an undrafted free agent out of Florida A&M;, injured his knee on a collision with fullback Donnell Bennett. He was carted from the field. Schottenheimer did not know if the injury was serious… .
Running back Stephen Davis remained sidelined with a strained hamstring. Schottenheimer did not expect his feature back to return until Monday at the earliest… .
Defensive end Bruce Smith was excused from practice again. Kicker Brett Conway was back, and Schottenheimer said his absence Friday was excused.

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