- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2001

The Washington Redskins won't pursue former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer when veteran free agency begins June 1.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer said yesterday it wasn't his "intention" to contact Dilfer. Instead, Washington signed former Louisville quarterback Mike Watkins as its fourth quarterback for training camp and will monitor any veteran passers released next week, when teams can drop players and spread the salary cap impact over two years.
"I don't see anybody that would fit what we're trying to do," Schottenheimer said. "I don't have any doubt [Dilfer] will play somewhere this year."
The Redskins had been expected to try to sign Dilfer to compete with starting quarterback Jeff George. However, Schottenheimer said he has become increasingly comfortable with George and Todd Husak, who may become the No. 2 in his second season.
Watkins will compete with fourth-round selection Sage Rosenfels for the No. 3 job. Watkins didn't start for Louisville, completing 18 of 31 passes for 201 yards and scoring four touchdowns on nine carries last year. He is a long shot, but gaining a training camp invitation increases his exposure and makes him eligible for NFL Europe next year.
"Maybe I'll impress somebody who knows another coach," Watkins said. "I'm trying to rate myself against other guys, see if this is a dream I can reach. It's good to get away from the awe of being next to Jeff George and Bruce Smith."
The Redskins began their first of 14 workouts through June 14 at Redskin Park before breaking until the start of training camp July 30. Defensive tackle Kenard Lang was excused for personal business, and rookie defensive tackle Mario Monds won't report until his college class graduates June 7. Aside from being non-contact and lasting only 75 minutes, the workouts are much like training camp players are largely concentrating on new schemes.
"If you want to learn how to do it in training camp, you're going to be behind because the speed is far, far greater than here," Schottenheimer said.
Receiver Michael Westbrook fully participated in drills for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury Sept. 10.
"When practice was over, I was like, 'No let's do it again,' " he said. "Over the next couple of months, I want to see how much I can take with [my knee] swelling up. I'll step in the water, see how hot it is."
Schottenheimer cautioned Westbrook to be conservative on his first day and won't gauge the receiver's rehabilitation until training camp.
"I told him, 'We don't play any games for awhile, so use good judgment,' " Schottenheimer said. "We'll see how he holds up to the rigors of training camp."
Westbrook said he never wavered about returning despite having only one healthy season since 1995. He missed 14 games last year.
"You can't doubt yourself," he said. "I've been through this, so I know what I need to do. I've always worried about getting back on the field before I was healthy."
Westbrook acknowledged that it was a far different coaching staff than when he was just watching spring drills, saying, "Those guys are like the military out there."
Notes Seattle Seahawks director of player personnel John Schneider will interview today for a similar position. Schottenheimer already has talked to several NFL executives and could select one next week… .
Schottenheimer said he hasn't heard any timetable for resolving safety Mark Carrier's possible suspension for helmet-on-helmet contact with Arizona Cardinals receiver David Boston in the season finale. Schottenheimer said he has spoken to several people about the review but none from the league office. Carrier could face at least a two-game suspension.


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