- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

There's still a little edge in Washington Redskins quarterback Tony Banks' voice. Bitterness escapes from the cool exterior that is sometimes mistaken for dispassion.
Don't believe Banks is anything but eager to face the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, though. It took a month for the shock of his sudden Aug. 12 release by the Cowboys to ease.
Banks won't speak of revenge, but wants atonement in his first career Monday night start. Playing for his third team in eight months made Banks question whether to continue, but the chance to beat the Cowboys was one reason he joined the Redskins on Aug. 16. Becoming the starter following Jeff George's release on Sept. 26 assured Banks that returning to football was the right decision.
"I contemplated leaving the game after that," he said. "I was a little shellshocked and heartbroke when I left, but that was a long time ago. … Right now I don't have enough time to dwell on the Dallas stuff."
It's supposed to be one of the NFL's leading rivalries, but the Redskins don't want Banks to be overcome by emotion. Banks was known as a cool rookie when he started for St. Louis in 1996 but eventually was portrayed as stolid before his 1999 move to Baltimore. Banks went 6-4 in his first season with the Ravens, but lost the job last year to Trent Dilfer during a midseason slump. Banks signed with Dallas only to be released midway through training camp amid whispers he didn't work hard enough.
Banks smiles as he describes the irony of how his unflinching temperament has been redefined repeatedly according to his won-loss record.
"When I first came into the league it was 'You're so calm, nothing bothers you.' It was a positive aspect. When things weren't going good it was a negative aspect," Banks said. "Everybody that I play with knows I care [but] I'm not one of those who jumps on people's backs or cries on the sidelines."
Cowboys receiver Joey Galloway knows Banks cares, especially when it comes to showing the Cowboys they were wrong to release him.
"Tony probably can't sleep," Galloway said. "He probably can't wait to get a piece of us."
Banks has struggled in two starts and one relief appearance. His 43.8 pass rating is the NFL's second worst. The Redskins have scored only one touchdown this season on a 21-yard pass to receiver Rod Gardner. Washington expects to rely more on running back Stephen Davis against Dallas, but Banks must guard against overthrowing receivers when trying to force big plays.
"You just mention it to him and just let it go," coach Marty Schottenheimer. "We all have our emotions. We all have our things that are important, but Tony clearly recognizes it can't be personal."
Banks conceded he'll look around Texas Stadium where the hole in the roof supposedly lets God watch his favorite team. Maybe then emotion will find Banks for a moment.
"When I get on the field, some of it might register a little more," Banks said, "but right now I'm trying to get this offense down."
Facing Dallas' defense for three weeks of training camp gives him confidence, too.
"[Banks offense] had a lot of success in camp against those guys," Banks said. "They remember it, too."
Cornerback Champ Bailey expects to play despite not practicing yesterday because of a sprained ankle. However, he may not practice until tomorrow.
"I'm planning to be in there on Monday," he said. "I know my body. If I feel like I can go, I'll go." …
The Redskins worked in light pads following two days off, but will don full pads today. Schottenheimer didn't want to tax players too greatly during the lengthy 2 1/2-hour practice to accommodate new plays.

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