- The Washington Times - Monday, September 3, 2001

Quarterback Todd Husak wasn't happy with the Washington Redskins' final cuts yesterday, but he had guessed for weeks that his "number was up." Other jettisoned players, such as guards Mookie Moore and Derrick Fletcher, also braced themselves after seeing their minutes reduced.

Veteran linebacker Eddie Mason, in contrast, had no idea.

Mason, a four-year veteran and leader of the Redskins' special teams, was the surprise as Washington cut 14 players to reach its final 53-man roster. The 29-year-old was still playing extensively on special teams and running second-string on the weak side before he was told to bring his playbook to Redskin Park yesterday morning.

"I definitely didn't see this coming," Mason said. "One of the most frustrating parts, and I communicated this to Coach [Marty] Schottenheimer, was that I bought into what they were trying to get done, the vision… . And then you're taken away from that. That's frustrating and that's tough, but you've just got to move on."

Husak was just as frustrated but not because the move surprised him. The 2000 sixth-round pick was angry about the rationale. Told by Schottenheimer that poor accuracy was to blame, Husak bluntly disagreed.

"[The meeting] was honest," said Husak, the backup quarterback just three weeks ago. "I told him what I thought. I told him I think he's going to regret this decision."

The other cuts were offensive linemen Moore, Fletcher, Ryan Kalich and Terrance Simmons; cornerbacks Lloyd Harrison and Central McClellion; fullback Thad Buttone; defensive lineman Rod Kelly; linebacker Chaz Murphy; wide receiver Justin Skaggs; running back Stanley Stephens; and safety Josh Symonette.

Edging them out were players like safety Ifeanyi Ohalete, linebacker Donny Green and sixth-round defensive tackle Mario Monds.

The Redskins' roster now contains just 26 players who predate Schottenheimer, who was hired Jan. 3. There are 16 new veterans in free agency and six undrafted rookies. All five draft picks made the final cut.

Husak was disappointed he didn't get more of a chance, finishing the preseason 7-for-16 for 59 yards and two interceptions. He suffered a strained rib muscle before the first preseason game, and his play was spotty that week and the next as he battled the injury. He did not play in either of the last two exhibitions.

"Throwing 16 passes in the preseason if [Schottenheimer] thinks that's a fair chance, that's his opinion," Husak said.

Jeff George's backup at quarterback is Tony Banks, who was released as the Dallas Cowboys' starter Aug. 13 and signed by the Redskins three days later. The third-stringer is Sage Rosenfels, a fourth-round pick out of Iowa State.

"I think it came down to me and Sage, and they drafted Sage," Husak said. "He said Sage is more talented than me, and I told him I disagreed. You know, this is the way things happen. It's part of the game. But at the same time it's disappointing when I've been here since February and given them everything I have, and then they treat me like this.

"I gave my teammates everything I had. I think they respect that, and I think a lot of guys are going to be upset that I'm out of here."

Harrison and Moore were the other 2000 draft picks cut, leaving only LaVar Arrington and Chris Samuels from the eight-man class. Harrison, a third-rounder, didn't contribute enough on special teams to merit a spot, while Moore, a fourth-rounder, faltered after entering camp as a starter. He and Fletcher eventually gave way to undrafted rookie David Brandt, who is expected to start the Sept. 9 opener at right guard.

"I believe Marty gave me a shot, and I feel he made the best decision as far as what he thought was good for his team," Moore said.

Moore was one of several who received a vote of confidence in his exit conversation. Another was Symonette, who made the 2000 Redskins as an undrafted rookie but this time lost out to Ohalete.

"Marty said he was a little disappointed he couldn't keep me because I can play in this league," Symonette said. "Marty was way more emotional than I was. I'm fine with it. I really feel like I'll be with somebody else soon."

The five-man practice squad will be assembled today. One top candidate, provided he does not get claimed off waivers, is Skaggs. The undrafted rookie out of Evangel (Mo.) was one of camp's hardest workers but was not quite good enough to earn a roster spot.

"This is a good thing for me," Skaggs said. "I'm a young guy who's got a lot to learn. There's a great possibility I could get picked up by another team, but I want to be here. This is a good situation for me here. The practice squad is not a bad thing. It really is not."

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