- The Washington Times - Friday, September 7, 2001

Turn up the volume. Washington Redskins rookie cornerback Fred Smoot is ready to roar.
Cornerback Deion Sanders retired to a future Hall of Fame induction. Cornerback Darrell Green is playing his final season before eventually reaching the Canton shrine, too. Now Smoot plans to create his own legend when playing alongside Champ Bailey, who's considered one of the game's premier corners.
Smoot will start Sunday's season-opener at the San Diego Chargers with more confidence than concerns. He thinks of big plays to be made. Jitters? They'll stay on the bus when arriving at the stadium.
"I see myself having a great game," Smoot said yesterday. "I want to give a real good first impression. How many plays can I make? I'm not going to try to make every play and do everything. Once I get in the game, get dirty, tackle somebody, I'll be all right."
Smoot is already a locker room favorite, though the veterans sometimes shake their heads in bewilderment over what the second-rounder will say next. Defensive tackle Kenard Lang signed Smoot's jersey "Can't get right" as an XFL reference to peculiar nicknames.
"I don't just deliberately talk noise or make nobody feel bad," he said. "It's not just talking about somebody."
Teammates aren't bothered by the new voice in the locker room that draws attention.
"A lot of guys are just like him. He's just a little louder," Bailey said. "My confidence is just as high as his is, but I'm more humble about it. When you talk to him one-to-one he's as cool as ever."
Said Lang: "He likes to entertain the crowd, but when it's time for him to get real he gets quiet."
The trash talk doesn't extend to Smoot's mom, though. Oh, Smoot said she's even worse than him.
"You think I'm loud? Wait until you see my mom at FedEx Field," he said. "My mom knows football. My mama will break it down. She don't show no love [after bad games]. 'It wasn't my son out there playing tonight. I don't know what was wrong with you.' "
Coach Marty Schottenheimer knows Smoot will have his bad moments against San Diego quarterback Doug Flutie, whose scrambling style can make corners young and old bite on fakes.
"His head will be spinning like a knob on a bathroom door," Schottenheimer said. "I cautioned him it's not a very long drop from the penthouse to the outhouse so you better take care of business."
Or else Smoot will hear it from his mama.

$52 million club
The Redskins' payroll is about $52.1 million, according to Washington Times calculations. The figure includes all signing bonuses to first-year Redskins, released players, practice squad players and rookie linebacker Jauron Dailey, who is on injured reserve. The payroll will grow when some players earn contract incentives.
The figure is a bit more than half of last year's approximately $97 million, an NFL record. That high-priced roster was branded the NFL's first $100 million team even though the payroll was not quite that high.

Extra points
Middle linebacker Robert Jones (sprained knee) remains questionable after not practicing… . Lang worked some snaps at defensive end… . That Michigan rookie guard David Brandt sounds like center Cory Raymer (Wisconsin) concerns fellow Wolverines offensive tackle Jon Jansen, who said jokingly, "Dave went to Michigan so he should sound much more intelligent. I'll have to tell him to sharpen his vocabulary a little bit." … Sounds like it was another standout practice, though the media is barred this year from watching. Said Schottenheimer: "The work on Thursday doesn't always translate into the work on Sunday, but I got excited because it's midweek and you know the [game] is imminent. I always look at Friday's practice to see how we do."

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