- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 28, 2002

Washington Redskins receiver Rod Gardner is finally playing for coach Steve Spurrier after all.
The Jacksonville native rejected Florida in 1996 when the Gators wanted to convert him from quarterback to receiver even though he had passed for more than 1,200 yards as a senior. Clemson offered Gardner the chance to play quarterback only to move him to safety and then receiver.
"Florida recruited me as an athlete, and I wanted to play quarterback," Gardner said. "Clemson gave me the best opportunity, and I still ended up switching over anyway."
Even with three former Florida wideouts signed, Gardner should remain the Redskins' leading receiver after free agent Michael Westbrook wasn't re-signed. Gardner's 741 yards on 46 receptions led Washington last season.
"I put in my work. I wish I had done more, but I think I did all right," he said.

Ramsey works
The debut of the team's first-round pick, quarterback Patrick Ramsey, was mixed. He completed two of six passes with one drop and one interception during the morning session yesterday. The rookie was picked off by cornerback Fred Smoot in his first series, but Ramsey hit a couple of nice slants.
Spurrier worked with Ramsey on footwork and holding the ball a little more behind him but said, "The way it comes out of his hand, only the Lord can help him there."
The four quarterbacks fared better during team drills after a lackluster start Friday. Danny Wuerffel was clearly more comfortable than Ramsey, Sage Rosenfels or Dameyune Craig.

Albright too costly?
Deep snapper Ethan Albright knows the Redskins signed three rookie prospects to save $375,000 by replacing him. New NFL rules designed to keep veterans from becoming salary cap casualties are threatening Albright's chances of remaining.
Albright can't accept a pay cut or sign a new deal with Washington under the first-year system that would allow him to make $700,000 but count only $450,000 against the cap, because his current three-year contract included a bonus exceeding $25,000.
Albright is among the projected cuts needed to clear more than $4.5million in salary cap room by the start of training camp July 23. Spurrier was uncertain when the team will decide whether to keep Albright.
"It's a little tough because it's not a competition of who's the best man. It's who fits better in the salary cap," he said.
But the "Red Snapper" is hopeful none of the unproven competition flourishes during the preseason. College snappers aren't hit, so the adjustment isn't easy.
"They don't know if these guys can do it until they put the pads on. It's hard to simulate it in practice," Albright said. "If it were easy, there would be a lot of rookies around the league doing it."

Extra points
Baltimore defensive tackle Larry Webster, in whom the Redskins were interested, signed a one-year, $675,000 deal with the New York Jets. Spurrier, an avid golfer, shuttled between practice fields in a golf cart. Spurrier said the brief respite when sitting prevents back pain. He used carts the past two years at Florida.
Coaches wrote their names on hats for players, including Spurrier. "I didn't know half of [the players], and they didn't know who the coaches were, so if we're going to put names on their helmets, then coaches will put names on us, too," Spurrier said. "We've got to get to know each other. We're going to Japan together. It will be a long trip if you don't know everybody that's going."
Receiver Jacquez Green was first up for punt returns, but cornerbacks Champ Bailey, Fred Smoot and Darrell Green and running back Jimmy Watkins also worked. Rookie deep snappers Tony Grant and Jeff Grau gained several reps each. Linebacker LaVar Arrington returned to practice after missing one session Friday with a headache. Cornerback Donovan Greer ran conditioning drills after suffering a torn knee ligament last year.

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